Upper Hutt heritage database makes history

21:11, Oct 16 2012
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Ready to view: Library community heritage co-ordinator Reid Perkins introduces the photographic archive on Recollect to guests at Thursday evening’s launch.

Upper Hutt Library's new Recollect heritage database has made history itself.

Its interactive abilities mean people can go online and add information and material to the library's extensive photo collection, instead of needing library staff to do it for them.

Library manager Debbie Duncan said the database, created in conjunction with New Zealand Micrographics, is a New Zealand first.

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View from the past: Construction of Upper Hutt Library in 1977.

Dunedin's Hocken Library will soon be introducing the same software.

Recollect, which includes more than 15,000 digitised photos of Upper Hutt, its past and people, was launched at the Upper Hutt Library. It includes a catalogue of the library's heritage collection.

A panoramic view of Upper Hutt from the roof of the former BNZ published in a recent Leader is part of the photo collection.

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People have been able to add their memories to some of the photos on a special Recollect wall at the library.

Mrs Duncan said that while there are special interest groups around the city, the library is the only place collating material on a wider scale.

At Thursday evening's launch, assistant library manager Helen Thomas said people seized the opportunity to partner the project "with a zest that has amazed us".

Mrs Thomas said library community heritage co-ordinator Reid Perkins would be at the library on Saturdays and librarian Liz Allen on Sundays to provide specialist advice for people about heritage questions, giving seven-day cover for the subject.

Mrs Duncan said that due to the past efforts of Upper Hutt Rotary and many others, the library had a "fabulous" collection of heritage material but it was largely hidden.

A project to make electronic images of the library's photo collection had begun but needed to connect with the community in a more efficient way.

The library worked with New Zealand Micrographics to create an interactive database.

Mr Perkins said Recollect was a work in progress and designed to be flexible and adaptable.

A newcomer to the city, he said the city had a "really fascinating" history and he was impressed by how much interest there was in local heritage.

Recollect has three entry levels. The first is the visitor level for simple viewing.

The second allows people to register as a member of Recollect and contribute their own information to the database. There is also a place on the site where people can add "discussion" about the photo.

Some of the material given to the collection came with little information.

The third is to become volunteer editors of the site.

The database can be accessed through the library website www.uhcl.recollect.co.nz or a google search for Recollect and Upper Hutt.

Upper Hutt Leader