New preservation standards for the national archival collection

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Australia's national archive has marked World Digital Preservation Day 2018 by announcing new standards for digitising its priceless collection of physical records.

The Preservation Digitisation Standards developed by the National Archives of Australia set out the technical requirements for digitising physical records in line with international best practice.

The National Archives safeguards the essential records of the Australian Government and holds more than 40 million items in various formats: files, documents, volumes, artworks on paper, registers, index cards, maps, plans, charts, photographic prints and negatives, microform, motion picture films, and video and audio recordings.

The Standards ensure creation of 'master' digital copies that act as effective long-term surrogates for the analogue originals. They also enable the creation of derivative files for public access and minimise physical handling of fragile records. Importantly, the Standards are an effective tool to preserve records at risk of being lost if they are held on unstable media or subject to technological obsolescence.

David Fricker, National Archives Director-General, said digitisation was central to securing the national archival collection for future generations.

'The National Archives' digitisation standards enable us to preserve and maintain the Commonwealth's records to an evidentiary standard; to provide the basis for integrity, transparency and accountability of government actions; to transmit our nation's memory from one generation to the next; and to uphold the rights and entitlements of Australians,' Mr Fricker said.

'Digitising records to the Standards will help ensure all Australians can access our national documentary heritage well into the future, wherever they live, from their computer or device.

'I am very proud to announce the Standards on World Digital Preservation Day – a day when the international archival community comes together to celebrate the collections they have preserved, and the understanding that is fostered through continued access to this valuable material'.

Last month the National Archives hosted an international symposium in conjunction with UNESCO Memory of the World and the International Council on Archives that explored digital heritage and the opportunities and risks that come with rapid technological advancements.

The proceedings of 'Lost in the Cloud: Saving humanity's digital documentary heritage' can be viewed on the National Archives' YouTube channel.

Contact information

Assistant Director, Communications and Media
Mobile: 0417 247157

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