We all know that the Trove newspaper database is a rich resource for historical research, but how can we make best use of it for this project? A quick search on ‘Mosman’ for the years 1914-1918 returns more than 20,000 articles — clearly we need a more strategic approach!
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years looking at ways of analysing large quantities of newspaper articles from Trove. You can play with some of the possibilities yourself, by entering search terms into QueryPic. But while some ‘big picture’ analysis might be useful down the track, I suspect we’re going to have to rely mostly on human brainpower.
What types of searches are likely to be useful? Obviously we can start with names of people and organisations that we already know. We could also search for additional names by combining keywords like ‘Mosman’ and ‘casualty’. What about the broader war effort? A search combining ‘Mosman’ and ‘recruiting’ returns a lot of interesting information about local war-related events.
There are many possibilities and I’m hoping that someone at the Build-a-thon might be interested in exploring them to help us develop some useful strategies. As well as outlining a search plan, it’s also important for us to have a picture of the types of articles available and the sorts of information they contain. Reports of events, for example, will include dates and places — structured information that we might be able to use in developing rich contexts and snazzy visualisations.
To enable us to start building this picture, I suggest we use Trove’s tagging features. As a start we can use:
Just click on the ‘Add tag’ link in Trove and type in one of these tags — make sure to keep them ‘public’. Once they’re tagged we can easily retrieve them for further analysis.
What do you think? What other tags might be useful? How might we use the articles once we’ve identified them? Come along to the Build-a-thon to discuss this all further!