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A jump into future for Knowledge Bank

It is perfect timing.

Just as several major historic records – one with over a million images - are readied for the digital world, Knowledge Bank Hawke’s Bay is taking a big leap into the future.

With more than 18,000 records already on-line and near five years under its belt; the charity will next week unveil its new website at a function at its home base: Historic Stoneycroft Homestead, in Hastings.

Knowledge Bank collects, digitises and uploads written, oral and photographic records from across Hawke’s Bay, to ensure the region’s history is preserved for future generations.

“While our old website was adequate, it was very much of its time and in desperate need of a fresher, cleaner look and upgraded functionality,” said Hawke’s Bay Digital Archives Trust chairman Peter Dunkerley.

“We had more than 1400 visitors to our website last week. That shows there is a great deal of interest in the information we have on there. To make it easier for users and do justice to the collections and the wonderful people who have donated the material, we have prevailed on some brilliant volunteers to build us this new model.”

Chris Webb, from local website design company Mogul, has put in many hundreds of volunteer hours to bring the new site on-line. The board is rapt with the result.

“We are very pleased. This site will take us well into the future,” said Mr Dunkerley.

“It comes at the perfect time too. We are working on some very exciting collections, including the Spiller collection – the scanning of 22,000 reels of film taken in Hawke’s Bay in the 1940s. There are an estimated one million images in this collection and we are due to have a lot more of them up on-line in the not too distant future.”

It would take about four years for the whole collection to be digitised and uploaded by Knowledge Bank’s volunteers.

Other exciting collections being worked on include the Balfour diaries, a written record of day-to-day life of a Hawke’s Bay farmer with a young family to feed. That project is being undertaken in a partnership with MTG Hawke’s Bay and should be completed by the end of this year.

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