December 22, 2009 /
September 10, 2009 /

The ever-informative Twitter alerted me recently to the History Trust of South Australia’s object of the month. It made me think that it would be nice if there was some way of bringing together all those objects, photos and documents featured by our cultural institutions. Some sort of combined RSS feed perhaps?

Something like this…

Well, yes… I couldn’t resist having a go. My tool of choice for this was Yahoo Pipes which has various modules for manipulating and creating RSS feeds. Check out my script on the Yahoo Pipes site to create a badge like this, play some more or inspect its innards. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even clone the script and tinker away yourself – it’s the best way to learn. Read MorePlaying with pipes

January 30, 2009 /
December 17, 2008 /
All dressed up – RecordSearch has a new look
All dressed up – RecordSearch has a new look

The new version of my Greasemonkey userscript, RecordSearch Image Tools, gives RecordSearch’s digital image pages a rather new look. My previous version had done away with the tired ol ‘lemon-chiffon’ background colour, but I decided it was time to get a bit more adventurous, so I blitzed the old design and rebuilt the page from the beginning.

As you can see from the screenshot, I’ve tried to give the images as much as the screen as possible. I’ve also created a consistent set of navigation buttons, and improved the functionality in various ways. Read MoreArchives in 3D

November 17, 1996 /

[Contains many broken links – included for historical interest only!]

what is there to know about archives?

In this age of virtual wonders, it seems that our past is rushing towards us. New communication technologies promise greatly improved access to Australia’s cultural heritage. The previous government had hoped to lead us along the aisles of our own “Electronic Smithsonian”, according to its 1995 statement, Innovate Australia [HREF 2]:

…school children will be able over the Internet to read the diaries of Cook and Bligh, Burke and Wills, stories of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in outback Australia, and see the works of Rover Thomas and Arthur Boyd.

In rather less expansive terms, the current government plans a National Cultural Network [HREF 3] that will “simplify and enhance the communication and exchange of cultural and heritage resources, information and ideas”. But where will the material be coming from to fill the virtual display cases? Government statements often point to “libraries, museums and galleries”, but what about archives? Of course we’re meant to assume that archives are somewhere amongst the “cultural and heritage organisations”, and anyway the major libraries collect archival material like diaries, letters and manuscripts. But consigning archives to the ranks of fellow-travellers in the information putsch, means that little attention is given to their specific needs and their unique potential. We will have no strategies for ensuring that appropriate forms of access are developed. Instead of delving deeply into our “vast cultural resources” we may simply skim the top, presenting only the familiar in a new digital guise. Instead of an “Electronic Smithsonian” we might end up with an “Electronic Disneyland”. This paper will examine how the World Wide Web might be used to avoid this by facilitating access to Australia’s archival resources – providing pathways for exploring our collective memory. Read MorePathways to memory

May 1, 1996 /
June 15, 1995 /
Tim Sherratt, speech at the Australian Science Archives Project's 10th birthday celebration, 15 June 1995


On behalf of ASAP I’d like to welcome you all here to help celebrate our 10th birthday. This is a milestone that, at times, it seemed we might never reach, but here we are, stronger than ever. If you haven’t already guessed, this is a night of rampant self-congratulation, mixed with some myth-making, and perhaps also a little reflection – just how did we make it this far? I believe it had a lot to do with the ‘V’ word – vision. Read MoreEn-visioning ASAP

June 3, 1995 /
Tim Sherratt, ‘A world to win: The WWW experience of a small organisation with big dreams’, Asia-Pacific WWW Conference, 1995.


What am I doing here? I work for a non-profit organisation attached to the University of Melbourne. What can I say about “Doing Business on the WWW”? You all know universities have it easy, large IT departments, huge bandwidth connections – it’s a different world! Read MoreA world to win