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Expert Q&A :: National Library of Australia’s Trove team answer your questions

Comment: Tracie: Discovered a death notice on Trove today of my apparent 2xgreat grandmother and I added the new info to my Ancestry page and found a matching tree and have just got off the phone with the owner and found out some wonderful information about my great grandfather and his parents and his history! I’m over the moon!!!!
A. IHM: Happy dance!!
A. Tim: That’s wonderful Tracie! We love to hear about people’s discoveries and where they take them.

Q. From Rochell: I love Trove, what about old local papers like from Windsor, Richmond etc?
A. Tim: Rochell, there are some newspapers from that region either currently in Trove or in process. There’s a full list of titles available here: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/titles

Q. From Ros: So is the OCR being done from originals or the microfilm copies? An aside, one best thing about Trove is not have to fight with microfilm readers …
A. Mark: Mostly the scanning & OCR is being completed from the microfilm copies. Originals are not normally used as the costs associated go up significantly (more than double), although they have been used on occasion.

Q. From Sharon: I have suggested several papers for including and regularly check the list of upcoming papers. Do you have a process for deciding the papers that will be completed next?
A. Mark: Hi Sharon – the process for selecting which newspapers will be digitised is actually completed about this time each year. The Trove team isn’t actually involved in this process, it is completed by the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program team. Some information about the process can be found on their website at http://www.nla.gov.au/content/newspaper-digitisation-program. The process usually involves negotiation with the State and Territory libraries to decide which newspaper titles are the most important for them to see digitised – with the suggestions provided by the general public supplied to the relevant state libraries. This is for titles funded by the NLA. If a title is being funded by a third party e.g. the State Library of New South Wales is funding a large number of titles as part of a special project, then these are added to the schedule where appropriate, with any limits to the funding taken into account in scheduling
A. Sharon: Thank you Mark.

Comment: Carmel: I have used Trove when putting together our genies mag as well as my own research, it really brings people back to life. I would not be the most used on line resource on the net in Australia at the moment. Love it.
A. Sharon: I totally agree Carmel. We are so lucky to have such a great resource and even luckier that it is free 🙂
A. Tim: Thanks Carmel! I know what you mean — there’s nothing quite like finding a newspaper article from the time to transport you back into history.
A. Carmel: Our Society has also raised funds to have papers digitised and available on Trove. New ones about to appear for Ballarat.
A. IHM: Is that The Ballarat & District Genealogical Society Inc – what papers are they Carmel?
A. Carmel: These are more of the Ballarat Star, about another 6 years I believe.
A. Carmel: oh and yes Ballarat and District Genealogical Society Inc
A. Carmel: also many of these stories would not be found if not for Trove as who really has enough time available to find stories that are not necessarily related to a known event, (deaths etc) although I found my own birth a few weeks back, that is scary!

Q. From Leane: Do you allow people to share copies of articles etc they find on places like Ancestry, or only the info?
A. Tim: Leane — please share! The newspapers on Trove are out of copyright so you can share them freely. But it would be great if you could also include a link back to the page on Trove. Click on the ‘Cite’ button for a permanent url.

Q. From Ros: So the all important question – where can we members of the Trovalition buy a T Shirt ?
A. Linda: Like it – a Trovalition of Textaholics in T Shirts (promise I am stone cold sober)
A. IHM: Trovalition, we like! Mark tells me that you can’t buy the t-shirts anymore Ros, so you’ll have to complete the survey and cross your fingers 🙂
A. Ros: I did do the survey can’t you see my halo? Hmm seems the Trovalition should press for a new run of the T Shirts or would a pretty pretty please work ?
A. Linda: Just thinking aloud… wonder what would happen if the Trovalition threatened industrial action? No more corrections until T shirts were available….. Trouble is, the time they would spend on getting that organised would be taken away from getting more newspapers up… Does the National Library have a gift shop, perchance, that we could lobby???? Actually, have not been there for a few years, but I seem to remember they have. Now, where is a Facebook page…..
A. Ros: Trove coffee mugs? Is there one?

Comment: Michelle: I was involved in the original discussions about the Newspaper digitisation project between the NLA and SLNSW over a decade agi and I never inagined it would be as truly amazing as it is. 
A. Mark: Nice to hear you’ve found it such an amazing resource – I’m pretty amazed myself at how much the newspapers zone has grown since I worked on the newspapers project in 2007.

Comment: Dulcie: Thanks to Trove I’ve been able to find the year my first non-Fijian ancestor arrived in Fiji from Australia – 1808! I mostly search Trove for articles relating to Fiji in the 1800s and use it to confirm dates, names of trading ships in and out of Fiji etc. Just last week I found an article about my Spanish ancestor who was arrested in 1882 in Fiji. I think the article referred to him as ‘Spanish Frank’… how many Spanish Franks could there be in Fiji? So I went downstairs to check the Fiji Times newspaper on microfilm… It’s handy when the library you work in holds the newspaper, I found half a page of the court case! Thanks Trove!
A. Mark: Glad to hear that you were able to find such valuable information!

Q. From IHM: These guys are good! Even with Trove down they’ve answered your questions! Tim Sherratt, Mark Raadgever – what do you have in the pipeline that we should be excited about?
A. Mark:  Inside History Magazine Well, one thing that is in the pipeline that I personally am excited about is the redevelopment of the newspapers zone. I’ve posted a bit of information about this project in the Trove forums – http://trove.nla.gov.au/forum/showthread.php?1388-Trove-newspapers-redevelopment-Discussion-thread (this is the thread you can reply to). In summary, however, the infrastructure and interface of the newspapers zone has not changed significantly since the Australian Newspapers Beta service was released in 2008, so it is starting to get a bit dated. Because of this, we are completely rebuilding the newspapers zone, interface and all, to improve the reliability and speed of the zone. Please be aware that we have a massive list of tasks already associated with this project, so although we do have a lot of requests for enhancements to the interface, there are only so many that will be possible, and the majority of the work is on the back-end systems that we do not see.
A. Tim: Well it’s worth remembering that Trove is about more than just newspapers. As a one-time historian of Australian science I’m pretty excited about some of the work Mark has been doing with CSIRO, bringing in articles from a number of their scientific journals.
A. Mark: One of the big things that this will include, however, is improvements to how the newspapers zone works on mobile devices.

Q. From Steve: When will The Sydney Sun be in Trove and all the Sydney Heralds through the 60s, 70s, 80s?
A. Mark: Hi Steve – Can’t give any definite information, newspapers published before 1954 are digitised on the understanding that they are out of copyright, and permission is not required, so for the Sydney Heralds post 1955 they’ll only appear in Trove if something can be negotiated to make them available. Not sure on the date range for the Sydney Sun, but please suggest it at http://librariesaustraliaref.nla.gov.au/reft100.aspx?key=TrNDP so that it can be recorded and suggested

Comment: Tim: If you’d like to help us make Trove even better, please take our survey — you can even win a cool Trove t-shirt like the one in my photo! For details go to: http://trove.nla.gov.au/forum/showthread.php?1446-Trove-Evaluation-Survey-Your-chance-to-help-us-improve-Trove!
A. Carmel: Already done.
A. Tim: Thanks Carmel!
A. Jane: Done – now fingers crossed for a T-shirt!! Can wear it while I do my correcting 😉

Comment: IHM: Please join me in thanking Tim Sherratt and Mark Raadgever, for all their help tonight and just generally for Trove! We’ll publish the transcript on our blog next week!
A. Linda: Thank you Tim and Mark – much appreciated!
A. Leane: Thankyou both
A. Sharon: Thanks Tim and Mark
A. Tim: Thanks all for your questions and your contributions to the Trove community. Trove-ists? Trove-ites?
A. Mark: Thanks for all your questions.
A. Brigid: Thanks Tim and Mark! Look forward to future developments!
A. Ros: Thanks Tim and Mark!!

Q. From Gail: Oh rats, missed it… I wanted to know why it’s been over 70 days for an article to be posted when told 1-28 days.
A. Mark:  Hi Gail (ok, I probably shouldn’t be answering this now, but anyway), this is probably due to the batch (a set of issues of a specific title covering a limited date range) containing the article failing the final quality check – if it’s been 70 days then possibly more than once – please contact us using the form at http://trove.nla.gov.au/contact with some more details (specifically the title of the newspaper and the date) so we can investigate.
A. Gail: Thank you Mark Raadgever 🙂

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