CBR Heritage Data Team

Team Name: 
CBR Heritage Data Team

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TOWN OR CALL YOUR ANCESTOR

Our project focused on using a range of data to tell a story about a place at a particular time in history. We are using a range of records and analytic tools to create a more vivid portrait of the past. 

We have created a proof of concept to be used by family researchers and historians to get a richer sense of the public sentiment at a place at a particular time, as well as providing an insight into what other factors, such as the weather, may have been at play.  We used newspaper data from Trove, rainfall and temperature data from the Bureau of Meteorology, and data from the Commonwealth Hansard records to build a story about a place in time

Take Hobart in 1939 as the test case.

We drew on data from a Hobart newspaper in 1939 as our place and time period of interest. We also took specific data from the 3rd and 6th of September records from Hansard, the Bureau of Meteorology and Trove.  Robert Menzies announced that Australia was at war with Germany on 3 September 1939.  We wanted to see how people were feeling in Hobart at that time. We drew on a range of tools, languages and APIs to try to make this event more tangible. Java, HTML and the Trove API were used to extract newspaper data. Then analytic and visualisation tools were used (like Voyant, IBM Bluemix Watson Personality Analyzer and Tone Analyzer, Google Charts) to create new insights and 'portraits'. Our proof of concept is shown in the video and Git hub webpage mock up. 

Two portrait possibilities

Once the visualisations have been produced they can be collected into a set of screens which show either a town portrait or further personalised into a 'call your ancestor conversation - the data call'. The video shows the personalised version (data call to John Doe ancestor). The mock up webpage shows the basic proof of concept focused on the town portrait. 

 

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Used Datasets: 
Dataset Name: 
TROVE NEWSPAPER ARTICLES
Publishing Organisation/Agency: 
NATIONAL LIBRARY OF AUSTRALIA
Jurisdiction of Data: 
Australian Government
How did you use this data in your entry?: 
We harvested the Hobart Mercury newspapers over one year (1939). We used the Trove API to do this with additional coding to improve harvesting. We now used the harvested text data to create various visualisations of this text data to show sentiment, topics discussed and tone of the newspaper article authors.
Dataset Name: 
HANSARD - AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT - PARLIAMENTARY
Publishing Organisation/Agency: 
AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT
Jurisdiction of Data: 
Australian Government
How did you use this data in your entry?: 
We harvested one report - the Parliamentary Debate held on 6 September 1939 - House of Representatives. This text was entered into the Voyant text visualisation tool and Watson tone and personality insights tool. We then compared the sentiment visualisations between the Hobart (1939) newspapers and the Parliamentary Debate (on 6 September 1939) from which insights can be drawn. It was noted that the newspapers showed fear and anger and some analytic character. The Parliamentary Debate showed a higher registration of anger sentiment with a greater analytic character. Personality portraits were also mocked up to show conceptually what you could show to give an insight description of major politicians, community leaders or ancestors if the family historian had a letter in their own records.
Dataset Name: 
Bureau of Meterology
Publishing Organisation/Agency: 
Australian Government
Jurisdiction of Data: 
Australian Government
How did you use this data in your entry?: 
Rainfall and temperature data was retrieved for the relevant day - i.e. 3 September 1939. This data was presented to give a more tangible connection to the environmental living conditions of the day - i.e. experienced by the ancestor. This data was visualised in dial gauge.
Event Location: 
Canberra Heritage Hack