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E-BULLETIN No. 64 – 15 April 2010


Hon Editor, Dr Ruth S. Kerr


1)  National standards for Australian museums and galleries


2)  Innovative use of digitisation


3)  Standards for preservation of digital documents in the United States


4)  Reading handwritten historical documents


4)  Collections Symposium: Caring for the collections


6)  Consider joining the online Australian Historical Societies Support Group



1) National standards for Australian museums and galleries


National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries:


The Standards obviously provide direct guidance, but they also provide links to lots of relevant resources.


(Source: – February 2010)




2)  Innovative use of digitisation


There was a fascinating article in the Australian of 22 March 2010 (reproduced from The Times) by Ben Macintyre, 'The jigsaw puzzle revealing a picture of Germany's painful past'. It's about the German computer engineer Dr Betram Nickolay's project to recover via digitization 45m finely torn documents from the Stasi's most incriminating files. (The documents had been torn because their electric shredders collapsed).
There are a number of lessons in it including for those keen on digitization of historic records.


(Source: – 23 March 2010)



3)  Standards for preservation of digital documents in the United States


National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) workshop in USA initiated steps toward standards for preserving digital data.


Congress has mandated that agencies preserve digitally born records, and the nation’s laboratories, libraries, museums and other institutions are preserving huge amounts of existing analog data in digital formats. But much of this information is at risk of being lost or inaccessible because of a lack of common standards.


“Everybody is doing their own thing to preserve data, but they are not doing it in a common way,” said Wo Chang, a computer scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. “This is a huge problem.”

The problem was addressed by digital preservation experts at a workshop hosted by NIST this week to identify requirements for an international standard. An approved standard probably is at least two years away and then it will address only a preliminary set of needs, Chang said. “We want to address as big a picture as possible, but we have to prioritize.”

But that standard would be the beginning of a framework for preserving the terabytes, petabytes, and exabytes of data being created and saved each year in a bewildering variety of formats.

The U.S. Workshop on Roadmap for a Digital Preservation Interoperability Roadmap, held in Gaithersburg, Md., March 29 through 31, was co-sponsored by NIST with the U.S. International Committee for Information Technology Standards, the International Standards Organization and the International Electrotechnical Commission. It will be followed by an international symposium in Dresden, Germany, beginning April 21.

“Both roadmaps will be combined and provided to the ISO/IEC study group to standardize a digital preservation interoperability framework,” said Chang, manager of the Digital Media Group in the Information Access Division of NIST’s information Technology Lab and chairman for the program.

By William Jackson, 2 April 2010


(Source: – 7 April 2010)



4)  Reading handwritten historical documents



State Records New South Wales has a blog Archives Outside to which they have added tips for reading hand written documents. This is a new challenge for young researchers. The link is


or go to the Archives Outside home page at


(Source: – 6 April 2010)



5) Collections Symposium:  “Caring for the collections”


Reflections on recent developments in the assessment, storage and conservation of Australian museum collections


Visions Theatre, National Museum of Australia

Friday 14 May 2010


The National Museum of Australia is continuing its tradition of holding an annual Collections Symposium, bringing together museum scholars, professionals and students from across Australia to discuss the nature and uses of museum collections.


This year’s Symposium will focus on recent developments in the assessment, storage and conservation of museum collections and will showcase recent work undertaken by the National Museum and other institutions in the area of collections management.


Topics to be discussed include the use of significance criteria in driving collections management decisions, collections access in the digital world, and the development of new storage facilities in Australian museums.


Speakers include:


• Philip Jones, South Australian Museum

• Maryanne McCubbin, Museum Victoria

• Jennifer Sanders, Museums Australia

• Mathew Trinca, National Museum of Australia

• Margy Burn, National Library of Australia

• Michael Crayford, Australian National Maritime Museum


The full program is available at:


Registration for the symposium is free but due to limited spaces, bookings are essential on (02) 6208 5021.


For further information about the conference contact:


Guy Hansen

Conference convenor and senior curator

Collections Development          National Museum of Australia       Phone: (02) 6208 5135


(Source: NMA flyer)



6)  Consider joining the online Australian Historical Societies Support Group


The online Australian Historical Societies Support Group, through an arrangement between the Federation of Australian Historical Societies (FAHS) and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, is one of the My Connected Community (mc2) groups initiated and funded by the Victorian Government’s Connecting Communities policy. 


The Australian Historical Societies Support Group offers participating historical societies, like-minded bodies and their members a variety of free, easy to use Web-based services which they can use to communicate with each other across the nation and the world on any topic that is of interest or concern to their organisations.  


The mc2 website provides easy access to online technologies now available for communicating between group members. Features of mc2 include a forum, an events list, space for sharing files, space for sharing photos, a links page and a chat room.


Details on how to join the Group are available at the FAHS website at:  Follow the “Support” and “Support Group” links from the home page.


(Source: FAHS Council)