Over the years, we’ve asked hundreds of historians, family historians, genealogists and Inside History readers around the country to name their favourite Australian resource for researching the past. Virtually everyone we asked came back with the same response: Trove.
Few historical sources make for such insightful (and, often, downright entertaining) reading as the site’s historic digitised newspapers: a window into the past, accessible from our own living room. Several self-confessed Trove addicts from the Inside History community credit this resource with breaking down brick walls in their Australian family history and open up new avenues for research.
Best of all, Trove is a free history database, and a user-friendly platform so easy to search that it is regarded a source of inspiration among international cultural institutions. For those living beyond the capital cities in particular, its ease of access is a blessing. The widespread geographical coverage of content on Trove makes it an arguably unparalleled treasure for local and national histories alike.
Sadly, this beloved and widely-used resource is facing some challenges. One of the anticipated impacts of budget cuts to the National Library of Australia is a decrease in the amount of aggregated content from museums and libraries digitised on Trove.
Digital historian Tim Sherratt, the former manager of Trove, discussed what this may mean in a blog post on his site.
“Trove, used by more than 70,000 people a day, has previously avoided cutbacks,” wrote Sherratt. “But no longer. Fewer collections will be added, less digitised content will appear – not quite a content freeze, but certainly a slowdown.”
Unfortunately for us history lovers, the recent federal budget did nothing to assuage these concerns.
To help take action and call for funding to be restored to this precious resource, follow FundTrove on Facebook for updates.
Sign a petition opposing these cuts here.