National Digital Forum: Day 1

tepapa.jpgMuseum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is hosting the Digital Forum here in the capital city of Wellington. It’s a beautiful space, although honestly, I haven’t had as much time as I would have liked to check out the exhibits (perhaps today). From what I’ve seen the museum contains a mix of art and artifacts with a focus of the taonga (“treasures” in the Maori language) of New Zealand. They also have a Kid’s Zone which contains hands-on exhibits and programs for early learners.

The first day of the Digital Forum focused mostly on collections and archives. I presented the keynote, Museums and the Web 2.0 in the morning and then caught a few of the sessions later in the day. I missed a few sessions and haven’t have much time to blog as my luggage (with my camera) showed up three days late! So that’s kept me rather busy.

In the morning I saw Virginia Gow from the National Library of New Zealand present on Matapihi, which allows visitors to search for multimedia (mostly photos) from across heritage collections.

In afternoon, there a was a session that focused on various Maori information initiatives. Te Anau Tuiono presented his experiences at on the UN World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in 2005. He talked about the importance of including the needs of indigenous peoples into a UN Declaration. Teanau Tuiono also mentioned someone closer to home, he cited a summit address entitled, “Information is not Knowledge” by Joe Shirely Jr. (the PDF is here) who is the President of The Navajo Nation.

In the same session, Haami Piripi from the Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori (The Maori Language Commission) shared with us an amazing open source Maori dictionary, matapuna.org. The idea of this unique database is ensure that the Maori language is one of use. As Haami explained the Maori language is still in danger, as the strongest Maori speakers tend to be older and geographically dispersed.

Today, there are a number of interesting sessions with more of a museum focus. I will post some of the highlights from these presentations soon.

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