Delving Deeper into Trove

In my spare time over the last few weeks, I have been experimenting with the tools developed by Tim Sherratt to extract data from Australian digitised newspapers available through Trove. In a previous post I discussed how we can produce graphs showing the frequency of the use of particular words in Australian newspapers over time using Sherratt’s tools.  In this post I will look at other methods of text analysis and explain how I used Sherratt’s tools to extract a large number of articles from the Trove database and used a text analysis tool to further analyse the articles. This post is about possibilities, not conclusions.  It is a work-in-progress, so I am keen to hear your suggestions and experiences. Continue reading

Know Your Database

First published on my other blog 17/4/2011

Over the last week I finally got a chance to try out the tools that Wragge (aka Tim Sherratt) has devised to mine digitised historic Australian newspapers accessed through Trove. This post is about the results of applying his tools.  If you want to do this yourself check out Wragge’s posts, Mining the Treasures of Trove (Part 1) and (Part 2). Firstly let’s look at Wragge’s graph of a topic that I have been writing about this year – floods.

Graph of the occurrence of the word "flood" in Australian newspapers, from the early 19th century to the late 1950s

Wragge has produced the graph above  showing the occurrence of the word “floods” in Australian newspapers digitised and accessible on the Trove website.  As we would expect the word is mentioned more in years when there was severe flooding such as 1893. Continue reading

Backup, Backup, Backup!

First published on my other blog 20/12/2010.
external hard disc drive surrounded by clouds

Essential backup devices: external hard disc and the Cloud,

Computer backup is vital.  This was brought home to me when we suffered the Great Perkins Computer Glitch of 2010.  Every computer directory that contained my work for the last year disappeared, including all my research for my thesis.  Yes, it vanished!  I was having trouble opening a directory; we left it to watch a movie and when we came back we could not see or access a single file.  Fortunately my other half, Hubble, had set up not one, but two backup systems.  Now we were to find out how good our backup systems really were…. Continue reading

Digital History

First published on my other blog 19/11/2010
Person looking at Trove Australian Newspapers online on laptop

Digitisation of Australian Newspapers

During this year I have become increasingly interested in how technology and new media can assist historical research.  As I said in my acknowledgements for my thesis, I owe a great debt to the digitisation of Australian newspapers currently being conducted by the National Library of Australia (NLA).  While I was researching the NLA was digitising The Brisbane Courier, an important source for my thesis. Each week I logged in to find more issues had been digitised for the period I was researching, 1906-1910.  None of the researchers who had explored my topic before me had this resource available to them.  Most of them did not even have the advantages of a word processor.  They were working with pen, paper, and if they were lucky, microfilm. Continue reading

Equipping Myself for a Day in the Archives

First published on my other blog 25/10/2010
Equipment I take into the archive
My archive kit.

Many people engage in historical research – family historians, local historians, authors, academic historians etc.  For all of us, the opportunities for visiting an archive can be fleeting and the cost in terms of time, travel, accommodation etc can be high.  Thorough preparation for a trip to the archives is the foundation for a fruitful day fossicking through historical records. Continue reading