A dose of @TroveAustralia love

Have you used Trove? The idea is simple. Digitize Australia’s newspapers, layer OCR and allow searching, tagging and correcting. It is genius really. You can’t imagine what I can find there that I would never have found in the bad old days of mircofilm. In fact I once had a job with a scope of ‘read all Sydney Morning Heralds from the beginning to 1970 and look for anything about Manly’. I was seasick for weeks (although learnt a lot about how newspapers have changed over the decades).

Trove allows you to search newspapers, books, journals, archival holdings in libraries, The Woman’s Weekly, pictures and photos, maps and music and sound. I found out that letters my ancestors wrote to each other in the 1830s are held at SLVIC thanks to Trove.

If I sound like I’m gushing it is because I am! But, this isn’t just a random moment to get all gushy about Trove. I wanted to write specifically about Trove on Twitter (@TroveAustralia). They’ve only been on there for a short while. As I write this they’ve tweeted a tiny 167 times, they have only 200-odd followers. But they have taken to Twitter like a duck to water and are doing some very interesting things.

Today Australia lost the Ashes on home soil (*sob*); Trove tweets an article from 1930 when Bradman made 492 runs not out.

Using the internet to buy GST-free goods from overseas is also in today’s news; Trove tweets an article from 1859 which reported that the total amount of imports from the UK to all colonies was £1,058,247 just for the previous November.

They’ve started a hashtag (used to search for tweets talking about the same topic); #trovedaily to allow followers (and others) to keep track of these relevant snippets of history.

As you might imagine I love this. It is so beautifully clever and perfect. What relevance could old newspapers have for contemporary society and issues? A lot, actually. In fact, that old adage about learning from history is perhaps much more possible or likely when the approach of linking current issues to those of the past is done like this. Trove has some impressive statistics on its front page, including that it searches 115,612,330 resources in total (today). And this was really always the problem with the past; there is just so much of it! How do you learn from the past when you don’t know where to look and can’t do it easily? The big, sweeping histories we were supposed to learn from never quite did it for me. The small stories about people and moments are much more powerful.

I know other tweeting museums, libraries and archives are doing similar things (check out #collectionfishing), but I think news from old newspapers about issues that are in today’s newspapers has a resonance that is hard to match.

I hope Trove is archiving their tweets (I’m sure they are) because I’m also completely geeking out on the idea that in the future we can follow not only what happened today but how we used history to make sense of it.

Message of the day: FOLLOW TROVE!

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by theresa o'halloran, Andrew Wrathall, Jen, geniaus and others. geniaus said: Looking at http://is.gd/kgJLh A dose of @TroveAustralia love How about following one of our best #genealogy resources on Twitter […]



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