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Unremembering the Forgotten

"Amongst the enthusiasm for open data there’s perhaps a tendency to overlook the opening of data – the way that hackers, tinkerers, journalists, activists and others have been stretching the limits of access...Access will never be open. Every CSV is an expression of power, every API is an argument. While I would gladly take back the time I’ve spent wresting data from HTML I recognise the value of the struggle. The bureaucratic structures of the White Australia policy live on in the descriptive hierarchies of the National Archives. To build our wall of faces we had to dismantle these structures – to drill down through series, items, documents and images until we found the people inside. I feel differently about the records because of that. Access can never simply be given, at some level it has to be taken." Tim Sherratt's (@wragge on Twitter) keynote for the recent DH conference in Sydney.