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The Wikipedia Project Continues

Author: Mackenzie Grace Paton, Editor, Friends of The Dowse Newsletter

Those following the progress of our Wikipedia project will know that last summer we began the task of creating 100 Wikipedia articles about New Zealand craft artists, designed to increase the profile and availability of New Zealand craft on the internet. We’re on to stage two, and it’s all about digitising valuable resources previously tucked away in libraries and archives.

Copies of New Zealand Crafts

Copies of New Zealand Crafts

In stage one, we cut our teeth creating stubs in November, hit 40 articles by Christmas, and passed the 100 article mark some time in February. After that satisfyingly speedy progress, part two has been ticking away behind the scenes to the tune of the hardworking office scanner.

We identified a range of catalogues and books published by The Dowse that sit within the parameters of our New Zealand craft focus, and trawled through Craft New Zealand magazines for key articles published by the late Crafts Council in the eighties and early nineties. These publications are a moment in time that document a high point in New Zealand craft and are rich with articles, artist profiles, studio shots, exhibition reviews and lively debate about the status of craft in this country. After a marathon of scanning and PDF merging, these articles are finally finding a home on the internet through Digital New Zealand's Shared Research Repository.

The Shared Research Repository is an online database where organisations can store access copies of New Zealand digital material that have nowhere else to be hosted. This is perfect for small digital collections. Once we set up a repository account with the help of the fabulous team at Digital New Zealand, it was simple to create a new record, punch in the data, click publish, and ta-da, the publications are publicly searchable.

Now you can access the New Zealand Jewellery Biennial catalogues, read an article announcing the opening of the seminal exhibition Bone Stone Shell, and check out what Warwick Freeman was working on in 1985. The full list of digitised material is available here.

Reflecting on this collection of resources, what comes through loud and clear is not only the vision and talent of these key artists, but their vocal and passionate desire to advance the status of New Zealand craft—in an era before the internet.

The next step is to bring this project full circle and link these newly digitised publications to their corresponding Wikipedia articles, enriching entries on artists as diverse as Ruth Castle, Levi Borgstrom and Bronwynne Cornish.

 

 

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