In this post, I’m going to point to some of the tools that I know from digital humanities and the like. They are mostly used in the cultural sphere, but that is not to say that they aren’t useful for exposing and manipulating other sorts of data. I’ll also try and provide some examples of the way data has been used for some simple and not so simple projects. GovHack is all about getting something up and running in 24 hours so, like a thesis, the parameters of time, space and subject need to be clearly defined. However, also like a thesis, the project should show some potential for further work, research and avenues for publication.
I’ve already provided a link to the TROVE API, and to some of the blogs that discuss using it. The API has been acknowledged as a source of inspiration for the Europeana and Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) APIs, too ( a good way of incorporating some international data) : http://help.nla.gov.au/trove/building-with-trove/api; http://labs.europeana.eu/api; https://dp.la/info/developers/codex/. Library cataloguing data, including Australian libraries, can be found on WorldCat – https://www.worldcat.org/affiliate/tools?atype=wcapi, while archival and manuscript collections can be found via ArchivesGrid – http://beta.worldcat.org/ArchiveGrid.
Libraries and some archives use a format called MARC (MAchine Readable Catalogue) to describe resources. It’s a standard developed by the Library of Congress, and about half way down their MARC documentation page, you’ll find a list of crosswalks and mappings to other formats including Dublin Core (developed by OCLC, the people who run WorldCat) and geospatial data – http://www.loc.gov/marc/marcdocz.html
Other archives use Encoded Archival Description (EAD) and Encoded Archival Context (EAC) to create and share descriptions. Developed independently, the Library of Congress also maintains documentation to support these standards, and again has some crosswalks – http://www.loc.gov/ead/ag/agappb.html. EAC is used by the SNAC Project and the eScholarship Research Centre at University of Melbourne (which is a data provider for ANDS) to create connections between organisations and individuals – http://socialarchive.iath.virginia.edu/; http://www.esrc.unimelb.edu.au/about-us/informatics-lab/
Beyond the world of library and archives description (and you just wanted some simple headers to capture data, right?), there is Zotero, an open source citation software developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Centre for History and New Media (CHNM) – https://www.zotero.org/ . Zotero comes with some nice tools, including a simple timeline, and is also something I’d like to play with to open up referencing from archival sources. The CHNM spends a lot of time creating neat tools for historians and cultural curation so they also have Omeka, an online exhibition tool, and Scripto for transcription purposes – http://chnm.gmu.edu/research-and-tools/.
You can also use the open source project Blacklight (including Spotlight) to play with library described data – http://projectblacklight.org/; http://www.rubydoc.info/gems/blacklight-spotlight/0.19.1. (Turns out Blacklight, Spotlight and other delights are the work of Stanford University Libraries – https://library.stanford.edu/blogs/topic/blacklight).
The ever fabulous and creative Tim Sherratt has a whole host of tools, and examples of how to use them, on his wraggelabs site. The focus is on TROVE and the National Archives of Australia – http://wraggelabs.com/emporium/: e.g. http://troveconsole.herokuapp.com/ and http://faceapi.herokuapp.com/
Finally, I’d like to point to some interesting uses of cultural data, both as part of govHack and more generally.
Not open source, but fun, there’s HistoryPin and NowandThen https://www.historypin.org/en/ and http://nowandthen.net.au/Main_Page. Pixstory, from the 2013 Govhack, explored some of these ideas – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUDxyrOhVQs
As part of the WW1 centenary project, the RSL teamed up with a local TAFE to create a virtual ‘Digger’ app – http://rslwahq.org.au/News/Well-done-Tom.aspx
Last year, at least two projects used cultural data for govhack – http://2015.hackerspace.govhack.org/content/citizen-culture-heritage-lest-we-forget
And, there are all those geospatial projects, e.g. https://www.gaiaresources.com.au/sro-archive-maps/