By forsyth, August 20th, 2010 Comments Off

Cemeteries are a key local studies and family history resource.  Work is being done with gps to aid in the locating of graves.  In some cases communities are assisting with recording locations.  Many libraries, archives and museums have images, information, and in some cases audio/visual recording of relevance.  It would be amazing if when walking through a cemetery you could access information/images/recordings of some of the people buried there simply by having a location aware mobile device. It would build on the often scant or cryptic information on headstones or grave markers.  Detailed information would not need to be available for every grave, but some would be a great start – and the information may be as simple as reading transcript of the text on a hard to read headstone.  It would also tie in with the with way some cemeteries are changing how they record location information for burials.   For new burials this could be a way for people or their families to provide information/images for the future.  Obviously anything done in this area would need to be respectful of the general ambiance of cemeteries.

It would mean that  image databases may need improved location information, but it would enhance  the experience of visiting cemeteries.  Ideally it would scalable so once developed it could be used in cemeteries everywhere from areas of war graves to town cemeteries and cemeteries associated with properties.  It may be that the Australian War Memorial datasets may be a way of exploring this idea.

I have not been able to find example of this yet.

This ideas was developed using crowdsourcing  with NSW public library staff.


By forsyth, August 20th, 2010 Comments Off

As light relief we could use wildcards created by Richard Watson and Oliver Freeman to aid in brainstorming for ideas (not that there seems to be a shortage of ideas so far).

Open Linked Data? We’d settle for open!

By asaletourneau, August 20th, 2010 Comments Off

Web2.0 has taken hold at PROV and we are now trying to figure out ways to take our existing data and publish it in a usable form on a regular and automatic basis. The specific tasks we have in mind are:

how to extract data into xml format

design a tool that can harvest xml on a regular basis automatically

identify what is an archival standard xml and why and what are its elements

how to match our  xml elements to the archival standard xml elements and describe why the matching has occurred

design a tool that can publish xml on a regular basis automatically

Currently users access the collection here.  One day, with your help, they may be able to access it


Visualising the Victorian State Archives

By asaletourneau, August 20th, 2010 Comments Off

Do you dream about visualising PROV’s Archival Control Model and the holdings in engaging and innovative ways that seemlessly show the inter-relationships between Function, Agency, Series, Consignment, Unit and Item? Do you wake up each morning punching the air with the very thought of  embedding within this visualisation a way of navigating through the records?

No…neither do we. But we want to!

Team PROV (Asa and Sebastian) are coming to THATcamp armed with  XML files containing a sample of the records and their relationships to each other.  We are hoping that some of the more artistically/technically minded among you may support us in our quest to develop a ‘better way into the records’ and a ‘new way of seeing the holdings’.  At a very basic level this may mean:

“1. a timeline of agencies

2. a map of function/ agency relationships (ie functions with agencies clustered around them)

3. a ‘rhizome’ of agencies


Even if we only get a static or partial visualisation, it’s still something to build on…” (suggested by some PROV staff)

Research Tools Zeitgeist

By Anna, August 20th, 2010 § 1

I’d like to propose a session to discuss the use of  research tools and services within the digital humanities.
Sites like the DiRT wiki http://digitalresearchtools.pbworks.com/, and arts-humanities.net provide lists of  projects and software,  but these lists are large and it’s difficult to tell which of the tools are widely adopted, mature or stable. I’m particularly interested in how THATcampers are using open source tools and free or open access services, because these have the potential for reuse, extension and adaptation.
The kinds of things that could be discussed include:
  • What digital research tools/services do you use or are you considering using?
  • What kinds of activities are not well supported by existing tools?
  • How might current or future DH projects try to fill the gaps?

Engaging the Social Science research community to share their research

By Leannedh, August 17th, 2010 § 2

As a new Social Science archivist, although not new to social science, the problem of convincing social scientists to archive their data is a big stumbling block. There seems to be a culture of working alone and not sharing data, this culture really needs to change to make the most of the limited research resources. The archive (ASSDA) can archive a wide variety of research information including notebooks, images, video recordings, observation data as well as the statistical data. I would like to discuss with the social science community and other archivists:

1. The views of social science researchers about sharing their work and working collaboratively.

2. What it takes to convince them to archive their research.

3. What do they want from a social science archive?

Invisible Australians – crowdsourcing and community-building

By baibi, August 17th, 2010 § 1

Tim Sherratt and I have begun a new project called ‘Invisible Australians: Living under the White Australia Policy’, which Tim boldly announced on his blog a few weeks back. Inspired by projects such as London Lives, Mapping our Anzacs and the National Library’s Australian Newspapers, we think there’s the potential for something really very interesting to be done with the early 20th century restricted immigration records that were created because of the White Australia Policy. The records document thousands of non-white people, mostly Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Syrians and Afghans, who were living in Australia at the time.

The records include two particular forms that are rich in personal information – Form 21, Certificate Exempting from Dictation Test (CEDT) and Form 22, the application for a CEDT. They include details such as name, date of birth, birthplace, places of residence, occupation, marital status and family situation. They also feature front and side portrait photographs and handprints.

The first thing we’re planning to do is to develop a crowdsourcing tool to transcribe information from these forms – with the hope that we’ll then be able to create connections between the people in the records (e.g. matching husbands and wives, children and parents, cousins, neighbours etc), as well as creating links between different groups of records that document the life of one individual (e.g. CEDT applications and case files, alien registrations, naturalisation files, birth death and marriage records, census listings, cemetery records etc).

We’ve got some ideas for how the initial tool might work, who we’d like to participate (both as our crowdsourcing community and as institutional partners), and other records that we could, in the long-term, be working with too.

So, I’m thinking that a THATcamp conversation about this might go either of two ways. We could brainstorm ideas for the tool itself, thinking about all the nifty things that it could possibly do. Or we could talk about the idea of building a community around the project – how do we create something that people will want to contribute to and how do we reward them for their efforts?

Exploring Semantic Technologies in the Humanties

By techxplorer, August 16th, 2010 § 7

I’d like to propose a session that explores the potential use of semantic web technologies, such as the Resource Description Framework RDF, in supporting research and other projects in the humanities. Some initial questions to start the discussion include:

  • What are these types of technologies used for?
  • What kinds of activities in the humanities do they support?
  • What are the kinds of problems that we’ve used these technologies to solve?
  • What kinds of issues have been explored in using these types of technologies?
  • Sharing thoughts on success stories, war stories and other experiences with these types of technologies.

To give my proposal some context:

I’m a software engineer currently working on the NeAT funded Aus-e-Stage project. This project is focused on developing three new services that expand on the existing services offered by the AusStage system. My current focus is on the construction of datasets that represent the artistic networks comprised in the AusStage dataset as part of the larger development effort on the Navigating Networks Service. The Navigating Networks Service, one of the three new services under development as part of the Aus-e-Stage project, uses an RDF based datastore to:

  • More efficiently store, represent, and query the 1.6 million unique collaborations between contributors in the database
  • Provide a bridge to other data formats required for graph visualisation such as GraphML
  • Explore the uses of RDF and semantic web technologies in preparation for a larger project to produce an RDF based version of the entire AusStage dataset

An opportunity for thought provoking discussion would be most welcome.

Better privacy

By jod999, August 13th, 2010 Comments Off

Jonathan O’Donnell – I’m interested in a general discussion about how to create a simple framework that will allow businesses to show, and customers to understand, what will happen to personal information entered onto a Web site.

Privacy is an issue that Web users consistently say that are very concerned about. However, most Web sites do not handle privacy well. Their privacy statements indicate that they do not understand what legislation applies, what their responsibilities are or what risks they are exposing themselves to. For most Web sites, privacy seems too complicated for the resources they have available.

Eight years ago, copyright was also seen as being too complicated and too hard for most businesses to cope with. In the last eight years, Creative Commons has simplified copyright enormously. By creating a simple framework for copyright, Creative Commons has made it possible to for organisations and individuals to understand and use copyright correctly.

I’d like to work through some of the basic ideas behind creating a simple framework for privacy. Ideally, I’d like it to allow Web developers to apply a range of simple privacy ‘buttons’ to their Web sites. Simple graphics that make it clear to users what will happen to the information that they enter into the site. They will be backed up by plain language statements that make it clear what each graphic means, and by legal code that sets out the rights and responsibilities of the organisation and of Web site users.

Would anyone else be interested in that?

A digital museum space for kids

By Cath, August 13th, 2010 § 6

The National Museum’s kSpace is almost 10 years old, and we have a new director who’s keen to take the Museum into the future. It’s surely only a matter of time before we are invited to reimagine this techno space for kids. THATCampers, I would love for us to devise a killer plan for a new kSpace.

I have emanated a few hazy ideas to that end…

Rather than proposing a space dedicated to any single activity, it makes good sense to design a platform that could host an evolving range of activities.

How about an alternate reality game that involves venturing out to the otherwise strange and somewhat isolated Garden of Australian Dreams, which is just outside the door to this space, and then draws people back in for the resolution?

Or a networked, sensate grid that could transform a group of, say, 121 people into a cellular automaton?

Some parameters we might like to bear in mind – to raise some issues, not to reduce the field of possibility:

  • works for groups of between 15 and 120 people
  • engages school-aged kids at every level
  • relates to Australian culture / history / environment
  • involves a challenge of some kind – not entirely shallow
  • is non-prescriptive – so the experience is engaging and variable for repeat visitors
  • can be enjoyed in as little as 12 minutes

Educators, designers of all kinds (interaction, experience, game, built environment, digital), historians, and anyone else – are you interested? Please use the comment box to express!

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