Case study – National Museum of Australia

Digital Transformation


The Museum has worked over the last three years to meet its obligations to the NAA’s Digital Transition Policy, and the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy, through the introduction and implementation of an electronic records management system (RM8).

The Museum holds a unique collection of records which reflect the nature of the agency’s business. We hold standard corporate records typical of APS agencies, however also manage information and resources relating to curatorial and collection management, and our Indigenous Repatriation program. These unique information types can present new challenges for electronic management systems, particularly in regard to confidentiality, cultural sensitivities and enabling appropriate access.

At the commencement of the RM8 project, the Museum undertook a significant body of research to assess the Museum’s then current recordkeeping formats, its location, and the guiding principles in regard to storing it within a certified Corporate Management System (CMS). The Museum also identified inconsistencies in regard to:

  • Different formats for information storage and not always stored in the appropriate ‘built for purpose’ system therefore,
  • Current information stored within a network drive or the current EDRMS had inconsistent or inappropriate naming conventions or NAA Business Classifications Schemes applied to the record.

A key component of the transition project was the cultural change program conducted within the Museum to ensure the agency staff recognised the importance and value of compliance with the NAA Digital transition Policy.

Cultural change was implemented through:

  • Education sessions to advise why recordkeeping was so important to the agency,
  • The requirements that were needed to be complied with by the NAA.
  • Developing specialised workshops and training packages on an individual and business unit basis to ensure the uniqueness of each business unit’s information was managed as required from the home location of the business system.

The Museum now creates captures and stores 95% of its information in an EDRMS or certified CMS.

The successful transition of a cultural agency onto an EDRMS system has then enabled the Museum to roll out a similar program at the Museum of Australian Democracy (MOAD) in December 2016.

Agency overview

The National Museum of Australia brings to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia through compelling objects, ideas and programs, with a focus on Indigenous histories and cultures, histories of European settlement and people's interaction with the environment. Since opening in 2001 over 10 million people have visited the Museum and our national and international touring exhibitions have captivated over 5 million visitors.

Our mission is to promote an understanding of Australia’s history and an awareness of future possibilities by:

  • Developing, preserving, digitising and exhibiting a significant national collection
  • Taking a leadership role in research and scholarship
  • Engaging and providing access for audiences nationally and internationally
  • Delivering innovative programs


The Digital Recordkeeping Transition Project commenced in October 2013 to enable the Museum to meet its compliance of current and future digital recordkeeping practices in line with the NAA Digital Transition Policy.

Project objectives

In May 2014, the Museum established a key agency priority of implementing digital recordkeeping. The objectives of the project were:

  • Consolidate the Museum’s digital collections and related assets management system to ensure all systems have the correct data placed to minimise duplication
  • Review Information and Communications Technology (ICT) service delivery arrangements to assist the Museum to ensure appropriate processes are in place to support staff usage of the systems and,
  • Ensure the Museum has current and emerging technologies in place to enable new digital and information technologies to enable updated software to be used to support data within ICT Infrastructure

Project execution

The Project delivered four key phases which involved the following;

Phase 1 – Initiation and Governance – September 2013 to February 2014

The EDRMS Transition Project was endorsed by the Museum’s Major Projects’ Steering Committee (MPSC), which includes a number of the Executive staff. They oversaw the progress and delivery of the EDRMS Transition Project. The EDRMS Project team developed a business case and communication strategy and plan to address the organisational change required.

The Museum’s Recordkeeping Policy and Information Governance Framework was updated to reflect NAA agency recordkeeping requirements.

Phase 2 – Execution – April to June 2014

A review of the Museum’s paper and electronic information in Corporate Management Systems (CMS) was conducted with business units. These included:

  • Network drives, bespoke databases and backup system
  • The Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) which stores information within an audio visual format to support collection material and objects
  • The Collection Management System (EMu) which stores information regarding collection material and objects
  • The FMIS system, Finance1, which holds information which reflects financial transactional related data

Phase 3.2 – Communication – June to July 2014

Communication strategies were developed and initiated to educate staff in readiness for the transition to a digital recordkeeping environment.

A Records Champion Working Group which comprised of a representative from each business unit to assist in the change management project and conduct pilot testing.

Other communications included:

  • A monthly newsletter to engage staff on the progress of the project and why it was being implemented,
  • RM8 briefing sessions to assist staff for key staff to perform digital tasks within the EDRMS when implemented and,
  • A dedicated Museum intranet page to assist staff and provide further education, which included helpful tip sheets to manage digital workflows and process.

By delivering clear and direct communication across the Museum, staff hesitation was mitigated and ranked as a minor risk for staff take up for the transition.

Phase 3.3 – Development of EDRMS– July to September 2014

After analysis of the EDRMS options, the Museum chose to upgrade HP TRIM 7.3 to Records Manager 8.0 (RM8). The decision was based on its status as an NAA compliant system and the ability to maintain the current information within the EDRMS without significant migration effort.

A Configuration Manual was developed to reflect digital workflows used in RM8 and to provide technical system information Museum’s Information Technology (IT) team to assist with implementation and capacity planning.

Paper records were changed to legacy status and new digital record types established. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) was completed from the project team and Records Champions at numerous stages throughout the project to ensure the implementation was fit for purpose within the Museum. Staff training and development packages were tailored to suit each business unit’s unique workflows and information and included input from the Records Champion Working Group (RCWG) and UAT results to ensure recordkeeping practises were standardised across the organisation.

Phase 3.3 – Museum Divisional training and Transition – Late September to November 2014

Training for the agency’s 250 staff was conducted over two months by the Project Manager and a dedicated RM8 trainer and included

– Classroom and one-on-one sessions were developed for staff to adapt to for digital process including:

  • Creating corporate records and documents
  • Enable users to apply security on sensitive information
  • Apply a Business Classification Scheme upon the creation of an official document which would be retained under NAA requirements

– Digital approval process were created to remove the need for paper signatures on information seeking review or approval

– RM8 tip sheets to and RM8 workshops to further develop staff adaption to an EDRMS environment

Phase 4 – Launch of EDRMS – 3 November 2014

The Museum launched into a digital recordkeeping environment with staff migrating data that was previously archived within network or personal drives into the EDRMS. Only information that would be used for continued reference post transition was migrated.

This ensured the information was stored and managed digitally within the EDRMS. The project team created a dedicated helpdesk service for incidents and requests that could not be managed or performed by staff themselves.

Phase 4.1 – Network Drive Review and Closure – November 2014 to April 2015

Four months after launch, the ICT infrastructure team and Digital Information Manager completed a review of the Museum’s network drives. It highlighted a large reduction in network drive size enabling the project team to proceed with switching network drives to read-only.

Large sections of the Museum switched their drive to ‘read only’, including business units that had the largest network drive use due to data-heavy information such as collections content, images and audio.

Using information gathered from support requests to the EDRMS helpdesk, additional education was provided to all staff through RM8 briefing sessions and RM8 tip sheets. The Museum continues to deliver training and development to improve a digital recordkeeping culture.

Project outcomes

The Project outcomes included:

  • Museum established cultural change to successfully implement a digital recordkeeping environment.
  • Through transition to a digital recordkeeping environment and the deliverance of the project found that the Museum had a greater awareness for its information assets.
  • More efficient work processes and complied with the Government recordkeeping standards including the NAA Digital Transition Policy.
  • Cost savings in the first financial year with savings across areas for storage and ICT infrastructure storage capacity

Project impact

Through its own transition, the Museum developed experience to assist other government agencies into a digital recordkeeping environment. In July 2016, the Museum established a partnership with the Museum of Australian Democracy (OPH) to transition them to an EDRMS.

As the agency was heavily reliant on paper-based recordkeeping, a project team was established to ensure the agency were compliant with the NAA Digital Continuity 2020 Policy.

The Museum initiated a network drive clean up of OPH’s current information held. In this time, a Records Champion working group was established to ensure key record champions drove their sections clean-up activities.

The Project Manager designed and configured an EDRMS platform to suit the agencies digital recordkeeping workflows. Tasks included:

  • Switching previous records to legacy
  • Migrating the information from the previous EDRMS to the new purpose built one.
  • New record types created to be used and managed by sections
  • User Acceptance Testing being completed for all new system configuration changes and;
  • An RM8 Configuration Manual designed to assist the ICT System settings

In December 2016,

  • Staff were given the opportunity to learn hands on, delivered through a structured training program, on how to use the EDRMS, and seek further advice and support if required.
  • A dedicated help desk was established for the post transition period to assist staff in their transition when incidents and requests were required to support the use of the EDRMS.
  • A standardised EDRMS system across the agency.

This project was delivered successfully with OPH working in a digital recordkeeping environment.

Nominated section network drives were switched to ‘read only’ on the 28 of February 2017. OPH are now compliant against the NAA Digital Transition Policy. The Museum continues to support OPH through education.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018