This year saw the beginning of our journey towards an electronic library using Accessit, an automated library system that, amongst other amazing things, enables open public access to our catalogued records 24/7. Connectivity from your device is now easy anywhere in the world via the Accessit WebApp, our modern online catalogue.
The 2020 journey began with the accessioning of our book collection and currently more than 70% of the books have been uniquely identified, assigned spine labels and shelved in Dewey order. These are tiny steps as the library collection also consists of manuscripts, articles, photographs, video and audio recordings, periodicals, newspapers, artefacts and other memorabilia. Creating individual electronic records for the entire collection is a major undertaking and an ongoing and evolving project.
While our library serves as a specialised research hub on a wide range of Greek subject areas, we are particularly proud of our focus on Kytherian settlement in the diaspora and its place in the social history of Australia. We are also proud of other aspects of the migrant experience that are covered including Kytherian family histories, businesses, culture and traditions. Our resources can be used for recreational reading or for research and scholastic studies and this means we are both a lending and a reference library.
In 2020 we had the 1st Minute Book of the Kytherian Association of Australia professionally digitised and the result was outstanding. The first five Minutes have been posted on the KAA website homepage for everyone to access and read. These digitised records have already proven to be very valuable as an easily accessible research tool for the Centenary Book (due for release early next year). Of course, archives dealing with the history of the Kytherian Association of Australia are highly prized and we are always on the lookout for more.
The Nicholas Anthony Aroney Library acknowledges the leadership of George Vardas who brought about the development of its collection over many years. Also, a huge thank you to Kalie Zervos and Toula Varipatis who showed a good deal of initiative by acquainting themselves not only with a new and unfamiliar software package, but also with the complicated process of importing bibliographic details to catalogue our books, while complying with industry standards. Due to the bilingual profile of the book collection, a degree of competence in both the spoken and written areas of Greek was also essential.
The Kytherian Association of Australia takes great pride in its important and intellectually valuable collection which is fairly unique amongst other Greek organisations in Australia.
Looking forward 2021
Facebook, photo tagging and citizen archiving
We are looking into various aspects of using our existing Kytherian Association Facebook account to invite public collaboration for identifying old photographs. Potentially, anyone could post their old photographs as well as comment on or identify (tag) people, dates and locations depicted in other photographs. The Kytherian community worldwide would be welcome to connect and contribute to our very own ‘citizen archive’ project.
Copyright, attribution and guidelines for users including handling errors will be looked into before we move forward with this project. Should this be successful, then collecting, identifying and cataloguing even more images for the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Library’s digital collection would be a great reward.
Affiliations with libraries and museums worldwide
In order to maximise access to online collections and information, we aim to create affiliations with electronic Kytherian libraries and museums worldwide. This would be especially beneficial to the proposed Digital Migration Museum of Kythera at Agia Pelagia.
We are also seeking to raise our profile outside the Greek community and will eventually look into affiliations with the Royal Historic Society, Australian Museum Collections and Universities.
To create every opportunity for success, we require many hands and to this end we are calling for volunteers. Tasks could include searching, sorting, scanning and categorising paper documents and photographs. Whatever skills you have that could be of benefit along with a few hours of your time whenever possible would be greatly appreciated. Send an email Subject: Library Volunteer to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you can help.
Our library has never had a greater opportunity to reach out and draw the world closer to home. We are confident that our incentives will continue the proud tradition of promoting Kytherian culture and inspiring future generations.