Number 5, June 1999
STAMA Australia Home Page
Again, the poor editor apologises for only being able to publish one newsletter
this year. For those that do not have Internet access but would like more
information about any of the items that refer to a Web address please
contact the Editor.
At: The Queensland Sciencentre, 110 George Street,
Brisbane, Queensland (as part of the ASA Conference).
Time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
Contact: Gavan McCarthy, Convener, STAMA (see below for contact details)
The Queensland Sciencentre has provided the venue
free of charge including a meeting room with an attached kitchen.
This is a wonderful opportunity to meet in a venue that will
provide an appropriate context for our deliberations, to reflect
on the activities on the past twelve months and look forward to
the future. I hope many of you will be there.
It is proposed that we hold an informal workshop
exploring issues to do with the integration of online resources.
A session at the ASA conference will be exploring these issues
in a more formal way whereas the workshop will give us the opportunity
to ascertain what this may mean to us as a group and how we can
utilise this new technology to our collective advantage.
On 3 May 1999 the Council of the University of Melbourne
declared the formation of the Australian Science and Technology
Heritage Centre (Austehc) in the Faculty of Arts. Austehc
will continue the academic, research and heritage activities of
the Australian Science Archives Project (ASAP) which was established
by Professor R.W. Home in 1985. The Centre will encompass ASAP's
original objectives and continue to develop new programs that
foster the preservation, promotion and development of the heritage
of Australian science, technology and medicine. ASAP's popular
online information resources, notably Bright Sparcs
will form the key focus of the Centre's activities.
ASAP's 14 years experience at the local, national and international levels provides a solid foundation for the Centre's success. The important network of associations with academic, government and private organisations and individuals will be maintained and developed to further enhance the Centre's crucial role. Austehc will:
* Establish the infrastructure, through research, development and implementation, to undertake collaborative projects and activities relating to the history and heritage of science, technology and medicine, within the University of Melbourne and with external organisations and individuals;
* Create and provide access to authoritative information resources dealing with the history and heritage of science, technology and medicine, primarily with an Australian focus, to support academic scholarship, secondary and primary education, and general community awareness;
* Advance the pursuit of knowledge in the history,
archival, museum, heritage studies and information management
disciplines through teaching, research and development.
The significant corporate archival and records management
projects undertaken by ASAP over the past few years has led to
the formation of a separate company, ASAP Information Services
Pty Ltd. The separation of this commercial work from the
academic, research and heritage activities will enable the Centre
to maintain a strong focus on its fundamental goals.
Along with ASAP's Director and founding staff member, Gavan McCarthy, Austehc has retained an essential core of ASAP's staff with distinctive expertise and knowledge as archivists, researchers, teachers, historians, and WWW-developers. Austehc will continue the self-funded tradition established by ASAP and work to enhance its position within the University of Melbourne and augment its strong links with the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science.
The AIPS has taken a major lead in raising public
awareness of the great achievements and achievers of Australian
science, particularly in the area of medical research. The Institute
was responsible for the Howard Florey centenary project which
resulted in a Web exhibition. It can be found at:
The Institute has this year expanded its Tall Poppies programme to cover three great Australian scienctists whose birth ocurred in 1899: Macfarlane Burnet, Jean Macnamara and Ian Clunies Ross. At the inaugural dinner of the Tall Poppies programme in Melbourne on 27 May 1999 the families of these three were presented with gifts of acknowledgment. A further 16 young medical researchers were recognised for their achievements in research. The Institute announced at the dinner that the Tall Poppies centenaries of Australian science project was to be expanded to cover a variety of centenaries and anniversaries. This will be aimed to coincide with Centenary of Federation celebrations in 2001.
The Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre
is embarking on an ambitious program of re-development of the
Bright Sparcs Web site. A flyer is enclosed that provides
the general background to Bright Sparcs and its complementary
site to be inaugurated in 1999, Australian Science at Work.
The redevelopment program is being designed to prepare the underlying
databases for the next wave of Web technologies, namely the introduction
XML enabled applications. Gavan McCarthy attended a meeting funded
by the US Digital Libraries Federation in Yale in December last
year to investigate the implications of this emerging technology
for archives and heritage purposes. It was an exciting meeting
that recognised the revolutionary impact this technology could
have and the importance of the redevelopment of ICA standards,
in particular ISAAR(CPF) with this technology in mind. The redevelopment
program is planned within the context of the international working
group established at Yale.
For those interested in more detail about the Yale meeting go to: http://www.library.yale.edu/~rszary/Authority/agenda.html
Or for more detail on what this means in the Australian context look at: http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/aw99/papers/mccarthy/
Bruce Smith presented a paper, co-authored by Gavan
McCarthy, at the recent Museums Australia conference in Albury.
It will be published in due course.
One of the significant developments that has already
occurred has been the appointment of Laurie Carlson as an Honorary
Associate of the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre.
For many years Laurie has been the person behind the bibliography
of Australian science, published regularly in Historical Records
of Australian Science. Austehc has provided Laurie with a
PC, access to the WWW and a database for direct entry of references
into the History of Australian Science, Technology and Medicine
Bibliography. The upgrade of the online bibliography and its
much tighter and comprehensive cross referencing with Bright
Sparcs and Australian Science at Work files will be
one of the core elements of the redevelopment program. Watch
this space and keep an eye on
for developments and enhancements which will be loaded as they
Also, flagged for development, and already underway
is the Sponsorship and Supporters program. It is critical that
foundation funding is located on a regular basis to enable continuous
enhancement and enrichment of these resources. For details see:
In late 1998 the National Library of Australia and the Australian National Maritime Museum published the much awaited CD-ROM, Endeavour, Captain Cook's Journal 1768-71. In many ways the publication of the journal in this form is a landmark event for the science archives community in Australia as well as for the scholarly community. The immediate impression is one of professional and careful production with much thought going into simple things like the size and shape of the packaging. It is about the size of a novel and sits well on a bookshelf. The authors / editors have also not shied away from placing the book firmly within the current political context, particularly the relationship between indigenous Australians and those who have arrived over the last two centuries of so. The CD has loaded up perfectly every time I have used it (always a relief) and all the components have worked well, though the speed on my now aging laptop becomes a little tiresome. But more importantly the CD raises all sorts of questions about scholarly publishing on CD-ROM, especially the design of CDs to meet a variety of audiences. A more detailed review is being prepared for mounting on the Austehc site as well as for Historical Records of Australian Science. For those seeking more information, or who would like to purchase the CD (and I highly recommend that you do) go to: http://www.nla.gov.au/pub/endeavour.html
For those new to the history of science community, the CHP Newsletters can be found on the Web at: http://www.aip.org/history/web-news.htm
Many items worth noting (as always) but in particular:
* The new history of physics exhibits on the Internet
* The expansion of the Grants to Archives Program at: http://www.aip.org/history/grntegde.htm
* The latest on the International Catalog of Sources survey (ICOS) at: http://www.aip.org/history/
* The announcement of "SCIENTIFIC SOURCE MATERIALS: Saving Personal Papers and Archival Records in Physics and Allied Fields" at http://www.aip.org/history/source.htm
There is lots more and the quotes are always great. For example:
"In science, as in all other departments
of inquiry, no thorough grasp of a subject can be gained unless
the history of its development is clearly appreciated."
Archibald Geikie [The Founders of Geology, 1905 (Dover 1962, p. 1)]
The newsletter is free - to become a registered subscriber contact CHP - details at: http://www.aip.org/history/source.htm
STAMA Australia had a relatively active year in 1997-98.
With the major activity not being the AGM in Fremantle (6 August
1998) but the Working With Knowledge conference held as
part of National Science Week. This conference was reported on
in the last newsletters. The minutes of that AGM were published
in Seshat & Thoth No. 4.
The STAMA Annual Report covers the period from the beginning of an AGM to the beginning of the next AGM. It is published in the first newsletter to be issued after the AGM. Further details on the years activities are published in the newsletter.
Gavan McCarthy (Convener)
The minutes of the previous AGM were accepted. Moved:
Barbara Cytowicz; Seconded: Bruce Smith.
4. Finance Report: The
finance report was presented. In summary it revealed a balance
of $1,003.02 for the year resulting from $330.10 brought forward,
expenses of $327.29 and a grant of $1000.00 from the ASA Council
to reduce account fee charges. The expenses were on mailouts,
printing and postage.
Moved: Bruce Smith; Seconded: Barbara Cytowicz.
5. Election of Office Bearers for 1998-99:
In view of the fact that there were no other nominations the following folk were elected to the STAMA Executive:
Convener: Gavan McCarthy
Secretary: Barbara Cytowicz
Treasurer: Bruce Smith
6. Report on the Working with Knowledge conference:
A brief review of this most successful conference
was presented. A more detailed report was published in Seshat
& Thoth No. 4 and of course significant detail is available
on the web site for the conference. The papers of the conference
are being published as they become available. It was suggested
that we start thinking seriously about the next conference and
that 2003 may be an appropriate year.
7. International Activities: The Working
with Knowledge conference brought to Australia a small group
of leading science archivists from Europe. This was a rare opportunity.
Two meetngs were held in Melbourne that enabled Anne Barrett
and Peter Harper (with funding from the British Council) to speak
at more length about their activities. It was also noted that
Gavan McCarthy had been nominated for the Steering Committee of
the International Council on Archives, University and College
Archives Section and the Steering Committee of the STAMA subgroup
of that section.
8. Newsletter: It was noted that we still
have not been able to generate more than one newsletter per year.
It was suggested that there be a call for items; that CSIRO should
look at making a regular contribution and that we attempt to publish
two issues per year.
9. Activities in 1998-99: ASAP representatives
noted that they intended to mount some sort activity in National
Science Week 1999. Bruce Smith suggested using Avant Cards and
Stickers as a means of raising awareness. Matthew Gordon-Clark
suggested that we endeavour to raise the profile and use of Bright
Sparcs in schools. Related ideas included establishing closer
links with the Australian Science Teachers Association, presenting
at their conferences; and developing a web site focused specifically
on women in science. Other business included the building up
of the SIG membership and activities for the Brisbane AGM.
10. Closure of the Meeting
The meeting adjourned to the Tropicana to experience
the Fremantle counter-culture and reputedly the best coffee in
The URL for the STAMA Web Site is given on the front
of the Newsletter. We have lots of ideas for what we would like
to achieve with the site but lack time to implement them. However,
ideas are always welcome so please contribute.
If you are not on the STAMA listserve, instructions
on how to join can be found at the same site.
Since our last mailout or census our numbers have dropped to 66. However, a number of new people joined the group and we would like to make them welcome and encourage them to be active participants:
National Archives of New Zealand
J. A. Wheatley
The more you can contribute the more we can achieve.
If any of you would like to send us a short note about where you
are working, your background and why you are interested in science,
technology and medicine it would be much appreciated.