eScholarship Research Centre wins award for guide to historic Oxford collections

October 14 / 146

Image 1, WEST00335, A special form of spear axe - Tasmanian Aborigines J. W. Beattie, Hobart, Photographer to the Government of Tasmania, Series 7, Pitt Rivers Museum: Photograph Collections, Westlake Collection, 1998.466, 1998.466.219. Accessed online via: Stories in Stone: an annotated history and guide to the collections and papers of Ernest Westlake (1855-1922). http://www.westlakehistory.info/viewer/WEST/item/WEST00335/1
Image 1, WEST00335, A special form of spear axe - Tasmanian Aborigines J. W. Beattie, Hobart, Photographer to the Government of Tasmania, Series 7, Pitt Rivers Museum: Photograph Collections, Westlake Collection, 1998.466, 1998.466.219. Accessed online via: Stories in Stone: an annotated history and guide to the collections and papers of Ernest Westlake (1855-1922). http://www.westlakehistory.info/viewer/WEST/item/WEST00335/1

Dr Rebe Taylor, Mr Michael Jones and Mr Gavan McCarthy from the University’s eScholarship Research Centre (ESRC) have been awarded a prestigious Mander Jones Award by the Australian Society of Archivists.

The winning work, Stories in Stone: an annotated history and guide to the collections and papers of Ernest Westlake (1855-1922) (www.westlakehistory.info), is an online guide to all the papers that English amateur scientist Ernest Westlake produced from about 1870 to 1920 on large stone implement collections from England, France and Tasmania. 

The papers are held in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and include what is considered the richest source of Tasmanian Aboriginal culture, history and language from the early 20th century.

The award, for best finding aid to an archival collection held by an Australian institution or about Australia, was presented at the 2014 joint Australian Society of Archivists and Archives and Records Association of New Zealand conference in Christchurch.

Dr Taylor first encountered the papers in 2000, and has been collaborating on this project with the ESRC since 2006. 

Dr Taylor said her motivation was to make the original records accessible to researchers.

“I also wanted to include my historical research and explanatory annotation so no researcher need repeat my efforts in piecing together the historical pieces,” she said.

Mr Jones, who accepted the award in Christchurch on behalf of the team, said these sorts of collaborations lie at the heart of the ESRC. 

“Working with historians like Rebe extends what we do as archivists, and helps researchers make their work available online in innovative, sustainable ways,” he said.

Stories in Stone was published in 2013 by the eScholarship Research Centre, with the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. The work was carried out by the eScholarship Research Centre (University Library) and the Australian Centre in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies.

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