Pictrospective

Team Name: 
Culture Vultures

Pictrospective: A visual timeline to showcase Australia's photo archives.

We LOVE old pictures and Trove is full of them!  But they're not too easy to navigate – you can't get an overview of all the stuff that actually exists there at once. So, we decided to solve this problem by building an interface for desktop and mobile that allows viewers to search for a keyword and serves a selection of images representative of all the historical periods covered by the archive for that particular topic.

We're doing this by retrieving results from the database, organizing them by date and then dividing the period into chunks, usually decades, each represented by 1 picture. From this initial timeline of grouped photos it is possible then to dig in further by calling up more pics for each of these chunks.

For example, a search for kittens will retrieve photos from 1920 to 1979. This period spans six decades so we divided it into six chunks, with one picture representing each chunk. You can click on any of these timespans to get more results for that decade. From this you can get a glimpse of what people's interests were during that period – such as a tendency to take pictures of kittens in baskets in the second half of the thirties.

For each picture you can click on the image to get a larger version, or, go the original archive entry. We built this using the trove archive, particularly the photo section.
We used python for the back end and javascript with jquery, html and css for the front end. Why don't you give it a go? Check out or project at this URL. Have fun!

We think this will be useful for both the public and professionals. It will be easier for journalists to find the photos they are after, quickly and efficiently. For the public, it is fascinating to see how trends have changed over time, such as searching on modes of transportation and fashion. Coming up with new ways to surface digital archives is essential to digital humanties.

Datasets Used: 
National Library of Australia - Trove

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