Trove is The National Libray of Australia’s digital collection resource, and we are very happy to say that the Cartonography collection is now available on it!
It is not all great news however, as Trove is at risk of losing significant funding in the upcoming budget, meaning that this incredible resource – which was developed out of the National Library’s regular budget, and not through special project funding – is under threat.
Trove is essentially The National Library of Australia’s entire collection, digitised, so that you don’t have to go and physically loan a document. It is all available at the tips of your fingers from your home computer.
But it is also much more than this. As Tim Sherratt, Associate Professor of Digital History at the University of Canberra explained on ABC Radio, Trove is a “collection of collections”, bringing an absolutely enormous range of collections from around Australia – be they other libraries, museums or organisations with their own archives – together and available through Trove to make them more discoverable. Trove describes itself as a ‘discovery service’, which is a perfect description; it essentially liberates documents from collections and archives all around the country.
Cartonography’s collection is uploaded on a regular basis onto an online collection database called EHive. Each record has a photograph of the carton, as well as details including the location of its farm and any other significant markings. Farmers can send in information to be included on the database with their carton. For example one farmer, Steve Moffat from Allandale Pines in the Glasshouse Mountains sent me drawings of the carton design they wanted, which was originally intended as instructions for the artist at the carton manufacturer. This is precisely the kind of item that Cartonography exists for.
There aren’t many cartons in the database that have more records than just the carton, but I am hoping that the National Library’s recognition of the significance of the Cartonography collection will offer a certain legitimacy to the process and encourage other farmers to contribute to their own records. Currently there are 152 cartons uploaded to EHive, representing approximately 30 per cent of the total collection. Now that the collection has been ingested and linked to Trove, the system ‘harvests’ the collection as new records are added to the Cartonography collection on EHive.
There are many collections like Cartonography that have been embraced by Trove, which serve to provide a growing number of resources from which to draw. The research community are passionately outraged by the planned cuts to the National Library. Tim Sherratt describes Trove as a “crucial piece of national research infrastructure”, liberating enormous amounts of records for researchers around the country and indeed the world. Australia is a world leader in this type of service, particularly with regard to the digitisation of newspapers from almost every Australian paper for over the last 1/2 century.
Peter Fitzsimons describes Trove as “a living, breathing thing,” pointing out that it is like Wikipedia as the records can be corrected by users to make the content more accurate. Trove is a giant community centred around liberated, cared for, and shared knowledge.
Please visit the Cartonography collection on Trove, and if you are a farmer, or a farm worker, or have anything to do with fruit and vegetable growing, please get in touch and help populate the records with fascinating documents, videos, photographs, or whatever you have that relates to the cartons. And if your carton is not there then send it to me!
Get in touch via the website Cartonography Website, and keep searching