DigitalNZ wins at the NZ Open Source Awards

Posted on 01 November 2016 by Thomasin

Open Source Awards

Image: DigitalNZ's trophy at the NZ Open Source Awards at Te Papa.

On the 25th of October, a cluster of our DigitalNZ team, present and past, arrived at Te Papa for the Open Source Awards. We were finalists for the third time, and hopeful of a win.

The awards began their life in 2007, and are a biennial celebration of innovative open source projects that are licensed for reuse – a natural fit with DigitalNZ’s ethos.

DigitalNZ opted to use open source technologies from the very beginning, more than eight years ago, when we decided to build our services on top of a fully open stack – this means that we built DigitalNZ on top of software that other people had freely shared. With time we expanded to share our own technology, releasing our Supplejack software to the National Library of Singapore, and then more widely on GitHub

Supplejack is DigitalNZ’s bespoke tool for aggregating, searching, and sharing metadata records. The technology allows other organisations to pick up and use the aggregation tool and to benefit from sharing metadata. 

One of the most satisfying implementations of our software has been from our friends at Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, who picked up Supplejack and have used it to present their online collections. For us to know that another public agency in New Zealand has been able to use our software, and reuse technology that has already been paid for demonstrates the value of open source government software.

We were finalists in the Open Source use in Government category, and the first category to be announced, so we were left in short suspense before being announced the winner. Andy Neale, Manager DigitalNZ, accepted the award and acknowledged our partners with whom we couldn’t do without. 

Andy Neale, accepting DigitalNZ's 2016 Open Source Award

Image: Andy Neale, Head of DigitalNZ accepting the NZ Open Source Award.

Jason Ryan, the convener of the judges said DigitalNZ wowed the panel with its national and international focus.

“The judges were impressed by the project’s longevity, its commitment to open source from the outset (in 2008 the use of open source was still quite novel in New Zealand government) and its applicability outside New Zealand.”

So, a huge thank you to our partners and especially Boost New Media who have been our development partners for many years; knowing that we have a team of developers who are as passionate about DigitalNZ as we are has been crucial.

To be acknowledged by the Open Source Awards, an independent body means a lot to us; winning this award is special and it encourages us and validates our work – to keep being open. 

Key Digital NZ features:

  • DigitalNZ’s online services, acquire and enhance metadata from more than 200 data sources on a 24/7 basis, and then share that data via APIs to power websites and applications. 

  • Supplejack is DigitalNZ's tool for aggregating, searching and sharing metadata records. Supplejack is used to collect metadata about millions of items, from hundreds of data sources, across many different data formats including HTML, RSS, XML, OAI-PMH and RDF/XML. It transforms messy data, creates a unified search index and makes consistent metadata widely available via an open API data service. It was built using open source technology by DigitalNZ and the National Library of New Zealand. 

  • The Supplejack documentation, including an introductory video can be seen at:  

  • DigitalNZ uses open source technologies such as HA Proxy, Apache, Passenger, Thin, SOLR, MongoDB, Redis, MySQL, GlusterFS, Memcache, Chef, Airbrake, Refinery, Tomcat, and Ruby on Rails.

  • DigitalNZ partners get the benefit of shared infrastructure, and reduced costs for their own services.

We've turned off comments here, but we'd still love to know your thoughts. Visit us on our Facebook Page @digitalnz or on Twitter @DigitalNZ to share any ideas or musings with the DigitalNZ team.