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Future Proofing Australia's Shared History

Future Proofing Australia's Shared History

NFSA WELCOMES SIGNIFICANT FUNDING BOOST TO SAFEGUARD AUDIOVISUAL COLLECTION

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) will receive an additional $41.9 million in Federal Government funding over four years to digitise the nation’s at-risk audiovisual heritage, held across eight National Collecting Institutions (NCIs).

The significant announcement, made today in Canberra by The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Treasurer, The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, and Senator The Hon Zed Seselja, Minister for International Development and the Pacific, allows the NFSA to double its current video and audio digitisation efforts, ensuring critical moments in our nation’s memory are preserved for generations to come.

The funding announcement supports:

  • Digitising approximately 240,000 at-risk audio, video and film items, held by the NFSA and seven other NCIs, before they deteriorate irretrievably.
  • Safeguarding at-risk First Nations audiovisual collections.
  • Increasing existing digitisation efforts across film, audio and video.
  • Significantly expanding our digital storage capacity from 6 Petabytes to 165 Petabytes over four years.
  • Boosting storage and cybersecurity, to protect vulnerable systems from cyber-attack.
  • Creating an off-site data centre to provide improved security and a world leading disaster recovery capability.
  • The ongoing digital preservation of newly digitised material for each participating institution.

The seven other National Collecting Institutions to benefit are: the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), Australian National Maritime Museum, Australian War Memorial, National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia, and Questacon.

The NFSA received a federal funding boost in 2020 of $5.5 million over four years to kickstart a critical project to digitise some of the NFSA’s audio and video magnetic tape collection to the highest archival standards, before it was lost forever. Today’s funding announcement extends that work to support the digitisation of all known at-risk audiovisual material held in the NFSA collection and in the collections of several other institutions.

NFSA Chief Executive Officer, Patrick McIntyre, says today’s funding will allow the NFSA to digitise the most at-risk film across the NCIs, and will support cultural institutions to secure the future of our shared audiovisual heritage.

“We thank the government for responding to this urgent need to protect our audiovisual heritage. It represents a major commitment to preserving Australia’s history for future generations.

“The stories and memories these materials contain provide us with an immediate connection to our lived past, as well as insights into our national character and where we might be heading. And audiovisual media keep these stories alive in uniquely vital and moving ways. This boost in funding will allow us to get ahead of the risks of obsolete playback equipment and deteriorating tape formats.”

This multi-year project will build upon existing capacity, infrastructure and skills at the NFSA, cementing its position as a leader in audiovisual digitisation. All collecting institutions which hold audiovisual material have a shared responsibility to safeguard it. This collaborative approach will realise efficiencies, share knowledge and transfer skills, ensuring more people engage with, learn from, and can use Australia’s audiovisual heritage in a digital format.

NFSA Head of Collection, Jacqui Uhlmann, says decades of news and popular culture remains in analogue formats, and the NFSA is working hard to digitise it all.

“This is a major investment in our future, ensuring we can save thousands of hours of radio, Digitising our collection - our memories - is a major ongoing process. We look forward to collaborating with other cultural institutions and establishing workflows to support large-scale digitisation. This is a critical project that will benefit all Australians.”

Images/vision here

Media enquiries:

Nicola Gage | Communications Manager | 0421469733 | nicola.gage@nfsa.gov.au

ABOUT THE NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE OF AUSTRALIA

The NFSA’s mission is to collect, preserve and share Australia’s vibrant and diverse audiovisual culture as embodied by our evolving collection – reflecting who we were, who we are, and who we want to be.

Audiovisual technologies enable us to capture moments in time: moving image and sounds in their most vivid forms. At over 3 million items, the NFSA collection transforms these records into ‘living memories’ – the many facets of Australia’s peoples, cultures, ideas and beliefs, both over time and across the land.