Strategic priority 3: Developing leadership in the digital environment

Digitisation enables users to connect the patchwork of dispersed cultural collections. We are committed to becoming a leader in the stewardship of Australia’s audiovisual collections in the digital environment. While the NFSA already undertakes significant digitisation activity as part of our management of the national audiovisual collection, what is required to ensure the long-term availability of our cultural memory as a whole is greater cross-sector collaboration, legislative reform, a strong budgetary commitment, and increased private sector support.

Outcome: We will become a leader in the stewardship of Australia’s digital audiovisual collections, and collaborate across all tiers of government to advance the digitisation and discoverability of Australia’s cultural collections.

Table 4: Strategic priority 3: Developing leadership in the digital environment
Objective Initiatives/strategies to achieve against outcome and objectives,
2016–17 to 2019–20
Target 2016-17 Result 2016-17
Objective 3A
Increase the discoverability of NFSA’s digital collection
3A.1 Enhance NFSA’s  digital collection content and data discoverability Increase digital collection content online Achieved

Objective 3B
Increase our capacity and capability to manage digital preservation of all collection formats in accordance with best practice models and working within our resources
3B.1 Provide targeted training and development opportunities for staff in the management of digital audiovisual assets, for example in film digitisation and digital film workflows There is an increasing number of targeted training and development opportunities for staff Achieved
3B.2 Invest in infrastructure to support digital preservation capacity in-house Identified digital preservation infrastructure procured and implemented Achieved
Objective 3C
Ensure our management of digital collections is aligned with international best practice, and ensure sector leadership through continuous learning and targeted training
3C.1 Support and drive knowledge exchange and thought leadership in relation to digital cultural collections Demonstrated sector leadership through engagement in national and international fora Achieved
Objective 3D
Work with others to champion the development of a national framework to enable increased access to Australia’s cultural collections
3D.1 Continue work on a collaborative business plan to address the large- scale digitisation of audio and video tape collections across the national collecting institutions by 2025 Business plan developed outlining long-term plan for large-scale digitisation Achieved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2016–17 to 2019–20 page 8

 

Objective 3A

Increase the discoverability of the NFSA’s digital collection

3A.1 Enhance the NFSA’s digital collection content and data discoverability

Target Result
Increase digital collection content online Achieved

 

 

 

 

Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2016–17 to 2019–20 page 8

 

What we achieved

Through our new website, online exhibitions, curated collections, Facebook page and YouTube channels we continue to create new pathways for users to discover our digital collection content (see 1B.1 and 1B.2).

In March 2017 we completed a major new release of our collection management system, Mediaflex, which included a new system protocol to support the implementation of federated search for our website in 2017–18. Federated search will significantly improve our online users’ ability to easily search NFSA.gov.au, our Search the Collection database and our other related platforms and sites.

Objective 3B

Increase our capacity and capability to manage the digital preservation of all collection formats in accordance with best practice models and working within our resources

3B.1 Provide targeted training and development opportunities for staff in the management of digital audiovisual assets, for example, in film digitisation and digital film workflows

Target Result
There is an increasing number of targeted training and development opportunities for staff Achieved

 

 

 

 

 

Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2016–17 to 2019–20 page 8

 

What we achieved

In 2016–17 our staff continued to receive targeted training and development in the management of digital audiovisual assets. This training encompassed our curatorial staff who acquire digital content, as well as accessioning staff who ingest it into our collection management system, Mediaflex. It also encompassed our projectionists in the Arc cinema, and our specialised preservation staff in Digital and Media Operations who are operating highly technical digitisation equipment. Skills sharing and the continual refinement of workflows across our organisation throughout 2016–17 improved our digitisation capability.

3B.2  Invest in infrastructure to support digital preservation capacity in-house

Target Result
Identified digital preservation infrastructure procured and implemented Achieved

 

 

 

 

 

Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2016–17 to 2019–20 page 8

 

What we achieved

In 2016–17 we continued to invest in infrastructure to support our in-house digital preservation capacity. These upgrades included:

  • increasing our video digitisation capacity via the purchase of four new ingest systems to service the digitisation of magnetic videotape
  • upgrading our current film scanner, giving us the new capability to digitise 35mm film at 4K resolution
  • enhancing the capacity of our systems to manage born-digital material with the purchase of a new transcoding system
  • investing in a new Picture Quality Analyser to assist us with a suite of repeatable, objective quality measurements that closely correspond with subjective human visual assessment, ensuring the quality of our digitisation.

Objective 3C

Ensure our management of digital collections is aligned with international best practice, and ensure sector leadership through continuous learning and targeted training

3C.1 Support and drive knowledge exchange and thought leadership in relation to digital cultural collections

Target Result
Demonstrated sector leadership
through engagement in national and international fora
Achieved

 

 

 

 

 

Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2016–17 to 2019–20 page 8

 

What we achieved

Throughout 2016–17 we continued to play a role in knowledge exchange and thought leadership in relation to digital cultural collections at a national and international level. We also held the second of our series of symposia focused on the challenges of digital cultural collections. Digital Directions 2016 was held on 26 October, attended by around 120 delegates drawn from the GLAM and government sectors. More information on the symposium is provided in the snapshot on page 37.

We also hosted the 2016 conference of the Australasian Sound Recordings Association
which focused on the urgent imperative to digitise collections of audio material, with members attending from across Australasia.

In April 2017 we participated actively in the International Federation of Film Archives Congress in Los Angeles, chairing a panel to discuss archival needs, accessibility and challenges regarding digital subtitling. The panel included archive and commercial supplier representatives and began debate on technologies, rights and the urgent need to expand digital resources. We also participated in the related, regional meeting of the South East Asia and Pacific Audiovisual Archives Association and the Forum of Asian Film Archives to discuss key issues. These included digitisation and analogue preservation challenges, and the construction and availability of archival-quality digital technologies. Subsequent visits to the NFSA by regional colleagues are planned for early 2018.

Objective 3D

Work with others to champion the development of a national framework to enable increased access to Australia’s cultural collections

3D.1 Continue work on a collaborative business plan
to address the large-scale digitisation of audio and videotape collections across the national collecting institutions by 2025

Target Result
Business plan developed outlining
long-term plan for large-scale digitisation
Achieved

 

 

 

 

 

Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2016–17 to 2019–20 page 8

 

What we achieved

In 2016–17 we continued our work on building a collaborative approach to addressing the increased challenge of digitising our audio and video magnetic tape collections by 2025. We worked with five Australian Government agencies to develop a framework for the large-scale digitisation of magnetic media. These agencies were the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian War Memorial, the National Archives of Australia, and the National Library of Australia.

The framework identifies the scope and scale of our digitisation challenges, including the gap between current digitisation activity and the requirement to digitise to meet ‘Deadline 2025’, the anticipated date when magnetic media will no longer be accessible due to physical and technological obsolescence. We are continuing to work as a group to look for a common approach to large-scale digitisation and to advocate for increased support to assist our digitisation activities.

Snapshot

Digital Challenges in the cutural world

In November 2016 we held our second annual Digital Directions symposium. The sold-out event explored key digital issues affecting the cultural sector, and cultural collecting institutions in particular.

Jan Müller, Chief Executive Officer of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, gave the keynote address. He discussed the challenges of digital transformation and the need for cultural institutions to be adaptable. As he explained:

Only organisations that are able to continually re-invent themselves can retain their relevance in this technology-dominated and networked area. Our institutions must focus on reaching users in both the physical and virtual worlds. The key challenge is to optimally help the users to realise their goals within this media mix.

The event was live-streamed to maximise participation across the country. Delegates included leaders from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, Google Creative Lab, Museums Australia, the State Library of NSW, and Deloitte Access Economics. We delivered the conference in partnership with the National Archives of Australia.

Preparations for Digital Directions 2017 are now under way.