January 24, 2022

New Zealand: “Documenting the Pandemic – How Archives NZ and the National Library are Keeping Tabs”

From Stuff:

The National Library – the one which houses Te Tiriti o Waitangi is collecting memes.

For millennia humans have documented their time in unusual and humorous ways that people before or after didn’t understand.


So as part of their work to document the Covid-19 pandemic, staff at the Alexander Turnbull Library are keeping tabs of popular memes.

Associate chief librarian Jessica Moran said staff have also kept a record of the Covid-19 daily press conference IMDB page, and the comments that came with it.

“Once we realised that there was that IMDB, with all the comments, we have collected that through our web archiving program, and stuff like that, you know, we have a really rich ephemera collection of paper – that goes back 150, 200 years.


The Library is also collecting all written news, digital and physical copies, as well as any book that is written in New Zealand.

People are donating personal diaries – again, physical books or online diaries such as daily videos on Facebook, for instance – photos, letters, anything related to their experience of the pandemic.

National librarian Te Pouhuaki, Rachel Esson, said Archives New Zealand documents the official record from government departments, but the National Library looks beyond that.

“Our focus is a lot more on society, and in the reaction of people, and in trying to be representative collecting all of those different voices and perspectives,” Esson said.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.