a campaign to digitise the dawn

The Dawn: a Journal for Australian Women was conceived and published by Louisa Lawson from 1888 to 1905. In the first edition she wrote "There has hitherto been no trumpet through which the concentrated voices of womankind could publish their grievances and their opinions." The subtitle was later changed to A Journal for the Household in recognition of the many men who also read the journal.

The National Library of Australia has been working to get our newspapers online and I have much enjoyed the occasional dip into the treasures the Trove contains. It's time to add The Dawn to the collection. Donate and help us make that happen

This mission began as I prepared a talk for the Haecksen miniconf at linux.conf.au 2011. I was researching early Australian women pioneers of information technology. Louisa Lawson fits the bill. The printing press is an information technology, and she owned and ran a significant printing business, and publishing house. (She also has a patent for a mailbag fastener!) She was an active feminist, contributing significant energy to the campaign to win women the right to vote, and to act as representatives in parliament. It was during this research I discovered that The Dawn is not yet online, and contacted the library to inquire if there were plans to add it to Trove.

The initial response was disappointingly negative, but hopeful. No, not yet, but maybe in the future, thanks for the suggestion etc etc. Here's the email trail:

"Thank you for your email suggesting future digitisation of Dawn (Sydney, N.S.W. : 1888). Currently this title is not on our schedule for digitisation through until 30 June 2011. However we do record all suggestions that we receive and use these to shape future digitisation priorities as the Library continues to digitise Australian newspapers (and some journals) at a modest pace and in line with our allocated budget. The titles that have currently been selected for digitisation, in consultation with the state and territory libraries, are detailed at http://www.nla.gov.au/ndp/selected_newspapers/documents/ANDP_Titlesselec...

From July 2011 we are seeking to digitise additional titles funded by other libraries and institutions. Donna, if you know of any possible funding source that may be available for digitisation of the Dawn the following information may be of interest.

The National Library is now inviting contributions to its Australian newspapers service:

Guidelines for Libraries contributing content to the Australian Newspapers service http://www.nla.gov.au/anplan/documents/ANScontributorguidelines2010final...

Factsheet on contributing to the Australian Newspapers service

I do hope that you continue to find the digitised newspapers in Trove useful for your research as we are fast approaching 4 million pages (40 million articles) now freely available to users."

So I wrote back.

Thanks for the response,

I don't know of a funding source - but I hadn't thought of that, I'll ask around.

I do believe it's an incredibly important publication - and would address the imbalance of history when it comes to reporting on and by women.

Is there any way to effectively bump it up the priority list?

I shall investigate a campaign to raise funds, I'm sure women's groups and institutions might be interested...

How much money are we talking about?

The reply I got was the firestarter.

I am also looking at the possibility of digitising The Bulletin so Dawn might also fit nicely with this project. I will certainly note this as a higher priority title when we have our work planning discussions.

If you did know of opportunities for funding digitisation of the Dawn that would be fantastic. It appears to be a relatively shorter title across 3 microfilm reels. It was published monthly from 15 May 1888 through to July 1905. I would estimate around 3,000 pages. With this estimate in mind our cost for digitisation in $2.00 per page (gst exclusive), so based on approx 3,000 pages digitisation of Dawn would be $6,000 (gst exclusive).

I have increased the campaign goal to $7,500 to cover the GST and a small margin of error should there be more pages, or there be some other unexpected additional cost.

You can help in a number of ways.

Do you have other ideas, questions or suggestions? please email digitisethedawn@gmail.com.