hacking heritage

exploring the limits of access

Tim Sherratt・@wraggetimsherratt.org

A hack can be elegant or kludgy, authored from scratch or patched together and remixed—the important thing is getting things done, pushing the boundaries of what the humanities can do, what effects it can have in the world, and where.

Mark J Olson, 'Hacking the humanities: Twenty-first-Century literacies and the ‘becoming other’ of the humanities'

access is constructed

  • what's available?

  • is it in the form I need?

  • do I have the technical skills?

  • what does it really mean?


what's available?

I don't know where to start...

an alternative interface

some random hacks


lists can be useful too!

but what's inside?

is it in the form I need?

downloads are cool but...

spoken in Parliament

download XML in bulk

one page per day

3,471 Bulletin editorial cartoons

Previously this kind of research would have taken months but now thanks to Tim’s shortcut can be done in a matter of days.

— Guy Hansen, National Library of Australia

scraping data from the NAA

do I have the technical skills?

APIs are cool, but...

with the Trove API you can...

visualise newspaper searches

get your newspaper articles in bulk

collected tools, examples & hacks

what does it really mean?

seeing differently....



the WWI effect

the Hansard black hole


number of items described in NAA by top-level function

number of items digitised in NAA by top-level function

access is constructed

  • how does access change?
  • what can I see differently?
  • what is possible that wasn't before?
  • where can I go next?


Hacking Heritage

By Tim Sherratt

Hacking Heritage

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