It is with deep regret that I note that Australia Dancing, the National Library’s dance portal, has ceased to be an active website. ‘Australia dancing leaps into Trove’ we are told when we open the site’s URL www.australiadancing.org.
Well Trove has its place as a search engine, or discovery service as it is called, and its newspaper service is absolutely brilliant. But it is not the ‘exciting and rapidly expanding service for dance researchers’ it claims to be in the redirection notice. If I look up Giselle for example I get a variety of unwanted items—a photo of someone whose name is Giselle and who recently got married in Canberra; a book called Sweet Giselle available from Amazon for which the description begins:
Giselle thinks she has the perfect life. Her fine and sexy husband, Giovanni, is obsessed with his perfect wife and gives her whatever her heart desires. Giselle thinks her husband can do no wrong. What she doesn’t know is that Giovanni’s seedy dealings put her in danger;
a whole bunch of Giselles under ‘People and Organisations’ who have nothing whatsoever to do with dance; and so on. At least under ‘Maps’ it says ‘No results’, which is better than what comes up for Australian Dance Theatre, which has four results under ‘Maps’ the first of which refers to editions of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim.
Times change and money is short but it is regrettable that the Australian dance community has lost what Alan Brissenden referred to in his book Australia Dances as ‘that essential resource’, especially given that Australia Dancing was established using specifically focussed public money. But then the site has been badly neglected recently. It has needed a redesign for some years. Many of the entries are now out of date and some contain incorrect information. I am not sure whether the material will ever be updated or corrected now that the site has taken a flying leap.
Vale Australia Dancing because moving it to Trove has destroyed its integrity as a dance resource.
Michelle Potter, 3 July 2012