Archive for 2010

Gallipoli Twitter

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

For the past few months I’ve been following a blog set up by the Australian War Memorial where they are recreating the diary of Herbert Vincent Reynolds by posting the entires from his diary on the days they were written. Herbert Vincent Reynolds enlisted in the First World War with the 4th Field Ambulance and went on to serve at Gallipoli.

One thing I’ve noticed about reading the blog posts is how similar they are to Twitter posts. Many of the entries are very short and the manner in which they are written is typical of what you would find in a tweet. I went back through the diary entries to analyse their content and measure the number of characters in each entry. The average number of characters per diary entry between 2nd Feb 1915 and 21st April 1915 was 342 characters. The longest diary entry so far has been 4066 characters long, but many of the entries are less than 250 characters, and really are just short snippets of information about the events of the day. They aren’t beautifully written entries.

Reading through the diary I’m convinced that if Herbert Vincent Reynolds had access to Twitter back in 1915, he would have used it to post his diary entries. The similarities in the writing styles and structure in the methods of communication nearly a hundred years apart is uncanny. It’s also interesting to note that the Australian War Memorial is using their Twitter feed to promote the diaries.

Everything I know about cataloguing I learned from watching James Bond

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

At VALA2010 I did a presentation titled ‘Everything I know about cataloguing I learned from watching James Bond’. What I was trying to explore was the notion of how searching for objects is changing. We are now so used to full text search for books, journals and newspapers that the traditional forms of metadata, such at title, author and date have become secondary research items.

For other collection formats like images or audio recordings, this traditional metadata is still the main method of discovering items. What I wanted to look at was the concept of a full text search for images. To do this I carried out some experiments in facial recognition and colour analysis over the photographic collection of the National Library of Australia.

Here are the slides of my presentation and a link to the search by colour application I developed as part of my research.