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Digital collections catalyst

Digital collections Catalyst - State Library of Queensland

About the program

The Digital collections catalyst is awarded annually to developers and creatives to support innovative and creative uses of our digital collections and collections data.

The program supports highly creative and experimental ideas that bring together technology with cultural heritage to inspire Queenslanders through State Library collections.

The successful recipient receives a stipend of $15,000 and premium access to State Library’s extensive collections and library staff expertise.

Want more information? Read our FAQ, or reach out to us at or on (07) 3840 7879 or (07) 3840 7887

About the 2024 Catalyst: Evelyn Saunders

2024 Digital Collections Catalyst, Evelyn Saunders.

2024 Digital collections catalyst, Evelyn Saunders.

Evelyn Saunders was awarded the 2024 Digital collection catalyst for her project, Min(d)ing the dead.

Min(d)ing the Dead is an online interactive documentary about a renowned “ghost” town that, during Covid, became the largest gold mine in Queensland. Part film, part book and part photo album, it explores what happens to a community when a historic gold mining town, heritage, and ghost-busting tourist destination becomes a born-again mine.

On track to match Ravenswood's past century-and-a-half of gold acquisition in the next fourteen years, mining operations have expanded and a two-kilometre wall now inhibits direct access to the local cemetery. Remains found in previously undiscovered graves near the school have been relocated to the cemetery, a new school has been built, and three one-hundred-year-old masonry chimneys that had been slated for demolition have been carefully removed to an undisclosed location inside the mine’s footprint. This project does not seek to criticise, but, rather, to document the Ravenswood story up to and including 2023/2024.

2021 Catalyst project

The Topography of Searching

What we search for reveals something about ourselves: about what we don’t know, what we have forgotten, or what we want to know more about. In a similar vein, what a group of people search for reveals something about the group. This project takes the search terms used in the State Library of Queensland catalogue to create an interactive landscape based on the language, themes, subjects, and terms involved. This landscape will show where people are searching for similar things, where they are searching for different things, the evergreen topics, as well as the outliers, and the ways in which these shift and change over time, giving a bird’s-eye view of (some of) what is on the minds of those searching the catalogue over a given period.
Explore the project
Topographic map with the words The Topography of Searching

The Topography of Searching was longlisted for the international Information is Beautiful Awards 2022 presented by the Data Visualization Society.

About the 2021 Catalyst: Brett Tweedie

Brett Tweedie

Brett Tweedie is a data visualisation designer with degrees in media and politics, and has been making stuff online since the late 90s.

He was a Google News Lab Fellow (2018), shortlisted for the DX Lab Fellowship at the State Library of NSW (2019) and has produced a range of work for organisations in the GLAM sector, most recently creating We Are What We Steal for the State Library of New South Wales.

He has also worked with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD), and media organisations such as the ABC, The Australian Financial Review, The Conversation, and The Guardian.

Read more about The Topography of Searching

Sketches of leaves, trees, a mountain, a river
The Topography of Searching, part 1: Not everything should be a map (but I did make this a map).
Digital Collections Catalyst 2021 Brett Tweedie shares his inspiration for the project, The Topography of Searching.
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3D topographic map
The Topography of Searching, part 2: Making the contours.
Digital Collections Catalyst 2021 Brett Tweedie writes about building The Topography of Searching.
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2020 Catalyst project

Mapping Future Brisbane

As our inaugural Digital collections catalyst in 2020, Dr. Keir Winesmith developed a predictive mapping project to help visualise and analyse evolving Brisbane futures. Mapping Future Brisbane launched with an interactive 3D mapping tool, historical research, and details of the machine learning experiments. Use the interactive tool to create your own vision of Brisbane in 2036 by navigating around the city, changing the population density and adding green space. Then print or share your map of future Brisbane.
Explore the project
Mapping Future Brisbane - finished map example

Dr. Keir Winesmith's final presentation - Mapping Future Brisbane: AI and Digital Collections

Read more about Mapping Future Brisbane

Close zoom of 'City of Brisbane town plan : statement of intent : expansion of suburban settlement within the city, 1871-1985' ;
Mapping Future Brisbane, part 1: Tracing the past
As Digital Collections Catalyst for 2020, Dr. Keir Winesmith is developing a predictive mapping tool that allows users to see Brisbane's past and experiment with how Brisbane could change into the future. Keir researched the tracings of the past to inform his project. #slqDigitalCatalyst
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Map of Brisbane and suburbs, 1912
Mapping Future Brisbane, part 2: Shaping the future
As Digital Collections Catalyst for 2020, Dr. Keir Winesmith is developing a predictive mapping tool that allows users to see Brisbane's past and experiment with how Brisbane could change into the future. Keir surveyed the people of Brisbane to learn their priorities for future Brisbane. #slqDigitalCatalyst
Read more