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Government moves to preserve NZ's digital heritage

Government moves to preserve NZ's digital heritage

New measures have been announced to protect New Zealand's increasing digital heritage for future generations.

Budget 2004 allocated some $24 million of additional funding over four years to the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mâtauranga o Aotearoa, to establish a “trusted digital repository”.

Minister Responsible for the National Library, Marian Hobbs, said the decision is a significant step forward for New Zealand.

"All over the world, more and more material is being produced digitally," Marian Hobbs said, "including written work, images, sound and material contained on CDs and floppy disks, and websites.

"Though material produced in print form is on the rise, electronic material now makes up approximately 93 percent of all original output. An enormous amount of material stands to be lost if we don't protect it now. By establishing this repository, New Zealand is one of the international frontrunners in preserving national cultural history.

"In 20 years' time someone researching, for example, New Zealand's hosting of the 2003 America's Cup will be able to see entire websites about the topic, viewable just as they looked at the time.

"Another consideration is the potential loss of material stored on older technology as new technology emerges. In the future, CDs and DVDs will become obsolete, or so physically damaged that we can't read the material stored on them. Websites are also continually changing. If they're not archived now, they'll be gone. Establishing a digital repository will ensure that this information does not simply disappear.

"The trusted digital repository will contain published digital information, unpublished material such as drafts of creative writing produced by New Zealanders, and targeted material from the National Library's existing collections."

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