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About New South Wales [nsw.gov.au] is an online data repository portal, focusing on the Australian state New South Wales (which, among many other things, is also home to the city of Sydney). The website is unique in its apparent focus on innovation and visual sophistication, forward-looking aspects that seem currently absent in all things that have some perceived relationship to the NSW government.

I would highly encourage you to read the accompanying blog post from Seb Chan (Head of Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies at the Powerhouse Museum), who explains in full detail the process and issues faced during its design. He also wants to warn you that the site is in "beta" mode, with more than 600 open tickets (of which 50 labeled "urgent"). This also means, however, that you should feel invited to provide input and feedback, for instance here at the comments section.

The website culls data from many different sources, ranging from the usual "archival" suspects like the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the State Records NSW and the National Archives of Australia, in addition to some refreshing collections from the NSW Film and Television Office, the Historic Houses Trust and the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

This means users can do more than searching for images and articles on popular topics related to New South Wales, and also browse artworks, heritage sites, museum artefacts and related information on a map, or explore demographic data and compare different regions to each other.

For those dry data geeks between us, you could consider to start trying out the Census Explorer or the Collections Map.

PS. In the Census Explorer, one of the things that was completely not obvious to me, until someone pointed it out, is to click the "text bubble" like icon to get a map. It is not a text bubble, it is the geographical shape of the state of NSW.

PSII. As a side-project, About NSW has worked with NSW Births Deaths and Marriages Registry to build the 100 Years of Baby Names, blogged about here.

2 COMMENTS

I see the portal has been updated but still leads to horrendously antiquated services like that for the referenced NSW Births Deaths and Marriages Registry. Changing the display typeface and page-header is its major make-over in 5 years. They still haven't managed to line up input fields properly

Thu 03 Sep 2009 at 5:38 PM
Mike

Nice catch. I didn't know about this site. Quite unusual for the nsw government to succeed in something both innovative and useful. Must've been a skunkworks project in a little known department somewhere.

Fri 04 Sep 2009 at 10:25 AM
Alexander Else
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