The image above is from Geoff Hinchcliffe’s awesome visualisation of more than 12,000 #fundTrove tweets.
This year I sadly left the wonderful team at Trove and took up a full-time academic post at the University of Canberra. But it was Trove that dominated the early part of the year, as the impact of continual funding cuts on the National Library of Australia became clear. Users of Trove shared their feelings on Twitter and Facebook, organisations posted statements of support, and numerous articles appeared in the media. In the lead up to the federal election, both the Greens and ALP made commitments to support Trove and our national cultural institutions.
In the last few days, we’ve learnt that the Government will provide $16.4 million over four years to the NLA ‘for digitisation of material and upgrade of critical infrastructure for its Trove digital information resource and to upgrade other critical infrastructure’. While we wait to hear exactly what this means for the future of Trove, it’s important to remember that it comes after many cuts and job losses across the cultural sector. The lesson of #fundTrove is that we cannot take the future of our collecting organisations for granted. We need to show why they matter and fight for the resources they need.
Access is important — both its politics and its practicalities. This year I’ve tried to be a bit more rigorous in the way I share information and document my projects. I created a Digital Heritage Handbook where I publish workshops, activities, and other bits and pieces. Much of it is in draft form, but I decided it was better just to push everything out in the hope that it might be useful. Similarly, I created an Open Research Notebook to share work in progress. The Handbook also includes details of the two undergraduate units I taught in second semester — Working with collections, and Exploring digital heritage. I think they went pretty well, but I’ve got a few improvements planned for 2017.
This year I accidentally built my own version of Historic Hansard, created an interface to National Archives files we’re not allowed to see, and mined ASIO surveillance files for redactions. As well as these major projects, there were lots of little hacks and harvests aimed at exploring the idea of ‘access’. You can follow my main research obsessions in my notebook:
Talking and making details follow…
2016 — the making:
- Locating Trove newspapers
Updated code, data, and interface to geolocate and display Trove newspaper titles. Now with maps!
- Headline Roulette
Much needed update for my old game. Now on it’s own domain and with better handling of Trove API errors.
- DFAT Documents
Demonstration code to harvest the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s collection of historical documents and extract some metadata. The harvested documents are available in Markdown format and can be explored through a simple website.
- People of Australia
@people_aus is a Twitter bot sharing random names drawn from late 19th and early 20th century naturalisation records held by the National Archives of Australia. Many names. Many cultures. These are the people of Australia.
- RecordSearch Series Harvests
Code to harvest the metadata and digitised images of all items in a series from the National Archives of Australia. Data from an assortment of harvested series are available as CSV files.
- SRNSW indexes
Code for harvesting indexes from the State Records of NSW website. Data from 59 harvested indexes is available as CSV files.
- Facial detection demo
Code and website to demonstrate the principles of facial detection using OpenCV.
- Show Redactions userscript
Code for inserting details of redacted files into RecordSearch results.
- ASIO Experiments
Code used for the extraction of redactions and other experiments with digitised ASIO files.
- Redactions dataset
Redactions extracted from ASIO surveillance records in National Archives of Australia Series A6119, <https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.4101765.v1>
- Non redactions dataset
False positives (non-redactions) extracted from ASIO surveillance records in National Archives of Australia Series A6119, <https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.4104651.v1<
Web interface for exploring redactions extracted from digitised ASIO files. Includes a collection of redaction art.
- Open with Exception browser
Code and website providing an experimental browser for digitised ASIO files from the National Archives of Australia.
- Invisible Australians browser
Updated code and website providing an experimental browser for digitised records from the National Archives of Australia relating to the administration of the White Australia Policy. Now includes a landscape view for exploring records by their orientation.
- Closed Access harvester
Updated code for harvesting and analysing records from the National Archives of Australia with the access status of ‘closed’.
- Closed Access dataset
Complete dataset of records held by the National Archives of Australia that had the access status of ‘closed’ (withheld from public access) on 1 January 2016.
- Closed Access website
Public web interface for the exploration, analysis, and visualisation of ‘closed’ records in the National Archives of Australia.
- RecordSearch Functions
Code and documentation for analysing the performance of functions by Commonwealth government agencies over time, using data from the National Archives of Australia.
- Commonwealth Hansard XML repository
A repository of the (almost) complete proceedings of the Commonwealth House of Representatives and Senate from 1901–1980. This comprises several gigabytes of XML-formatted files harvested from the ParlInfo database.
- Historic Hansard
A public website that presents the proceedings of the Commonwealth House of Representatives and Senate from 1901–1980 in a form that is optimised for browsing and reading. It includes additional features such as indexes to people and legislation, and the integration of tools for text analysis and annotation. Documentation is also provided.
- Trove Harvester
Code and documentation to support the creation of large datasets for research and analysis from Trove’s digitised newspapers.
- Gadfly front pages
Code and documentation to demonstrate how to harvest page images from Trove’s digitised newspapers.
- Trove Proxy
Code and active proxy service that generates links to download PDFs from Trove’s digitised newspapers, and provides a https wrapper around the Trove API.
- DIY Headline Roulette
Code and documentation that makes it easy for anyone to create their own simple game using Trove’s digitised newspapers.
- Radio National program data
Updated dataset of programs broadcast on Radio National from 2000–2016 harvested from Trove.
- PMs Transcripts repository
Repository of more than 20,000 XML transcripts of speeches by Australian Prime Ministers harvested from the PMs Transcripts site.
- UMA Ellis Photos
Repository of data and images from a collection of political photos by John Ellis held by the University of Melbourne Archives. Harvested using the Trove API.
2016 — the talking
- 8 November 2016 – Digital research seminar and workshop at Griffith University.
- 10 November 2016 – Presentation as part of the ‘Access and innovation’ panel at Digital Directions 2016, National Film and Sound Archive, ‘Caring about access’, <https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.4229402.v1>.
Featured on dh+lib (digital humanities and libraries).
- 19 October 2016 – Keynote presentation at Forging Links, Australian Society of Archivists conference, Parramatta, ‘Turning the inside out’, <https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.4055013.v2>.
- 8 September 2016 – Invited presentation to Data and libraries: harnessing the possibilities, ALIA URLs seminar, Canberra, ‘Slow data? Small data? Exploring human-sized alternatives in the big data deluge’.
- 26 August 2016 – Keynote presentation at Migrant (R)e-Collections, Lorenz Centre, Leiden, ‘A life reduced to data’.
Featured as an ‘Editors’ choice’ by Digital Humanities Now.
- 19 August 2016 – Keynote presentation at Working History, Professional Historians’ Association conference, Melbourne, ‘Telling stories with data’.
- 29–31 July 2016 – GovHack Heritage Node, University of Canberra
- 18 July 2016 – Keynote presentation at internal staff conference, State Library of Victoria.
- 15 July 2016 – Invited presentation at DigitalGLAM Symposium, University of Melbourne, ‘Hacking heritage: power and participation in digital cultural collections’.
Featured on dh+lib (digital humanities and libraries).
- 5 July 2016 – Interview on ABC 936 (Hobart) Evenings about Trove.
- 24 June 2016 – Interview on ABCRN afternoons, ‘The fight to save Trove’
- 22 June 2016 – Paper at DHA2016 Conference in Hobart, ‘Closed Access’
- 3 June 2016 – Invited contributor to the REMIX Sydney panel ‘Blurring the digital and the physical: How can we add new layers to history?’.
- 2 June 2016 – Invited presentation at the Digital Research Methodologies Forum, La Trobe University, ‘The revolution will not be digital’
- 31 May 2016 – Invited presentation on digital research methods to the Deakin Contemporary Histories Research Group.
- 10 May 2016 – Presented two workshops on ‘Digital Tools and Techniques for the Adventurous Historian’, organised by the History Council of South Australia for the SA History Festival 2016, Adelaide.
- 7 March 2016 – Interview on ABCRN Late Night Live, ‘Treasure Trove under threat’
- 6 March 2016 – Contributor to panel discussing the government’s Innovation Agenda, Electronic Visualisation and the Arts Australasia, University of Canberra.
- 1 March 2016 – Interview with ABC 666 (Canberra) Drive about #fundTrove.
- 1 March 2016 – Interview with RTRFM (Perth) on #fundTrove.
- 19 February 2016 – Invited presentation to symposium on Commonwealth Department of Immigration – Then and Now, La Trobe University, ‘Digital perspectives on the archives of immigration’
- 12 February 2016 – Keynote presentation to ANZREG 2016 (Ex Libris Australia and New Zealand Regional User’s Group), Melbourne, ‘Linked Open Data’.
- 10 February 2016 – Invited contributor to the Gale Cengage sponsored Digital Humanities Panel at VALA2016, Melbourne.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.