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NZ Libraries Collaborate

NZ Libraries Collaborate To Enhance Access To Information For Maori

The launch last night of Nga Upoko Tukutuku / Maori Subject Headings marks an exciting development in the library world, says National Librarian Penny Carnaby.

The launch of was timed to coincide with Matariki, the traditional start of the Maori new year, to symbolise the way the Nga Upoko Tukutuku / Maori Subject Headings project is incorporating a Maori perspective into the way information is described and accessed in libraries.

'Nga Upoko Tukutuku / Maori Subject Headings will enable the National Library, and all New Zealand's libraries, to enhance their services for Maori clients by incorporating a sense of the Maori world view into the way that information can be described and searched for,' says Ms Carnaby.

Speaking at the launch, the Hon Judith Tizard, Minister Responsible for the National Library, said 'I am proud that Aotearoa New Zealand is the first country in the world to develop a system based on a traditional indigenous worldview. Up until two weeks ago, an information seeker entered "Maori postural dance" into the catalogue to search for "haka".'

'Maori Subject Headings represents a huge leap forward in terms of providing subject access in te reo to materials for and about Maori,' said the Minister.

The Nga Upoko Tukutuku / Maori Subject Headings project is a collaborative venture between the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA), Te Ropu Whakahau (Maori in Libraries and Information Management Association) and the National Library of New Zealand. The aim of the project was to provide a structured set of terms in te reo that Maori library customers can relate to and use to find material in libraries.

'The terms used in the library profession to describe and find information tend to be very monocultural, as consistency is necessary in the library environment,' says Ms Carnaby. 'Together, we have worked to develop an internationally-recognised method of describing material either in or about Maori that acknowledges both traditional and contemporary Maori perspectives on the relationships between people, the environment and the spiritual world.'

The Nga Upoko Tukutuku / Maori Subject Headings project team was drawn from around New Zealand, and comprises librarians with Maori language skills and knowledge of the Maori world view, along with librarians skilled in the development of subject headings. The project team has developed more than 1000 Maori Subject Headings and their associated references, which can be used when cataloguing books and other library materials.


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