Posts and reposts

It’s been really exciting to see interest in Invisible Australians developing over the last few months. As well as a steady stream of encouraging tweets, there have been a number of mentions in the blogosphere. I thought I’d bring a few of them together.

In his post A walk with love and data, Peter Binkley describes The real face of White Australia. What’s particularly pleasing is that Peter detects a ‘sense of responsibility’ motivating our work. It’s important to us to think carefully about how we use and represent the data — the people. It’s something Kate touched on in her post about the faces experiment, and it was one of the themes in a talk I gave about the project last year.

The Archival Platform is a initiative explicitly concerned with the social and political dimensions of archives, so we were excited when they asked permission to reblog my post about building the faces browser.

More recently, my talk at the National Digital Forum attracted a lot of attention. Our wall of faces even made it onto the front page of Digital Humanities Now.

Barbara Fister posted a very thoughtful and moving response on the Library Babel Fish blog at Inside Higher Ed. Both in the article and the comments, Barbara finds inspiration in what we’re trying to do with Invisible Australians:

But then you get these dreamers who decide to do something entirely awesome because it needs doing and nobody else is doing it. They are bringing information to light and sharing it, not because they have to or because it will get them something. This project is about people who are totally outside the academic sphere, who cannot reward the researchers. It’s both extraordinary historical scholarship and brilliantly outward-looking.

Wow. Of course, I don’t think we’re alone in this and I gave a few examples of projects I admire in my talk. But at those times when we’re both feeling exhausted and finding it hard to pay the bills, it’s encouraging to know that there are people out there who think the project is worthwhile and that we’re not entirely crazy.

Thanks folks!

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