Work on indexing ODT files recognised

By ODT | Posted: Friday December 11, 2020

An autistic Dunedin man who delights in reading old copies of the Otago Daily Times has gained a special honour.

Dunedin Public Libraries volunteer Peter Lim has been recognised for his efforts to transcribe newspaper index cards as part of a project to digitise documents.

At a ceremony yesterday, Mr Lim received the annual Dunedin Public Libraries Citation, recognising his efforts since 2015 as a digital volunteer helping transcribe the library’s collection of newspaper index cards.

"I was very happy and it was a surprise," he said.

Mr Lim (29) also spends many hours each week in the Hocken and Dunedin Public Libraries poring over digital and microfiche copies of the ODT for his own research and pleasure.

Converting the documents to digital versions allows online access by researchers, who previously would have had to visit the City Library’s heritage collections to view them.

The library has more than 190,000 cards covering newspapers from 1851 to 1993, including obituaries, biographical information and other topics of local interest, and Mr Lim has transcribed more than 87,000 of them, amounting to 45% of the total.

Dunedin City Council community and culture committee chairwoman Marie Laufiso awarded the citation during the libraries’ annual Christmas morning tea.

The citation said that his dedication , accuracy and persistence had been outstanding.

Library services manager Bernie Hawke said that current and future generations would benefit from Mr Lim’s "wonderful contribution" to enhancing access to the newspaper index.

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