Australia's National Archives given $67 million to digitise historical artefacts

WW2 service records and tapes of the Stolen Generation royal commission are said to be at risk in their current form

The Australian government has awarded the National Archives of Australia $67.7 million (£36.3 million) in funding in a bid to help the organisation preserve its at-risk records and overhaul its cyber security systems.

Assistant minister to the attorney-general senator, the Hon Amanda Stoker, told ABC that the funding would be used to preserve and digitise the National Archives’ most vulnerable collections, hire additional archivists and enhance cyber security. This includes an “accelerated” four-year digitisation programme and measures to “improve cyber-resilience capabilities”.

A number of records have been identified as being potentially at risk of being damaged or lost in storage, including 11 million photographic items and almost 400,000 audio-visual items on magnetic media and films. This includes service records of WW2 soldiers, recordings of indigenous languages and ceremonies, and tapes of the Stolen Generation royal commission, an investigation into how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were taken from their families.

National Archives of Australia director David Fricker told ABC the funding would be a “game-changer”.

"I'm pleased to report today that I think this funding is adequate to ensure those records at risk of loss will be rescued, which is great news," he said.

A report released in March 2021 by David Tune, a former Department of Finance secretary, found that the National Archives was struggling to invest in its digital systems and that as so many records had deteriorated they were at risk of being lost if action was not taken.

Related Resource

The total economic impact of Nutanix for end user computing

Cost savings and business benefits enabled by Nutanix HCI for end user computing

The total economic impact of Nutanix for end-user computing - whitepaper from NutanixDownload now

“Resources are needed to invest in contemporary technologies that will meet the volume of digital transfer, preservation, storage, declassification, and public access required under the Act. Stronger cyber security measures are also an urgent priority. And the mandate to require better recordkeeping needs strengthening,” it said.

With a lack of funding from the government, the National Archives had previously turned to crowdfunding, with most of its donations coming from the public via its website.

In the UK, the Imperial War Museum recently revealed how its system updates, stores, and protects the records of past conflicts, and the challenges that have come with this.

Its primary digital archive uses tape drives, given the medium's stability, high capacity, and cost-effectiveness for long-term storage, compared to spinning-disk or solid state drives. In contrast to other organisations, which can streamline their data intakes and offload older data, the IWM has to retain the vast bulk of its digital assets in perpetuity.

Featured Resources

How virtual desktop infrastructure enables digital transformation

Challenges and benefits of VDI

Free download

The Okta digital trust index

Exploring the human edge of trust

Free download

Optimising workload placement in your hybrid cloud

Deliver increased IT agility with the cloud

Free Download

Modernise endpoint protection and leave your legacy challenges behind

The risk of keeping your legacy endpoint security tools

Download now

Recommended

Rackspace fortifies APAC footprint with new acquisition
cloud computing

Rackspace fortifies APAC footprint with new acquisition

19 Jan 2022
IOC defends China Olympics app after 'devastating flaw' revealed
Security

IOC defends China Olympics app after 'devastating flaw' revealed

19 Jan 2022
NSW ditches e-voting system after glitch left citizens unable to vote
digital transformation

NSW ditches e-voting system after glitch left citizens unable to vote

18 Jan 2022
Tonga communications could be down for "weeks" following volcanic eruption
Network & Internet

Tonga communications could be down for "weeks" following volcanic eruption

17 Jan 2022

Most Popular

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

6 Jan 2022
How to speed up Windows 11
Microsoft Windows

How to speed up Windows 11

7 Jan 2022
Synology DiskStation DS2422+ review: A cube of great capacity
network attached storage (NAS)

Synology DiskStation DS2422+ review: A cube of great capacity

10 Jan 2022