The Visible Archive

In this TEDxCanberrra talk, Mitchell Whitelaw talks about the limitations of the search box paradigm and presents a project he is involved in to preserve and visualize rich data about Australian cultural assets including photographs, prints and documents.

The Visible Archive (now discontinued) was a research project on the visualisation of archival datasets, supported by the National Archives of Australia under the 2008 Ian Maclean Award. As part of this work Whitelaw developed two prototype visualisations of the Archives collection:

  1. The Series Browser, visualising all 65,000 archival series in the collection

2. The A1 Explorer, showing some 64,000 records in series A1

Building on techniques developed in the Visible Archive project, the Flickr Commons Explorer was created. The Explorer (also discontinued) presents a three-pane interface consisting of a term cloud, a single image view, and a thumbnail grid, with a central strip providing navigation and orientation.

Flickr Commons Explorer’s main interface

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