Author Archives: kete-admin

Kete is being upgraded – Library Life article (April 2014)

Taking a look at a modern library service in the age of Facebook

Kete is getting an upgrade. Founded in 2007 as an open-source project, well over 40 installations of Kete run throughout New Zealand. Since those early days, discussion of the relevance of digital heritage and digital preservation has become more prominent. Many library sector discussions consider involving the community in digital heritage – Kete’s strength is in community-contributed collections.

We recently announced an update to the technical upgrade project and are seeking expressions of interest via the Horowhenua Library Trust for NZ libraries to maintain their Kete instances, and prepare to increase activity in their collections.

Using Kete to realise community value

How might you go about planning a digital heritage campaign in your community and who would be involved? While the open nature of Kete attracts the general public, history indicates local community groups value the project most as it enables cooperation, collaboration and documentation of activities that can be informal and difficult to otherwise record. This might be a local heritage interest group such as the Otago Memory Bank ; it might be an ethnic group of tangata whenua or migrant communities; or it might allow the documenting of Cuba Street history, leveraging multilingual capabilities to consider all perspectives. With a clear project purpose, it’s very compelling to share images, records, and notes, building stories together. In the context of creating diverse digital heritage, these collections can easily be set to be indexed within Digital NZ and can be found by anyone searching for these stories.

Kete also has easy API access to display items around the web, such as within a content management system, social media or in a museum display. This can make local displays and presentations far less technically demanding, when Kete serves as an enduring repository of collection records and assets.

A great example of Kete being used to meet community needs came in the advent of the Rena disaster. Smita Biswas in Tauranga coordinated interested community members to take records of the emerging history of the event. In the context of social media telling the story in real-time, Kete enabled an element of scrapbooking, as a chronicle of perspectives as they occurred. The case study was presented at the LIANZA conference and you can read more here.

Technology Considerations

The project very easily extends to be searchable with Digital NZ. It also can be customised to reference other database results. This flexible sharing of data works well to allow a holistic merging of various databases for use online.

The current generation of the codebase is now outdated and very challenging to manage. The major upgrade underway is a critical step to ensure the software foundations of Kete are improved and stable.

There has not been any dedicated maintenance budget of the software for some time, making this phase the most technically challenging. Rabid have a roadmap of user-focused improvements and features and it makes sense to improve the experience to be easy-to-use and accessible to meet users’ expectations of a web service.

Modernising the software and releasing this as opensource will give complete control over the solution to libraries, but we’re working hard on support packages. There are other considerations to keep the software modern, and we’ve developed a plan to build sustainability into New Zealand’s efforts.

Kete projects do require resource to support and encourage uptake in NZ communities. We would be happy to provide guidance and examples of successful projects to assist your planning.

So, please consider the potential of your library or district using Kete.

Latest Progress Report:

The Case for Kete – Original Proposal:

Expressions of Interest

Please contact Horowhenua Library Trust by email:

Josh Forde, Rabid

Joann Ransom, Horowhenua Library Trust

Kete Community at NDF 2013 – What is the project doing and why should you care?

A round of notable Kete people were in Wellington for the 2013 National Digital Forum.  It was great to connect.

  • Irma of Calyx in Australia, Leith Haarhoff of Palmerston City Libraries, Harley Couper of Tauranga Library were all in attendance
  • Penny Carnaby’s keynote referenced Kete as a point of success in NZ’s digital heritage
  • The Kete dinner gave us a moment to connect on the project
  • Discussion at the NDF AGM focused on Kete project including some statements of real support for Kete and its principles.

A theme of NDF was the acknowledgement of what Kete has achieved but also some concern from users who hear that the software is in a very vulnerable position and requires support to get to a point of sustainability. Joann Ransom raised a matter at the AGM to highlight the risks of the software project.  We want to recap the situation and keep dialogue happening.

Rabid remain committed to the technical upgrade and discussion has included possible options that would bring the technology through to sustainability.  Kete should be a strong candidate for financial commitment, as the current state of the application is unacceptable and installations are vulnerable as they run Ruby on Rails 2 and no longer receive security coverage.

We remain convinced that Kete has potential to grow in a new stage of community users and stakeholders beyond New Zealand.  The uses are diverse, compelling and there is strong value in sourcing, identifying and safeguarding digital records of our community heritage.

Need a refresher? Take a look at the development proposal here.

We have many organisations who might consider the digital community heritage elements of Kete in new sites through New Zealand and throughout Australia.   But new entrants have modern expectations of software and the existing Kete instances themselves suffer from poor usability that make it harder for everyday people to participate where they are installed.

We need to achieve a commercial balance/sustainability and activate the existing user groups to demonstrate that this project is worth supporting and can grow and help more communities.

Wondering what this means?   Here’s an overview of what needs to be put in place

  • a governance group mandating improvements to the project.  The fundamentals of this group are being set up during this first phase of redevelopment
  • installs of Kete to be participating in a support agreement that will include allowance for improvements to the core project on an ongoing basis
  • there may be a model where supported hosting for vanilla Kete installs would make the software more accessible to very small community organisations  (e.g. Pukekura Park) and provide assurance that data is archived, backed up and so on
  • a commercial partner with a commitment to the core software project for the medium term

In the longer-term, Kete should be developing out features for better telling stories in our communities, and linking content within items.  Rabid have many ideas about this and hope to see this discussion pull together a roadmap that we can engage in.

Kete Tasman – Making New Zealand history accessible

Hosting and computing resources provided by the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa are helping make a unique local historical resource more accessible.

Kete, an online digital repository hosted by APNK as well as scanning and computing facilities are allowing staff and volunteers at Richmond Library, Tasman District to upload and share First World War information with a broader audience.

Remembering The Soldiers of Tasman

Richmond Library holds an invaluable local historical resource in the form of the WWI Roll of Honour folders. These 3 large binders contain records and information on all the men of the Tasman area who fought in The Great War. Painstakingly compiled by volunteers these binders were donated to the library in 2005 so that the public could have access to the unique information they contain. In some cases this includes soldiers’ diary entries and photographs.

However, the size and unique nature of the binders meant that access could still be problematic. Louise Gribbons, Assistant Library Information Services, explains –

“Customers had to come into the Richmond Library to read them, which meant a 3 hour drive for some people within our district. The ring binders are also very heavy, meaning elderly and disabled customers were really disadvantaged. “

Sharing Local History Online with Kete

In December 2012 Richmond Library staff, like Karen Dickerson, Local History Librarian (pictured), with the permission of the original compilers, began scanning and digitising the content of the binders which document the military details of nearly 500 Tasman men. Using their APNK scanner and computers they have added this information to the ‘World War I Centenary: 1914-2014’ basket on Kete Tasman.

The People’s Network hosts Kete Tasman on behalf of the library as a repository for local content, one that both library staff and members of the wider community can use and add to.

Making the rolls available on Kete Tasman as well as on a shelf has already had a noticeable effect -

“Having them online has meant they are Google searchable. We have received emails from people (New Zealand and overseas) who have found their relative – some have emailed us to see if we have further information.”

Adding Community Stories

The online Roll of Honour represents a useful resource for Tasman residents on its own, however the collaborative nature of Kete means that additional information from other sources can always be added. Potentially locals and family members can give a fuller story of the lives of Tasman’s WWI soldiers.

“We are hoping to inspire families and other organisations to add their World War I materials to the Kete.”

Thanks to APNK for permission to use this case study. Original article.

Showcasing Hamilton’s Diverse Communities

Tools and services provided by the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa have helped to build a bridge between Hamilton City Libraries and the city’s ethnic communities.

The People’s Network’s provision of Kete, an online digital repository for community voices, memories, and stories, is allowing Hamilton’s various migrant communities to share their experiences online. It’s also providing a space for valuable library-held historical material on the web.

Community Space Online

One of the functions that Kete Hamilton fulfils is as an online space for community organisations operating within the region.  One of these is the Waikato Filipino Association (WFA) which manages its own “basket” or area within Hamilton City Libraries’ Kete. Gladys Stephens, the Association’s president, is enthusiastic about the benefits of Kete to her organisation.

“WFA Kete is assisting the Filipino community by providing interesting topics, contents, highlights of the club’s community activities and giving a good view of the Philippine culture and traditions.”

Individual stories contributed by members of other migrant communities include; a local woman recounting her experience of growing up Muslim in Hamilton in the 1970s, the story of Joe Di Maio, Hamilton City Councillor, whose family in Italy sent him to New Zealand in the wake of WWII, or the harrowing tale of an Iraqi refugee’s journey to a new life in New Zealand.

In each case the stories of New Zealanders with unique experiences have been captured and made available in an online environment – stories that would not have been told and recorded without Kete.

Forging a Library-Community Connection

In addition to providing a vehicle for local communities to share stories and news with each other Hamilton’s Kete has been a catalyst for local people to discover their library.  Smita Biswas, Hamilton City Libraries’ Digital Access Manager has noticed that involvement with Kete “… has brought in community members who were less aware or lacked confidence in using the library and its rich resources.”

Within communities that have a Kete presence there’s been further engagement with the library in the form of individuals offering to help library staff in the sometimes tricky task of creating library collections in the world languages area.

Past and Future Heritage

Librarians are contributing to Kete Hamilton too, uploading and managing the “Hamilton Heritage” basket. This area of the Kete plays host to a selection of images held by Hamilton City Libraries in its historic photographs collection and includes pictures of the people, places and events of Hamilton’s past.

But ‘heritage’ isn’t just about what’s been significant in the days of yore.  It’s about preserving what may be significant in the future.  Biswas is keen to point out that capturing the community events and profiles of people alive today will have benefits further down the track.

“Kete Hamilton is on its way to becoming a very useful resource for historians in the future.”

April 2010

Thanks to APNK for permission to use this case study. Original article.

Kete at NDF 2013

Does anyone else out there think there would be any place for a workshop around the idea of getting the most out of your Kete?

A ‘share whats working’ theme as well as:

  • Using Storify with Kete
  • Using Historypin with Kete
  • Creating an animated gif for small slideshows using Photoshop or Gimp
  • Embedding twitter feeds
  • Embedding Youtube Videos
  • Using audacity to clean up your audio contributions
  • Good practise (linking content within kete and too own catalogue to create journey, pointing to other reliable resources, separating Library content from public content by using baskets and index pages).
  • Others?

If you think there is a demand for this kind of workshop I would happy to run it from the perspective of a happy tinkerer with an ear to learning other’s ideas…(rather than a programmer). A sort of ‘bring a laptop and be prepared to play with you own kete’ couple of hours?

Harley Couper