Address to the NDF board at the AGM 27/11/2013

I asked for a few minutes to address the NDF board at the AGM because it was important that the GLAM community are informed of the uncertain status of the Kete project.

Kete collects digital content, informal, community content, that sits alongside the formal content produced by memory institutions throughout the country.

Kete is 2007 technology. We have not managed to build a sustainable financial model to fund enhancements over the last 6 years.

Do we value citizen created content?

We reached a crisis point about 6 months ago and had to upgrade the rails foundation of Kete because the version Kete was running on it is no longer supported; a massive security vulnerability. Horowhenua has 22,000 digital assets at risk and we asked the community to join us in upgrading Kete. There are 250,000 digital assets stored in various Kete throughout the nation.

A ‘benevolent dictatorship’ was formed to make the urgent decisions about the security upgrade. The team comprises:
Andy Neale – Digital NZ, Leith Harhoff – Palmerston North, Jo Ransom – Horowhenua and Josh Forde – Rabid Technology. Digital NZ contributed $20k, Horowhenua $30k and Palmerston North and Tauranga Libraries each contributed $5k to upgrade the Rails and underlying dependencies to address the critical security issues. There will be a noticeably speed increase.

We now how to decide whether we value citizen created content or not?

Do we abandon Kete or do we upgrade?

We could abandon Kete:

  • What will we do with the 250,000 existing digital assets stored in various Kete?
  • Do we want to collect citizen created digital content anymore? eg the shoeboxes of photographs stashed under beds,
  • If so, what is the tool that will replace Kete? I don’t know of an alternative.

Or we can upgrade Kete:

  • We have a road map of development that will create a completely modernised Kete with a strong backend that will support awesome ‘front end’ stuff,
  • It will cost around $200k to do the upgrade,
  • We need to develop a subscription model to ensure the Kete code doesn’t stagnate again.
    eg If each of the 34 APNK libraries who were funded free Kete through Digital Strategy funding had each paid $2k pa over the last 6 years, and if the city and other libraries who are running Kete had each contributed $2k – $5k a year, Kete would have remained the award winning, world class tool that it was when first developed in 2007.

Horowhenua can no longer continue funding Kete for the nation.

My plea to the board is for advocacy help. There is an urgency about this decision, these digital assets are at real risk and we need the conversations to be held in high places.

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