The Life of Information – a one-symposium on the design and use of online dictionaries, encyclopedias and collections – was hosted by the National Centre of Biography (NCB) at the Australian National University on 24 September. More than 120 people registered for the event, with representatives from over 30 institutions. Funding for this nationally significant meeting of the biography and digital humanities community was provided by the NCB, the School of History at ANU, the Humanities Research Centre at ANU, and the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
The audience included university researchers and website/data managers, and staff from collecting institutions and government agencies. The 20 graduate students who attended came from disciplines as diverse as biography, history and art, through to medicine, chemistry and earth sciences, showing the relevance of the symposium theme from multiple viewpoints.
Symposium convenor Paul Arthur outlined the National Centre of Biography’s plans for the continued enhancement of the online version of the Australian Dictionary of Biography to include new features such as more intuitive search functions and a revised look and feel. Going digital after nearly 50 years in print, the ADB demonstrates the complexity of translating print information to digital form, and also the very great advantages in making this landmark national resource freely accessible online. The soon-to-be-launched Obituaries Australia digital project was also announced.
The final symposium program, which includes detailed information about the presenters and topics featured in each session, is available at http://ncb.anu.edu.au/Life_of_Information.
Dr Paul Arthur