Monday, September 3, 2012

Convict Research

The State Library of Queensland has compiled a convict database of more than 123, 000 of the estimated 164, 000 convicts who were transported to Australia by the British government throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The database has been compiled from British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP). The HO 11 Criminal – Convict Transportation Registers series has been indexed by the State Library of Queensland and the index contains the following information:

  • Name of convict, including any known aliases
  • Place of trial 
  • Term of years
  • Name of ship and date of departure
  • Place of arrival
  • Miscellaneous notes e.g. Died at sea; Ticket of Leave, etc.

    More information on the sources used to compile the database is available here. Other sources relevant to convict research include the Picture Australia archive and Trove (Picture Australia has now been incorporated into Trove). Some Library Hack related applications which can be used to explore these convict records include Conviz and Convictbook
    For more on Library Hacking see the site for the 2011 Libraryhack competition. See also the winners of the 2012 GovHack competition held by 
    Other events which enable this kind of "Hacking" to take place include the NSW State Records Open Data Project, work taking place at the National Archives of Australia, the Trove Application Programming Interface (API), which replaced the unofficial Trove API developed by Tim Sherritt
    It's also worth keeping an eye on the Mander Jones Award administered by the Australian Society of Archivists, which just had their annual conference in Brisbane. Next year's conference will take place in Canberra.
    The State Records Digitization project is entitled "Future Proof".
    There is also the ARC Centre for Creative Industries and Innovation at QUT, the Mapping Online Publics project, the Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI) Virtual Laboratory and courses on Digital History.
    Also keep an eye out for Grants, including the Grants and Awards Scheme of the Australian National Library.
    See also the upcoming National Digital Forum Conference in New Zealand.

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