Despite their age, these records which document the control and management of land back to the 1840s are still vital evidence of land ownership in NZ. With the closure of Land Information New Zealand processing centres around NZ between 2009-2011, digitisation was the solution to keeping them accessible to LINZ staff, clients and researchers.
In a tightly co-ordinated programme, 619 volumes were delivered to us as an interim step between the closure of an office and the formal transfer of the records to Archives NZ. Having a facility located at Archives NZ Head Office helped immeasurably with this as Archives staff could still access the records as needed.
We used an SMA book scanner for this project to ensure high throughput and safe handling of the volumes themselves. Many of the registers were huge, weighing in at up to 30kg and it took careful manoeuvring to get them on the book cradle.
Page curvature and the capture of text close to the binding was an issue especially with volumes that had been rebound, but the quality of the images from the SMA mitigated this. Text which was not legible to the eye could be read in the image when enlarged.
The project also entailed capturing basic xml for each page and volume based on LINZ’s metadata templates. We built a custom software application to facilitate the transcription and QA of the data.
192,000 images were delivered over the course of the project and are now available online on Archway, Archives NZ’s archival management system.