Managing our collection

The National Archives of Australia is responsible for accepting, preserving and making Commonwealth records of archival value accessible for current and future generations. The records document what is done and why by Australian Government agencies and Commonwealth persons. They provide evidence of communications, decisions and actions. Increasingly, we accept records in digital form. The approach that the National Archives takes when deciding whether Australian Government records should be kept, destroyed or transferred is outlined by the document, What we keep: Principles for selecting the Australian Government’s national archives.

Documents being repackaged

Archives End-to-End Digital Business Solution Design
Records currently being created by Commonwealth agencies are predominantly digital. Under the Digital Transition Policy, any records that are created digitally after 2015 must be kept in a digital format, and any that are identified as RNA (Retain as National Archives) must be transferred to the National Archives in digital format.

How items come into our care
The Archives holds more than 40 million items. This is the biggest single body of records documenting the history of Australia. The Archives' holdings grow through the transfer of records from government agencies and Commonwealth persons.

Organising our holdings
The records are organised and made accessible through the Commonwealth Record Series System. This archival control system is used to classify and control Commonwealth records. It allows Archives staff and researchers to identify, retrieve and use these records.

Storing our records
The Archives' holdings are stored in purpose-built facilities across Australia. Record storage is a vital component of good records management and is a key preservation strategy.

Preserving our collection 
The Archives has two main strategies to preserve records. The first is to provide appropriate controlled storage conditions for all record formats. The second is to treat formats and records most at risk.

Keeping our records secure
The Archives is responsible for the physical security of records in custody to ensure their authenticity, reliability, integrity and proper use.

Planning for disaster and managing risk
The Archives meets its obligations under the Archives Act 1983 to secure and preserve records in custody. It does this in part with a National Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Strategy for Archival Records, which reduces both the likelihood and impact of a disaster or incident.

Recent descriptive projects

D1051, Original drawings, plans and prints of National Estate properties, 1847–1997. This series consists of drawings, plans, sketches, elevations and details of various National Estate properties in South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria.

Recent preservation imaging

A1200, Australian News and Information Bureau, photographic images, 1945–71. The subjects covered by this series are diverse and include the Australian Government's post-war initiatives and developments in industry, mining, manufacturing, farming, forestry, agriculture, fisheries and food production.

Recent audiovisual preservation

B6154, ABC Melbourne film and sound recordings of television programs, segments and inserts, mid-1950s to mid-1970s. This series includes original film footage of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, episodes of the ABC TV drama Bellbird plus major sporting events.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019