Ian Maclean Award 2007
Topic: How research into Tasmanian convict records can be reintegrated into archival management systems at the Tasmanian State Archives
Gavan McCarthy presented his findings at a public lecture at the National Archives in Canberra.
Gavan McCarthy is Director of the eScholarship Research Centre at the University of Melbourne. He was formerly director of the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre (Austehc) and is recognised as a world leader in the development of online archival systems.
Gavan McCarthy's project examined how research into Tasmanian convict records can be reintegrated into archival management systems at the Tasmanian State Archives.
Historical research usually involves extracting information from archives. Often the research process adds contextual knowledge or detail to the raw archival data, but this knowledge is rarely fed back into the systems that describe and manage the archives. This project looked at how researchers and archives might work together to ensure that this knowledge is preserved in a useful and sustainable way.
Gavan McCarthy is a chief investigator in an ARC-funded project which aims to publish online the records of 75,000 men, women and children transported to Australia in the first half of the 19th century. The records will be digitised, and their contents transcribed into a machine-readable format. This will allow the development of a range of complex and interconnected databases.
The Ian Maclean Award enabled Gavan to consider how the data contained within these transcriptions might be used by the State Archives to enrich their own systems.