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Australasian Heritage Software Database

posted on 2021-10-21, 07:16 authored by Melanie Swalwell, Denise de VriesDenise de Vries
The Australasian Heritage Software project is a publicly-compiled and accessible database documenting Australian and New Zealand software history. The field of software history is enormous and largely undocumented. Few repositories of software or documentation exist. This project aims to collect documentation from the public - and, where feasible, source code - in order to create a picture of the software written locally, and to present this online.

Why are you doing this?

Currently, there is no central repository of information about software written or published locally. Software does not easily fit into the collecting schema or taxonomies of many institutions. As such, it is generally individuals and various online communities who hold the knowledge about local software history. We want to provide a repository for this knowledge to be centrally collected, and will make this openly accessible so that it can be used for public good purposes.

Software history is a notoriously underdeveloped field, with many histories tending to chart only particular genres, or remembering just the commercial success stories and flops. Most of what makes it into history books are stories from the UK, US and parts of Asia. Australia and New Zealand have their own computer and software histories, of course, but it is difficult to write local software histories without comprehensive records. We are keen to see these stories recorded and told more often, and the products of local innovation documented and hopefully preserved. Making informed judgements about what is historically significant and what ought to be kept requires knowing what software existed in a particular period.

Given the lack of existing centralised records of locally developed software, we are throwing the net wide and asking people to enter information on local software from any historical period, from the birth of digital computing to the present day.

Time period: The Digital Computer Era
- Australia
- New Zealand


Primary contact

A/Prof Melanie Swalwell

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