A new building, but National Archives hopes not to fill it

The Commonwealth’s move to digital records management is — mostly — on track. The National Archives boss wants agencies to incorporate the shift into their wider transformation plans.

More than 10 years after former top Commonwealth mandarin Peter Shergold launched the Australasian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative, most of the federal bureaucracy is on track to make the transition, as required, by the end of this year.

National Archives of Australia director-general David Fricker thinks that, realistically, about 80-85% of Commonwealth agencies will meet the Digital Transition target — but he’s still aiming for 100%, and working on a more precise estimation of who’s on track, who isn’t, and what quantity of Commonwealth records different agencies contribute. Until then it won’t be clear what percentage of records will be kept in digital format and managed digitally from 2016.

“Look, it’s fair to say that the transition to digital information management, while managing various other transitions that are going on across government, can be problematic,” Fricker told The Mandarin yesterday, just after announcing the arrangements for a new repository for physical records to be built in 2017, which Fricker hopes will be the last of its kind.

The flash new building is expected to take care of the NAA’s storage needs until at least 2031. But long before then, he says the Commonwealth needs a “21st century solution” for its archives.

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