City of Newcastle today welcomed an $80,000 Metropolitan Public Library Grant to help build Newcastle Region Library’s first DX Digitisation Lab.
To be known as the DXDigilab, a dedicated heritage collections digitisation space within Newcastle Library will house robotic and 3D scanning instruments capable of quickly converting hard-copy items into digital information.
City Manager of Community Programs and Partnerships Alex Mills with Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Library
staff at Newcastle Library.
Thanks to the grant, which will bolster the City’s own $120,000 contribution, robotic page turners capable of digitising 2,890 pages an hour will eliminate the need for countless hours of manual labour to preserve the collection.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said having a dedicated lab – and the tools available – to digitise the City's archives and heritage collections would ensure troves of information were preserved for lifelong learning and future generations.
“Through the creation of the DXDigilab, we’ll be able to preserve the hundreds of thousands of archival records, photographs, maps, pictures, newspapers and rare books which document the story of Newcastle and the Hunter Region,” the Lord Mayor said.
“The Library History and Heritage Collection Development Plan encompasses a collection of more than 440,000 items, with almost 75 per cent at risk of deterioration due to age.
“Some of these collections date back to the early 1800's and feature rare, unique and notable items. Many items have come through the generous donations of local business, organisations and members of the community.”
“With the aid of this grant, the library’s goal will now be to have 100 per cent of its collection digitised within the next four years.”
Alex Mills and Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes inspect the library catalogues which will be restored in digital form.
Following community consultation from The Library Strategy 2019-2023, which revealed that Newcastle Stories were a key priority for the people of our City, the Library remains committed to collecting, preserving and sharing local history and cultural identity.
Five permanent full-time staff members will help resource the ongoing digitsation process.
The DXDigilab will also boast a Memory Lab component with new and retro equipment to capture and convert library members’ own artefacts and records into digital formats.
Future plans include interactive digital exhibition capabilities, featuring digitised map projection and virtual exhibitions in both augmented reality and virtual reality, that will also help engage new audiences across all library sites.
The City will stage the roll-out of the DXDigilab in phases, with a view to having the project complete by June 2020.