150 years of Australian South Sea Islanders - a volunteer tagging project at SLQ
Trove welcomes contributions from all users in a variety of ways. You can tag items you find with keywords, create lists of related resources, make comments that could be useful to other users, participate in the user forum, contribute your digital photographs via Flickr and correct the text of digitised newspaper articles. Organising and enriching the hundreds of millions of resources already available in Trove is helpful to everyone.
An excellent example of the value of tagging and making lists is evident in a project underway at the State Library of Queensland (SLQ). On 15 August 2013, it will be 150 years since the arrival of Australian South Sea islanders transported to Queensland aboard the Don Juan. Australian South Sea Islanders are descendants of islanders who came from the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and other Pacific islands from 1863 to work as labourers in Queensland’s primary industries. To assist with the finding of information published in digitised newspapers about this period in history, two volunteers at SLQ are busy making lists, tagging and text correcting key words in newspaper articles which relate to the individuals, islands, and vessels associated with the practice of ‘blackbirding. It is hoped to have much of this work completed in time for the commemoration later in the year. Their tags and lists will help users to find related articles and things which have been grouped together systematically.
The project began towards the end of last year when one of the leaders of the South Sea Islander community approached SLQ for help with family history. SLQ decided they could help by enabling easier access to information which might otherwise be buried, which would be free, easy to access and which could possibly lead researchers deeper into their own collections.
Volunteers follow tagging guidelines including descriptions of the Islanders, identifying the island of origin, labour vessels, settlements and specific places where Islanders were employed in Queensland and the social issues surrounding Islander employment in Queensland. Much thought has gone into the actual headings used, and consideration given to the use of possibly controversial but important terms such as Kanakas. An SLQ staff member is also involved in the tagging project and other staff are contributing by finding news articles outside Trove, and by tagging resources in their own catalogue. The volunteers tag and correct when it suits them and mainly from home; after some initial library visits and discussions, communication with them is now largely by email.
SLQ is undertaking a significant series of activities to mark the 150 years including a digital story, an exhibition, symposium, a Night in the John Oxley Library, research discovery workshops, the acquisition of a collection of over 1000 images and the digitisation of resources. More information about the commemoration can be found in the SLQ Australian South Sea Islander blog.
Thanks to Barbara Brown, Eileen Dwane and Stephanie Ryan, SLQ, for information provided for this article.
Last edited by mweight [NLA]; 08-04-2013 at 07:41 AM.
Reason: misspelling of surname