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Our work

What does the NFSA DO?

The National Film and Sound Archive tells the national story by collecting, preserving and sharing audiovisual media, the cultural experience platforms of our time. 


What does the NFSA collect?

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) collects moving image and sound production from its earliest days to the present and into the future. Drama, actuality and documentary, creative arts, social and scientific history, comedy, video games, experimental and unique amateur audiovisual records are all represented. Formats span the analogue era, from nitrate film and wax cylinders, through to format iterations of the 20th century (acetate and vinyl discs, audiotape, CDs, polyester film, broadcast video tape and various home movie formats).  

The collection includes the latest digital files produced by today’s media creators and professionals, and ongoing creative advances in multimedia and multiplatform creative expression. Documentation and artefacts also form a large part of the collection, including stills, scripts, posters, manuscripts, multimedia design concepts and walkthroughs, media industry oral history interviews, costumes and vintage equipment. 


How does the NFSA preserve the collection? 

The NFSA is internationally recognised as a leader in audiovisual preservation. We preserve and digitise the collection, maintaining and conserving work in its original format where possible, digitising to preserve content and to provide long-term access, and maintaining safe and secure storage for physical and digital collection material.  

Materials preserved by the NFSA range from 19th and 20th century analogue formats through to the contemporary digital formats used by content makers today. We are answering the need to preserve assets such as video games, Instagram Reels and TikToks, so that future generations can understand and enjoy them. 

In recent years, the NFSA has responded to the urgent need to digitise our collection for long-term preservation, particularly items on unstable and obsolete carriers such as magnetic tape. The Australian Government’s 2021 investment of $42m over four years has enabled us to fast-track this preservation activity, and to digitise at-risk items in the collections of seven other national institutions. To support this work, we have built a dedicated program team named AudioVisual Australia (AVA).  


How does the NFSA share the collection?

The NFSA’s growing collection is available for all Australians to enjoy via digital channels and platforms. We regularly share gems and stories from Australia’s audiovisual history creating opportunities to learn, share and reminisce.  

Our Search the Collection portal allows users to identify and request access to collection materials. The NFSA’s experienced Access Services team works with audiovisual production industries, media, cultural and educational organisations, academics and corporate clients to facilitate access to collection materials in line with Australia’s copyright and intellectual property frameworks. 

The NFSA reaches millions of people each year through public campaigns, programs and services, including the Sounds of Australia, NFSA Restores, public screenings and events, and learning programs delivered online and at our headquarters in Acton, Canberra.