Thanks to a massive effort by a dedicated team of volunteers, an eight-year project to digitise nearly 200,000 library index cards is finally finished!

The project began back in 2015, soon after Dunedin’s Lebanese Community generously donated $55,000 to the Dunedin Public Libraries for the development of a new digital archive.

The archive, “Scattered Seeds – He Purapura Marara”, is a collection of the memories, mementos, and stories of the people of Ōtepoti Dunedin.As part of its development, we needed to digitise 191,500 library index cards containing references to life in Ōtepoti Dunedin from 1851 to 1993 – a massive task for our library staff!

Thankfully, by crowdsourcing the effort, we were able to spread the load between 476 volunteers who pitched in to help.Now, eight years later, you can find a comprehensive index covering a myriad of information, from biographical data and obituaries to Council decisions, as well as other local and regional topics of interest, which together tell the stories of Dunedin’s development since 1851.

The archive also includes the Troopship Collection, Medieval Manuscripts, and personal accounts and photographs from early Dunedin residents, which were previously only available by visiting the Dunedin City Library’s heritage collection in person.We can’t thank our volunteers enough for their work over the last eight years. The results have transformed the public’s access to our archives, and we’ll keep adding to the collection in the years ahead!

You can check out the results on the archive here.