Hacking Trove

Hacking Trove
The creation of Seabo
17 December 2015

In celebration of Trove Manager Tim’s last day with the Trove team, we decided to have a hack day, using the Trove API and the combined skills of the Trove team to create a new thing. 

The Problem

Working in Trove we want to be able to easily find and browse images in Trove to spruce up our presentations and social media posts. We wanted a way to find: out of copyright, open access and reusable images. Fortunately we had created a list of searches highlighting open access images for the 2015 GIF IT UP competition. Using this as a starting point we scribbled down thoughts on what we wanted this new thing to be able to do. 

Image of the Trove team planning Seabo

Which feature is most important? 

The Concept

A common theme soon emerged. We wanted the ability to serendipitously find images through browsing or via a random generator. Once an image was found we wanted to be able to browse similar images by subject, creator or collection. A wish list of features was beginning to take shape.

We divided up into teams. Tim handled the coding; Mark, Julia and Chris looked after the metadata; Catriona and Tighearnan worked on a wireframe (a visual guide for the layout of a webpage) while Jess pondered communications for the project. 

Image of the Trove team working on Seabo

Building things takes lots of concentration 

We decided ‘Serendipitously Exploring And Browsing Open Access Images In Trove’ was a bit too long for an application name, after several attempts to come up with a name we stumbled across the helpful acronym ‘Seabo’.

Fun fact: According to Google Translate, seabo is Sesotho for participation. The name stuck.

The Discovery

While searching, we found the largest numbers of images by contributor were provided by the State Library of Queensland and the State Library of Victoria. Both organisations are quite large so it’s fair to say they have a lot more images, but we also discovered they appeared more often because they had taken the time to add an open access rights statement to their records. This meant we could easily identify their openly licensed and out of copyright images.

Graph of open access images

The number of open access images by Trove contributor

With some wireframes created for pages within the application, Tim, acting as our developer, started work on the homepage with the intent of getting some random images to appear from the collection of a random contributor. 

Wireframe for Seabo homepage

A wireframe mockup for the home page of the application

The Result

By the end of the day we had Seabo’s homepage sorted, we also had text on the ‘About’ page and photographs were coming in from the ’Collections’ to fill Seabo’s random image generator. 

Screenshot of Seabo homepage

Using the wireframe as a guide, Tim created a working homepage

It was a very successful day, which goes to show how an idea can transform into a working prototype with some coding skills and a Trove API key.

Anyone can do it, so to find out more, head to our help page Building with Trove.

We’d love to hear from you about Seabo, so please leave us a comment and tell us what you think. 

How brilliant, I cannot wait to use Seabo.
How brilliant, I cannot wait to use Seabo.
Well done Trove team! This is such a boost for researchers like me.
Looking good, When do you think you will have a beta version up and running?
Absolutely wonderful resource for researchers like me. Hope it will be as easy to use as accessing Trove newspapers.
Brilliant!!! Congratulations and well done to all the wonderful Trove team. All images in one search will be amazing.
The terrific Trove Team coming up Trumps again. :)
Great idea! I am impressed you pulled it together so quickly...