in Digital Humanities Quarterly 9(1) (2015)

This paper updates and expands my previous writing on generous interfaces. It features projects including Manly Images, Australian Prints and Printmaking, and Discover the Queenslander.


Decades of digitisation have made a wealth of digital cultural material available online. Yet search — the dominant interface to these collections — is incapable of representing this abundance. Search is ungenerous: it withholds information, and demands a query. This paper argues for a more generous alternative: rich, browsable interfaces that reveal the scale and complexity of digital heritage collections. Drawing on related work and precedents from information retrieval and visualisation, as well as critical humanistic approaches to the interface, this paper documents and analyses practical experiments in generous interfaces developed in collaboration with Australian cultural institutions.