The wonderful Tim Sherratt has produced a simple guide to creating a Twitter-bot drawing information from Trove and posting it to your Twitter account. Not being a programmer myself, I was curious to know if I could build a bot to post an item from the Living Archive every day.
The whole process probably took only a few hours, from setting up a new Twitter account (https://twitter.com/LAAL_bot), getting a Trove API key, working my way through the instructions on Glitch, some trips up the garden path (switching from a trove-title-bot to a trove-collection-bot) and working out what I did wrong when I got error messages. My first efforts selected random items from the complete CDU Library repository, so I had to ask for help to narrow the range to just the items in the Living Archive collection, to which Tim gave a helpful response. A little bit of customising the text (from “Another interesting item” to “Check this out from @living_archive!”) and creating a cron-job to tweet daily, and we’re in business!
The LAALbot gives the title and cover image of a book from the Living Archive, and links it to the record in Trove. So you don’t go directly to the item in the Archive, but can get there indirectly via Trove (go down to the green View online button and click on the Freely available link to the CDU repository). Twitter has an unfortunate habit of offering to ‘translate’ from a completely unrelated language, but I haven’t figured out how to switch that off.
If my coding skills went beyond ‘dummies’ level, I’d love to add some detail, for example identifying the language of the item, or adding some other metadata. Any computer scientist or amateur programmer interested in volunteering?
So if you’d like to receive a new book every day from the Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages, follow @LAAL_bot now on Twitter! Thanks so much to @wragge for making the process possible for novice coders.