Big Data in the Archives


Dulcie Hollyock Room, Ground Floor, Baillieu Library


When new technologies combine with the expertise of researchers, the potential of the information contained in traditional archival material can be unlocked, with ever more interesting results.

One well-known example was the partnership between the UK and US National Archives and research centres to collect weather data using shipping records dating before official records were initiated to document long-term climate patterns (

The University of Melbourne Archives holds over 20 shelf kilometres of historical records on a huge range of endeavours. Our collections cover politics, social history, engineering, science, finance and economics, trade, slavery, polar exploration, farming, manufacturing and so much more.

In this talk, archivist Katie Wood will outline the sorts of resources held at UMA, present some previous “big data” projects and discuss the factors that need to be considered for such projects.

Presenter: Katie Wood.

Katie Wood has been the reference and outreach archivist at the University of Melbourne Archives for nearly 10 years. In that time, she has helped thousands of researchers explore UMA's vast and often unorganised collections.
She is currently exploring those collections for her own PhD thesis, which looks at the experience of Australian women workers in the metal trades.