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And finally, the books

All right, so I took like twelve days to get around to filling out the basic bibliographic information, but finally, the two parliamentary papers (well, books, really) I've just uploaded are the Report of the Chief Librarian, General Assembly Library for the year ended 31 March 1958 (Special Centennial Issue) and the Report of the National Library Service for the Year Ended 31 March 1958; the latter has already been converted into HTML for Project Gutenberg, too. Both were, of course, like most if not all other papers in the AJHRs, Presented to the House of Representatives by Leave.

Thanks to the New Zealand Parliamentary Library for telling me what their birthday was by pointing me to their centennial annual report. I ended up using the two above plus their 1925 annual report as birthday texts (their birthday, that is) on Project Gutenberg's Distributed Proofreaders proofreading site. For the record, the library tells me their birthday (albeit in the predecessor name, the General Assembly Library) is 20 September 1858, when that institution we all know and love (or not love, as the case may be), the Parliament of New Zealand (or, again, at the time, the General Assembly of New Zealand in Parliament assembled) appointed a certain Major Francis Campbell as its first librarian.

Methinks now I'll move back to the morality and juvenile delinquency inquiries and texts I usually scan (or find scans of). Problem is deciding what to do next, and means. Case in point is Contraception, sterilisation and abortion in New Zealand: report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry. I'd like to scan it, but problem is, it's 454-odd pages. That means major spine bending if I do, and I don't exactly want to go damaging a book or report (this one's both, I guess) that isn't mine. Same goes for the Mahon Royal Commission's report (or, the Royal Commission to Inquire into the Crash on Mount Erebus, Antarctica of a DC10 Aircraft Operated by Air New Zealand Limited), though not a sexuality- or morality-related text. That one's shorter at 166-odd pages and may be manageable, but there's the problem of the full bleed (edge-to-edge) photographs. That'd make them become difficult to scan -- they are spectacular though for colour photographs of the time and make a compelling part of the report, so I do need to include them. Plus there appear to be copyright notices on some graphs and diagrams, especially near the end of the report (I'm told these are erroneous claims that wouldn't hold up if challenged, but them notices are still there nonetheless, and methinks that I do need further confirmations on those before I scan them; I could scan them without the graphs but I'm also told those diagrams and graphs are important factual documents I can't exclude for balance reasons). The spine's size I imagine might make it easier to scan, however.

Sigh. But I'll figure something out eventually, I'm sure.

But a lot of it is to do with money for equipment. You can't exactly easily run a scanning project, even as specific as mine, on a shoestring type budget. And to make the spine issue (which many of us have have ever gone scanning or photocopying large books are all too aware of) and those curved lines of text less obvious requires better scanning equipment like the OpticBook. (Either one of these kind of scanners, or a really expensive scanning service like the Heritage Materials Imaging Facility -- but use of their top-of-the-line Cruse non-invasive scanner is rather expensive with a per page price, the VUW NZETC tell me!) Quite likely it'd be prohibitive for an individual person like me.) Maybe a contestable fund like what Russell Brown suggests might help here. Either that or winning the national lottery. As Russell puts it:

Develop a simple, contestable fund to allow individuals and groups to have public archive content digitised on request, thus extending decision-making power to the people who will actually use the content. Make all such content available under a Creative Commons licence, thus developing an on-demand archive in parallel with any archive developed as part of an official strategy.

(This idea of his was written in response to Creating Digital New Zealand: The Draft New Zealand Digital Content Strategy: Discussion Document. If you wanna comment on this very wordily-titled discussion paper, you'd better hurry. You've only got three weeks; the cover says Comments due by Wednesday 20 December 2006.)

As for why I took so long to post this, hopefully I can announce why come Monday next week. Wednesday or Thursday at the latest, maybe. Or I'll forget to anyway... I'll see.


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