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Our nation's memory to go online.

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Our nation's memory to go online

The Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator Rod Kemp, today announced that a national online network is to be developed to make the archives of Australia available to all Australians.

'As one of the most successful democracies in the world, Australia's rich heritage is one in which we can all be justifiably proud. The archives of Australia contain the recorded memory of the nation with thousands of stories of Australians as soldiers, migrants, pioneers, and citizens, and the National Online Archival Network will provide access to those stories for everyone regardless of where they live,' Senator Kemp said.

'The name of the game these days in museums, libraries and archives is accessibility, and modern communications and digital technology are enabling us to make the vast resources of Australia's archives available to all.'

Senator Kemp acknowledged the role of the Council of Federal, State and Territory Archives (COFSTA) who have appointed Phillip Dermody of Distant Communications Technologies to prepare a strategic plan for the National Online Archival Network.

'I applaud COFSTA's initiative in undertaking this bold online project. It will have a powerful impact in making Australia's archives more accessible for their users,' Senator Kemp said.

Mr Dermody recently completed the business analysis for the redevelopment of Australian Museums and Galleries On Line (AMOL) website for the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts on behalf of the Cultural Ministers Council. AMOL and the National Online Archival Network will be exploring areas of common interest in promoting access to, and involvement by, regional communities in online initiatives.

The strategic plan to be developed will enable COFSTA to determine the best model in terms of cost and viability for the national online archival network. The plan will be presented to COFSTA early in 2004.

The Minister's announcement coincides with the National Conference of the Australian Society of Archivists in Adelaide (17-20 September), which has as its theme: GLAM-Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums. This year's theme complements the current feasibility study initiated by the Cultural Ministers Council to establish a national industry body to represent all the Australian collecting institutions.

CANBERRA 17 September 2003

Media contact: Richard Wise, 02 6277 7350 or 0438 204 554