In 19th- and early 20th-century Australia, newspapers were the main source of fiction. But the size of that archive meant that little was known about where this fiction came from, how it was sourced, where it was published, and the authors, titles, and genres in circulation.
The possibilities for research changed profoundly with the National Library of Australia’s Trove database and its mass-digitisation of historical Australian newspapers. As the largest open-access collection of its type in the world, Trove made it possible to discover the fiction that early Australians read and wrote for the first time in a reliable and systematic way. By employing traditional bibliographical and book historical methods alongside new forms of digital analysis (such as data- and text-mining, topic modelling and network analysis) the To be continued ... project identified over 21,000 publications of novels, novellas and short stories in 19th- and early 20th-century Australian newspapers.
The resulting database is open and editable, and an active crowdsourcing community has added almost 2,000 extra titles to the database since it was launched in March 2018, and corrected the text of many thousands more.
You can sign up to get involved in the research community or read an open access version of the book exploring this fiction.