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Libraries unite to strike digital gold for NZers

For immediate release
15 January 2004

Libraries unite to strike digital gold for New Zealanders

All New Zealanders will now have an enormous range of electronic resources at their fingertips, thanks to the innovative thinking of libraries around the country.

In a move that is the first of its kind in New Zealand, public, education, research and special libraries have joined together to buy collective access to tens of thousands of electronic resources that can be used by people from all parts of the country.

National Librarian Penny Carnaby, Chief Executive of the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mâtauranga o Aotearoa, says that the initiative is a spectacular example of Kiwi ingenuity and community spirit. “Although there have been many attempts internationally to form across-country purchasing consortia for electronic resources, very few have actually made it to fruition. The success of the purchasing group shows the world how New Zealand libraries can work together for the common good.

“This collaborative venture also realises the vision of making information more easily available to a farmer in Southland, a student in Kerikeri, or a researcher in one of the large metropolitan areas,” adds Ms Carnaby. “It’s a great step for information democracy in this country.”

Primary, intermediate and high schools around the country will also have access to the resources, at no individual cost - the Ministry of Education is funding every school library in New Zealand to be a part of the group for the first year.

Through the resources, provided by vendors Gale and EBSCO, people will be able to access thousands of New Zealand and international full-text journals and magazines, and over a million biographies, photographs and graphics that are not available freely elsewhere. From an in-depth biography of Peter Jackson, to an authoritative article about ADHD, to news and pictures of the Mars expedition – the easy-to-use resources will make it simple to quickly find high quality information, accessible via the Internet from your home, work, or local library.

Mirla Edmundson, President of the Library & Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA), is delighted with the new purchasing group. “This is an amazing opportunity, and one that can truly impact on the lives of all New Zealanders. It puts the library and information sector on the map as innovative and enterprising, while demonstrating we are a profession interested in actively delivering information into the libraries, businesses, schools and homes of the country.”

Ainslie Dewe, Chairperson of the Library and Information Advisory Commission Ngâ Kaiwhakamârama i ngâ Kohikohinga Kôrero, congratulated New Zealand librarians for having the vision to realise this ambitious initiative. "The recent World Summit on the Information Society, held to address the issues raised by the rapid development of the global information society, adopted a declaration of principles and action plan for sharing information and knowledge. This is a wonderful example of these principles being put into practice, with New Zealand taking a significant role in turning the digital divide into digital opportunity for all."

The e-resources will be launched in February 2004.

A formal signing of the agreement between New Zealand libraries and the vendors Gale and EBSCO will be held commencing 5pm, Tuesday 20 January, in the Parliamentary Service Commission Room of the Parliamentary Library, Molesworth Street, Wellington.

All media welcome.


In mid 2002 the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mâtauranga o Aotearoa sent out a survey to libraries asking whether they would be interested in being a part of a purchasing consortium, whether they would accept it if it was self funded, and what content would be the most valuable.

On the strength of this survey, in 2003 the National Library agreed to fund a six month project to develop a multi-sector library consortium to deliver cost effective, reliable and timely access to at least two sets of high quality e-resources for New Zealand libraries and their customers. A key principle behind the project was that enough libraries had to be willing to buy into the consortium, ensuring maximum cost savings, before it could go ahead.

Once the e-resources were confirmed, agreements were sent to each library in New Zealand informing them what the resources were, and what they would expect to pay if the consortium should go ahead.

Participation level

Altogether, 164 libraries from all parts of New Zealand have agreed to collaborate to purchase access to a range of full-text electronic resources for everyone in New Zealand to use. The Ministry of Education agreed to fund all school libraries access to the e-resources for the first year.

Through these e-resources, provided by vendors Gale and EBSCO, people in New Zealand will be able to access thousands of New Zealand and international full text journals, magazines, biographies, photographs and graphics that are not available freely elsewhere.

What are the resources?

EBSCO Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre Australia and New Zealand specific magazines, newspapers & newswires, reference books, and company information.

EBSCO MasterFILE Premier Full text of nearly 1,950 magazines, journals and other publications dating as far back as 1975.

Gale Infotrac Onefile InfoTrac OneFile provides access to over 5000 periodical and news publications from a diverse range of topics.

Gale Biography Resource Centre Find out about interesting people from over 1.4 million biographies.

Gale Business and Company Resource Center Research individual companies from around the world.

Gale Discovering Collection Specifically for school students. Comprised of more than 14,500 biographies, 24,000 essays, 21,070 timeline events and 2,900 plot summaries in core curriculum subjects.

Gale Health and Wellness Resource Centre Search over 600 health/medical journals.

Gale History Resource Centre - Modern World A key resource for the study of world history including 100 full-text journals, 180 world history titles, 1,300 historic documents and over 1000 maps/illustrations.

Gale Literature Resource Center More than 415,000 full-text journal articles from more than 250 literary journals

Gale Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center Search a range of topics for articles about both sides of an issue.

Gale Contemporary Women's Issues Brings together relevant content with a focus on the critical issues and events that influence women's lives.

Gale Student Resource Center - College Edition Full text magazines – a wide range of business and management publications.

Gale What do I read next? Helps you choose titles from over 100,000 highly recommended adult, young adult and children's titles.


EBSCO provides information access and management solutions through print and electronic journal subscription services, research database development and production, online access to more than 100 databases and thousands of e-journals, and e-commerce book procurement.

About Gale

Gale, a business of The Thomson Corporation, provides information resources in a variety of formats including books, e-books, Web-based solutions and microfilm, to fulfil information and education needs around the world.

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