10. Careful Curation for Serendipitous Discovery

Libraries and archives have long been tools for serendipitous discoveries where an unexpected connection is found seemingly by accident.

“[S]cholars can become inspired by visions of wandering through vast corridors of deserted stacks and then happening on a passage in some long-dormant volume that unexpectedly reveals a special insight. For some, the promise of such treasured discoveries is at the heart of deeply felt sentiments about the library’s role in scholarship.” – Patrick Carr, College and Research Libraries

Sometimes good curators can nudge this along. This photograph of Betty Broadbent from 1938 is part of a set of images from PIX Magazine acquired by the State Library of New South Wales as part of a larger acquisition, as seen on the Flickr blog and the State Library of NSW’s blog.

Tattooed lady Betty Broadbent, 4 April 1938

That image, when uploaded to Flickr Commons, was put into four different albums so that viewers could find it alongside other images which shared certain characteristics.

1. Images of Ms. Broadbent

Tattooed lady Betty Broadbent, 4 April 1938

2. Images from PIX Magazine

Woman with a dragon tattoo, Sydney, 17 December 1937

3. Images from Australia Consolidated Press including this basket of puppies

St. Ives Dog Show, 18 March, 1950, Pix Magazine, State Library of New South Wales

4. Images that are uploaded with known date information which has some serendipitous discoveries of its own

Cyclist Hubert Opperman poses next to an REO Speed Wagon truck advertising at Peters Ice Cream Factory, Redfern (taken for Bruce Small Ltd), Australia, 19 July 1938
Linda Malden "Spring Ridge" station, 24 January 1944 / photographed by N. Herfort
Strong man, Australia, 20 May 1938
Penguins being fed at the zoo, 22 June 1945, by Alec Iverson