I’ve been following Australian historian and hacker Tim Sherratt on Twitter for a while now, and his work with the GLAM Workbench is inspiring. GLAM is an acronym for galleries, libraries, archives, and museums, and the workbench provides a series of tools Tim has stitched together to enable research across numerous collections in Australia and New Zealand so that scholars and students can do things with data.
— Tim Sherratt (@wragge) February 26, 2021
I saw a mention of this work a few weeks back that piqued my interest, and the following tweet spurred me to follow-up on installing GLAM Workbench in Reclaim Cloud, so I gave it a shot.
— Srishti Guha (@srishti_guha) March 7, 2021
I have to say it was quite easy to get up and running, and the documentation around this project is so robust that it also helped me finally get my head around how applications like Jupyter Lab, Datasette, and Voyant Tools might work together, which is huge for me.
Spinning up @wragge's custom template for a custom instance of JupyterLab on Reclaim Cloud was dead simple. I imported this script https://t.co/ALRPLVCPlm and voila! Now to figure out JupyterLab 🙂 pic.twitter.com/1Fob5sQ8H9
— Jim Groom (@jimgroom) March 7, 2021
It really was that simple, I created a new environment and used this script to import the YAML file with all the instructions for getting the custom Jupyter Lab notebook spun up. Literally one-click, which he has since integrated into the documentation so you can do this right from Github into Reclaim Cloud, which is so slick.
And as I noted, the JupyterLab was all set up and ready to go (it was behind a password given that was part of the customizations he built into his container):
The thing about the GLAM Workbench that pushed me beyond the straight install into exploring the app was the amazing documentation they created that seems to just be getting better.
— Tim Sherratt (@wragge) March 14, 2021
I was able to wrap my head a bit around using Jupyter to run the Trove Harvester, which is essentially the tool that search across collections and brings back results, and then allows you to harvest text, images, and even PDF versions of the articles. All this is spelled out within the Jupyter Lab, and it allowed me to start digging in.
I did a search across the collections for references to home video rentals and got a solid 8000 hits. I’ll try and do a follow-up post about some of the awesome articles about home video in Australia, but let this page (and a few pull-out ads) suffice for now:
The article on silicon is pretty fascinating, but the ads tell a compelling story of the rise of the mom & pop video store. And this is just one of thousands, and tools like Datasette (which you can work with right from the GLAM Workbench) puts the search info into a database format, and something like Voyant Tools would enable you to visualize, so I actually started to wrap my head around this suite of tools.
— Tim Sherratt (@wragge) March 15, 2021
This is amazing, but even cooler is that Tim has been hard at work and has updated the GLAM Workbench documentation to include a Launch in Reclaim Cloud link so that script runs and you are up and running with GLAM Workbench in Reclaim Cloud, so cool.
And in all his copious spare time, he posted the details of his work creating an installer for GLAM Workbench on Reclaim Hosting’s Community forum which provides all the details, so thank Tim—this is above and beyond!