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Obituaries Australia Provides Information on Over 2700 Australians

Obituaries Australia Home Page

Obituaries Australia Home Page

In April, The Australian National University launched Obituaries Australia, an online Web site that aggregates information on over 2700 Australians, in obituary or biography format. It’s available at You can search this Web site by keyword, of course, but there are a number of ways you can browse, too. You can browse by date of death, date of birth (I saw biographies going back to the 1700s), name, author (who wrote the item), or publication (where the item appeared.) You can also browse by lists (awards, clubs, military service, etc.)

I did a name search for Smith and got 26 results. Results include name of the person, birth-death years, and sometimes a little blurb about the person (“diplomat, public servant and Japanophile,” “ironmonger,” “surgeon and photographer,” etc.) “Surgon and Photographer” looked interesting, so I clicked on the obituary for Julian Augustus Smith.

This detail page had the obituary as it originally appeared in The Argus (there’s also a link to the original), a picture of Dr. Smith, and a sidebar with a life summary including birth and death dates, religious influence, and occupation. The items in the sidebar are clickable so you can browse lists of Australians by various characteristics — occupation, cause of death, religious influence, etc. There’s even a list of bushrangers available which includes Jack Donohoe.)

Sometimes the biographies are more extensive, as for Issy Smith. Sergeant Smith’s obituary information includes links to another obituary, several links to articles about him in newspaper archives, and a very extensive sidebar.

I’m impressed with both the amount of information here but also the external links to newspaper archives and the extensive cross-linking. Useful reference site.

Australian Women’s Weekly in National Library of Australia Digital Archive

Hat tip to PC World Australia for the pointer to the new digital archive of Australian Women’s Weekly, brought to you by the National Library of Australia. This archive spans 10 June 1933 to 15 December 1982, which is 2500 issues and 220,000 pages, totaling about 275,000 articles. That’s not small, but I did find some pages that were listed in the search engine but weren’t viewable yet. You can do a keyword search at

The search box is in the upper right, and you have to make sure you click on the “Limit to issues of this title” checkbox underneath the search form, but I love this publication home page. There’s a browsing mechanism, citation information, and RSS feeds for new articles that are added to the collection.

I did a search for fashion hats, always fun when you’re searching an archive that spans so many years, and got over 4100 results.

Search results include title and date of article and some context. Some articles are not available, with a notation marked COMING SOON, but each of those COMING SOON articles offers an RSS feed for an update on when that article is available.

For the available articles, click on a title and you’ll get a page viewer with your search keywords highlighted. You can zoom and pan as you’d expect. To the left of the viewer there’s a machine-generated transcript (which you’re invited to correct) with spaces for tags and comments and lists. Quick links allow you to print the article, save it as a PDF, or view it as a JPG.

This archive is extensive but in addition a lot of effort has gone into making it easy to use and follow up. Excellent.

Search National Library of Australia Images by Color

Hat tip to ResourceShelf to the pointer about a new resource from the National Library of Australia — the ability to search about 18,500 images from the Library’s collection by color.

You can try it yourself at . It’s pretty simple; pick a color from the color grid on the left. (There’s a menu beneath it to more precisely specify the color for which you’re searching.) As soon as you pick the color you’ll get images from the Library’s collection. I picked a subdued yellow and got nine images which looked like drawings, paintings, and possibly a photograph.

You can click on an image and you’ll get an overlay window showing the image and what colors it has in it. But that’s all. You won’t get a larger image, you won’t get any more detail about the image, and as far as I can see you won’t even get a link to the original image in the archive.

So this is an interesting toy, possibly useful for designers who want to look at the way color is used — but it’s not a sideways tool for discovery in the National Library of Australia’s image collection.


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