Sunday, February 14, 2010

VALA 2010 - Wednesday afternoon

Many of the collections in the National Library and the Australian War Memorial are now accessible to the public via the Internet .

Developing Trove, the policy and technical challenges
Trove, a discovery service for the public, links metadata from a variety of digital collections enabling items to be discovered in one search. Launched by the National Library as Prototype in 2009 and later rebranded as Trove, the site is constantly evolving.

The National Library already had a number of digital online collections including Libraries Australia, Picture Australia, Australian Newspapers, Music Australia, Pandora and the library catalogue. Trove has been designed to provide access to all these and other digital collections in one search. Most of the stand alone services will be phased out.

After conducting a search eight collection views are provided - Books, Journals, magazines, articles..., Pictures and photos, Australian Newspapers (1803-1854), Music, sound and video, Archived websites (1996-), Diaries, letters, archives..., About people and organisations.

A feature of the site is user interaction. This is especially seen in the digitised newspaper section where users can correct the OCR. Users can also merge or split records, where appropriate, in Libraries Australia. Future developments will include RSS feeds, enhanced sorting, API, journal articles, e-resources from partner vendors and texts of guides to collections.

Digital preservation: the problems and issues involved in publishing private records online: lessons learnt from the web publishing of the notebooks and diaries of C.E.W. Bean

The Australian War Memorial began digitising collections ten years ago. Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean was Australia's official war correspondent during the First World War and later wrote the official history of Australia's involvement in the war based on his diaries and the unit commanders' diaries.

The digitised war diaries of C.E.W. Bean were made available online on the Australian War Memorial website on Remembrance Day 2009. The digitisation of the notebooks and diaries commenced in 2003 and was completed in 2004. There were 286 volumes and the information in them has been made available to the public as pdfs.

Copyright of the material was a major issue as it was confusing. The Commonwealth had copyright of the material created by Bean when employed as an historian by the Commonwealth Government. The diaries however were private papers gifted to the Australian War Memorial in 1942 with the understanding that they could be made available to the public after Bean's death. Bean later changed this condition to 30 years after his death (he died in 1968). The collection was reopened 1981 and Bean's family gave permission for publication. The correspondence and ephemera among the papers created additional copyright issues. Section 200AB of the Copyright Act was used to allow publication of these items. The website provides a detailed copyright statement regarding the publication of the records.

The Australian War Memorial has also published online the Official history of Australia in the War of 1914-1918.

Also available online are the digitised copies of the First World War diaries of the unit commanders. A demonstration of this part of the site was provided during the afternoon tea break. The original index to the diaries will also be made available.

A database relating to indigenous servicemen will shortly be online. The Australian War Memorial site has a growing number of image and biographical databases and federated searching will soon be introduced for searching the material.

Later in the afternoon Stephanie Orlic from The Louvre spoke about a project entered into with a Japanese company to use technology to explore more fully items in a collection including 3D representations of items, enlargement of sections and commentary in a variety of languages. Cycle 1 of The Louvre - DNP Museum Lab ran from 2006 to 2009. Cycle 2 will commence in April.

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