About South Seas
South Seas was conceived and built by Paul Turnbull and Chris Blackall with the support of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research. A key goal of the Centre has been to share the outcomes of research in the humanities and social sciences with audiences beyond the confines of the academy.
South Seas has also been a partnership between the Centre and the National Library of Australia. The Library's mission is to be the world's leading documentary resource for learning about and understanding of Australia and Australians. It has also taken a leading role in research and development of techniques for the creation, management and publication of networked digital resources relating to the history of Australia and the Pacific. Without the generous support of the Library and its specialist staff South Seas could not have been created.
Between 200o and 2003 South Seas was supported by a significant grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC) through its Strategic Partnership with Industry - Research and Training Scheme (SPIRT). As outlined in the successful SPIRT application, support was sought to develop an online resource devoted to Cook's first Pacific voyage that involved research and development of editing standards and software tools for historians wanting to exploit the potential of networked digital media. The progress and outcomes of this research are discussed in various articles and papers by Paul Turnbull and Chis Blackall. However, the most significant outcome is that ARC funding has enabled South Seas to be a resource that implements solutions to significant problems facing historians wanting to use the web to share the outcomes of their research and librarians charged with preserving and managing historical research in digital formats.
A further significant dimension to South Seas has been that it has involved collaboration with the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre (AUSTHC) of the University of Melbourne. Appraisal of the OHRM and WARP software tools created and refined by Joanne Evans and Gavan McCarthy of AUSTHC strongly suggested that South Seas would do well to contribute to research at AUSTHC focussed on creating and refining low cost tools for the management and online publication of heritage resources. Consequently, Alan van den Bosch was employed as a software programmer by South Seas but physically located in AUSTHC's offices at the University of Melbourne. This enabled not only the development of techniques and software meeting the specific needs of South Seas, but also the refinement of low -cost generic tools that meet the needs of historians and heritage specialists wnating to use the web as their primary publication medium.