Sherratt, Tim: Investigating the Hansard black hole

Sherratt, Tim

Investigating the Hansard black hole‘, Tim Sherratt: Research Notebook, 29 May, 10 July 2016

Not about the Budget black hole this time but about deficiencies in the ParlInfo search engine which countless people have used for research in the online Hansards of the Parliament of Australia. Tim Sherratt, digital historian based at the University of Canberra, has trawled through Hansard (Reps and Senate) from 1901 to 1980 and found missing fragments (due to scanning or related issues) and deficiencies in the search engine (over 100 days in 80 years are not searchable). He concludes that ‘substantial blocks of Senate Hansard are not being searched by ParlInfo’ with 94 days missing. The Reps Hansard is less problematic.There are some other issues also.

Tim Sherratt has very usefully supplied pdfs of the missing days. Among the gems the King’s greetings to his loyal Australian subjects at the end of the Great War:

His Majesty bears in mind the relatives of those Australian heroes who in Gallipoli and many hard fought fields laid down their lives in the common cause. Those glorious dead the Empire will not forget; and it is His Majesty’s earnest conviction that their sacrifice has not been in vain, but that in dying they have helped to win for the free nations of the earth a peace and ordered security which shall live. (Senate Hansard, 19 November 1918)

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