Building Trove Together

Q&A with our Trove Redesign Community of Practice

Great things happen when people come together, so during our upgrade of Trove we looked to our community for advice. This became the Trove Redesign Community of Practice - a diverse team representing Trove Partners and patrons. The Community of Practice includes includes genealogists, historians, academics, librarians, communications professional, our amazing text correctors and more.  

Below is a recent chat with Community of Practice member - Dr. Ely Wallis - the Collections Community Engagement Manager for the Atlas of Living Australia, CSIRO and previous Manager of Online Collections at Museums Victoria.

Tell us about activities you've been involved with as part of the Trove Redesign Community of Practice:

I have attended teleconferences and face-to-face meetings of the Community of Practice, held at the National Library of Australia. During these meetings, the Redesign team presented their plans, gave progress reports and involved the Community of Practice in activities. During the ‘doing’ part of each meeting the Community of Practice were given tasks to do that provided the team with a greater diversity of ideas about a particular problem they needed to solve, relating to how to group information, design issues and branding.

Have you picked up insider knowledge as part of the Community of Practice, or learned something new about Trove?

I was very impressed with how well run and methodical the Trove Redesign project was. I think the Community of Practice brought together a great group of people, all of whom came with interesting insights into Trove. Of course, the most impressive of the whole group are the super newspaper text correctors, whose dedication to making newspaper content more searchable and usable is utterly remarkable.

Why does your organisation share collections with Trove?

Museums Victoria shares its collections with Trove because Trove is a ‘destination’ site. What I mean is that when people have a question they will open Trove to try to answer it. If a museum record shown on Trove provides an answer then they will click through to the museum’s site. We know this from looking at Museum Victoria’s collections website statistics where Trove is consistently the top referring site (other than search engines) – that is, Trove is the place people are just immediately before coming to the museum’s website. Trove is indispensable in making Museums Victoria’s collections more findable.

The Atlas of Living Australia links to Trove in a somewhat different, but still valuable way. The ALA is primarily a science site. Sometimes, however, people visiting the ALA want to know more than we can provide. The Literature tab provides a way to send a species name query through to Trove, thus opening up a potential world of other information about the species of interest.

What would you show to someone who was visiting Trove for the first time?

I’d probably show them the Images, Maps and Artefacts category because it’s easy to get lost in there, finding amazing images from all around the place. The second thing I’d show them is how to do text corrections in digitised newspapers. I’d show them that second because of the real chance that they’ll never stop once they find that. My personal favourite thing to do? Correct the clues of crossword puzzles!

What do you love most about Trove?

I love that it provides free and open access to a vast amount of content, not just from the National Library of Australia but from collecting and other institutions all around Australia. I also love that it’s grown into a place where people can find kindred spirits – communities of like-minded people who didn’t even know that anyone else shared their passion. I love that people feel passionate about keeping Trove and see it as a national resource that must be protected. So that’s a few things I love about Trove – but the thing I love most is that the team who run Trove are friendly, helpful, resourceful and are always willing to help.

Dr Ely Wallis is the Collections Community Engagement Manager for the Atlas of Living Australia, CSIRO. Prior to taking up that role in 2017, Dr Wallis worked at Museums Victoria where she was the Manager of Online Collections. In that role, she published the museum’s collections information to websites, apps and in gallery multimedia. Collections information was also sent to aggregators, such as Trove and the Atlas of Living Australia. Dr Wallis has also had a long involvement with the Biodiversity Heritage Library project in Australia.