Contributions to the AICCM National Conference 2013, Adelaide 23-25 October
In the National Archives of Australia we are flooded with information in databases, spread sheets and images. We use this data to identify, understand and retrieve collection items. Analysis of collections through physical surveys and database interrogations is used to establish conservation priorities and undertake identified projects. This methodical approach can be time consuming and labour intensive. Web based word searches can be a little like viewing the world through a letterbox. By harnessing data sets we can use visualisation techniques to look at everything and reveal associations that can be used for preservation and access purposes. Visualisation can be a useful tool for access, preservation planning and data entry quality. Five years ago, the Archives commissioned a project called the Visible Archive, in which visualisation techniques were applied to large Archives datasets to develop ways of exploring and understanding the contextual relationships of records. The Archives is currently supporting a project to explore content based image retrieval that will gather like images in a data set. For conservators and archivists this will have the benefit of identifying duplicate images; associating images that may be split across collections and allowing data entry comparison for consistency, accuracy and completeness. I aim to demonstrate that with available data sets conservators can use visualisation processes to identify conservation priorities in image collections and target records at risk and known to be deteriorating.