One year ago, on 1st June 2015, we launched the Find & Connect web resource blog. As I write this post, we have published 33 blog posts, received 61 comments, made 74 links to pages on the Find & Connect web resource and had close to ten thousand page views.
The most viewed blog posts have been a mixture of Features and News. They have delivered information on topics sometimes specifically related to Find & Connect, other times more broadly around child welfare history, records, photos and research. Here is a snapshot of the top 5 blog posts from the last year – if you haven’t read them yet, we recommend it!
The idea behind the blog was to enable people to engage with the content on Find & Connect in a different way. The blog allows us to draw information and images from multiple sources and bring them together in one narrative (e.g. The Starting Point and ‘It smacks of slavery…’), something that isn’t possible within the structure of the main website. As well, it creates a place for us to share information about events (e.g. Memorial to children who died in State Care and Making records meaningful) and news for the community (e.g. New Principles for Access to Records and Six years on from the national apology).
Importantly the blog also provides a space to interact with you, our readers. To ask your opinions, to learn from your knowledge and experiences and to share successful stories of research (e.g. Do you recognise these Barnardos’ Homes? and All the little travellers: the children of ‘Morningtown Ride’). When you engage with us, everyone benefits. We encourage people to comment on the blog, to start discussions, share opinions and link to more resources of interest.
One example of this is the Reflecting on the past through memorials blog post which discussed recent memorials for “Forgotten Australians”. In the comments section a brief but important conversation was had around the terms ‘Care Leavers’ and ‘Forgotten Australians’ as labels for people who lived in institutions as children. Another blog was referenced as an option for further reading on the topic. This extra information adds individual perspectives to the post that would not have been achieved without people contributing their thoughts.
Blog comments can also provide valuable new information that helps us add to the main website. (It can take time before an update occurs and the new information shows on the site.) We have also just started linking the blog posts to the main website as published resources so in future if you go to Berry Street Babies’ Home and Hosptial, Winlaton or St Gabriel’s Babies’ Home the blog post The importance of photos will show up as one of the Online Resources that you can go to for further information.
So, on our first anniversary, thank you to all our readers and comment-makers: you are the ones who make the blog the valuable resource it has become. We couldn’t do it without you!