“In this presentation, I hope to do two things. Firstly, I will talk briefly about the opportunities and challenges for scholars in the humanities wanting to exploit the analytical potential of e-research tools and techniques. At the risk of inviting comparison with Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, I will do so reflecting on my experiences in working with digital technologies since the mid-1990s.
I will then talk about two projects in which I am currently involved with colleagues in the humanities and computing sciences.
The first is Paper Miner, an experimental web-based service which employs advanced techniques in data mining and semantic analysis to map people, places, events and concepts appearing in 18.5 million digitized pages from more than 1000 Australian newspapers made freely available online by the National Library of Australia: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/
The second project is Return, Reconcile Renew, a major research initiative funded by the Australian Research Council. This project has several aims, among which is the use of visualization software and other e-research tools to assist in the repatriation of the bodily remains of Indigenous Australians from colonial era museum collections to their community of origin. As I will explain, digitally investigating the history of collecting of ancestral bodily remains and important cultural property of Australian and other Indigenous peoples can greatly enhance the kinds of provenance research that western museums now commonly find themselves obliged to undertake.
Paul Turnbull is historian and Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Tasmania, and an Honorary Professor of History at the University of Queensland. He is co-editor with Michael Pickering of The Long Way Home. The Meaning and Values of Repatriation (Berghahn 2010), and author of Museums, Science and Collecting the Indigenous Dead (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). Paul is also known internationally for his creation of research-based digital resources exploring cross-cultural relations in Australia and the Pacific.“