Dr Cate O'Neill is the national editor and research coordinator of the Find & Connect web resource (www.findandconnect.gov.au), a public knowledge space for people who were in institutional 'care' in Australia as children. Cate has been working on developing public knowledge spaces relating to the history of out-of-home 'care' since 2009. This topic involves some big issues like access to records, human rights and justice, and how to document a widely distributed and complex collection of records.
A historian with a love of archives, Cate has worked with the eScholarship Research Centre at the University of Melbourne since 2001 on a number of digital history projects utilising the OHRM and HDMS software.
|Interest in LODLAM||
I want to learn much more about LODLAM, I want to collaborate with other people working in digital humanities, I want to contribute as a person whose expertise is in content rather than form, I want to advocate for the information needs of users who are not necessarily tech-savvy or well-educated.
|Linked Open Data Projects||
The Find & Connect web resource project has an interdisciplinary team of archivists, historians and social workers based at the eScholarship Research Centre at the University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University. It uses the Online Heritage Resource Manager (OHRM) system (http://www.esrc.unimelb.edu.au/ohrm/index.html) to map the complex network of organisations, laws, policies, people and events that make up the child welfare system in Australia.
Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants are a very interesting primary audience for our web resource. Typically, people who grew up in institutional 'care' have lower levels of literacy, poor access to computers and often suffer from psychological and physical disabilities. For this reason, the project has prioritised useability testing of the website with our users, as well as ensuring that the website design conforms to WCAG 2.0 principles.
The OHRM is a system under continuous development and the Find & Connect project is creating many opportunities to explore and challenge the boundaries of the OHRM. The OHRM was designed to be a single tool which can be used in multiple contexts for multiple purposes. The OHRM is reusable and can be deployed rapidly – for example, we were able to launch the Find & Connect web resource only months into the project. It is a 'living resource', constantly being updated with new data developed by our historians, as well as responding to feedback from the public.
At the time of writing, the databases behind the web resource contain 9500 or more entities and resources. As the database for each Australian state and territory is populated by our team of historians, we have been creating visualisations of the data, and exploring how these can help us come to new understandings and discoveries.
At the ESRC, we are looking at how we can support linked open data and other standards-based interoperability initiatives using the OHRM, to make our datasets available as linked open data to the LODLAM community. Other ESRC projects utilising the OHRM, such as the Australian Women's Register (http://www.womenaustralia.info/) and the Encyclopedia of Australian Science (http://www.eoas.info/) have OAI-PMH repositories, from which data is regularly harvested by Trove (http://www.trove.nla.gov.au/), the National Library of Australia’s national discovery service. The Women's Register and the Encyclopedia are also test cases for the HuNI project (http://huni.net.au/), which is a national, funded Linked Open Data initiative funded by NeCTAR. The University of Melbourne (and the ESRC) is one of the partner organisations in the HuNI community, based in large part on our OHRM datasets.
Find & Connect is a project where much of the content development is done by historians, many of whom are working with databases for the first time. So that we are able to use EAC and other schema to make our data available to other systems, the Find & Connect project has involved educating and training the content development team in a 'genre' of writing and structuring information based on various standards, theories of cultural informatics and the science of networks.