Founders and Survivors

The Founders and Survivors research project involves multiple Australian Universities in a collaborative research effort by historians and demographers to piece together the life histories and descendants of the original convict population transported to Van Diemen's Land Australia from the British Empire in the 19th Century.

Many sources of data have been digitised, transcribed and are being normalised as TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) style prosopographies in XML. These sources are being matched, linked and aggregated into a BaseX database. Just under a Gigabyte in size, and growing, the database is used online by team members from a central server (and can be downloaded and used locally by the team in visual/GUI mode). A web based search interface to assist the public to locate their ancestors convict records will be made available shortly via the projects public collaborative site.
The public search which uses BaseX as database and query backend can be seen and tested here.

The database is about 1 GB in size and fully indexed, consisting of 36 million nodes and 23 documents. A rock-solid Basex server (Version 6.1.7) has been running for months without intervention. Via a perl library the project communicates with this server. Combining BaseX and XQuery, the communication is completely based on XML. Results are ultimately rendered by a browser after converting them with an XSLT stylesheet to HTML.

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