The future of the State's Archival collection

Contribute to the discussion about the future of the State's Archival collection below. Some of the areas you may like to comment on include:

What types of State and Local Government records do you think should be kept as part of the State’s Archive?

What types of State and Local Government records do you think should be destroyed when they are no longer required for their original purpose?

Are there specific types of State and Local Government records that should be kept for the benefit of rural, regional or other communities in South Australia?

Do you have any ideas on how State Records can better preserve the State’s Archive?

Do you have any ideas on how State Records can make the State’s Archive more accessible to the community?

Comments closed

Geraldine Gillen

30 Nov 2018

I did not even know this was happening and hope you take a late comment. Our State's records MUST be kept and made readily available to all. I would like to see more Government publicity for all our history. Instead of wasting money on a new hotel, it is more important for me to know where I can access records of my forebears - since 1840. What is available for free online? For those of us who live in country regions and cannot get to Adelaide, we want our records available on line. I see the keeping of our records of vital importance, no cuts please, but an increase in the service you provide.

Fred Fred

29 Nov 2018

Fir historical and legal reasons no records should be destroyed.

Favid Temby

29 Nov 2018

Firstly, thank you for allowing this opportunity to give feedback on these changes.

After reading the draft document and the (existing?) document which outlines criteria, my comments are as follows:
1. Both documents seem to be writtem at such a high level that it is difficult to provide specicif feedback - for instance, I cannot provide sensibld feedback on the types of records to be retained without an existing knowledge of the types that exist and are not detailed.
2. I suggest that special consideration should be made of records held by public otganisations that hsve eithee ceased to exist, or more importantly, those that have had their operation "outsourced" to the private sector, where past and present records may well "fall between the cracks"?
3. I also suggest that in cases where in the past some pulic interest information has been published in daily or periodic newspapers, this should not be relied upon now or in the future. The daily newspapers in Adelaide in particular have seen the space given to state-based information shrink or simply disappear over the last few decades, as a comparison of Advertisers of different eras will show; it is no longer a "paper of record".

Thank you - David

Bas de Groot

27 Nov 2018

There are a few comments I'd like to make:
- Currently, there is an imperfect understanding of how Government Agencies conduct their business and manage their records. For a large part, this is because agencies themselves are not capable of providing up-to-date information about their organisational structure, business processes and capabilities, recordkeeping procedures and responsibilities, and software architectures. In other countries and jurisdictions (WA, UK, the Netherlands), it is a requirement for government agencies to submit recordkeeping plans or plans in which the classification of, management of, and access to records is laid out. Making such recordkeeping plans obligatory for government agencies will greatly enhance transparency, business efficiency and planning capability of both State Records and the agencies that it works for.
- There are many issues and events where State Records records and records from other institutions like the State Library, local historical collections, newspapers etc overlap in providing a clear picture of such issues/events. More effort should be put into identifying such issues/events, so that it becomes clear which government- and non-government records complement each other to provide the fullest picture available.
- Re: interactions with the public, contact should be sought with the SA Public Library Network in order to connect the new digital archival system to the digital content that the Libraries SA website(s) provide(s). Likewise, cooperation with Trove can be sought (I know they don't push much governmental content at the moment yet, but there is a precedence, as they do provide access to the Government Gazettes already, which is a government publication).
- More time and effort should be invested in providing culturally appropriate access to records relating to Indigenous affairs. This forms a strong element both in Reconciliation efforts and in national and state identity building.

Tim Kelly

13 Nov 2018

PROPERTY TITLES
I was recently advised that property titles provided to banks when mortgages in order to borrow funds, are being destroyed and will never be returned. I am not sure if this matter falls under the jurisdiction of state records but the conversation needs to start somewhere.
We never agreed to this when we took out our bank loan. Whilst hard title documents may no longer be needed due to electronic records, I do not believe that it is right or fair to destroy the documents without the knowledge or consent of the property owners. Many of these documents are historic by their nature and extend back to colonial and federation times. If the the state and the banks don't want to care for the records, those that have not yet been destroyed should be offered back to the property owners, signed off as 'Historic Value Only', if necessary.

Government Agency

State Records of South Australia > Tim Kelly

28 Nov 2018

Thank you for adding to the discussion Tim, I'm not sure about the details for retention of property titles with banks - so it may be worth discussing with your bank and the Lands Titles Office. However, it is a good point that records retain a historical value after their transactional use has ended - perhaps more general awareness of the historical value is needed within Government and businesses?

Tim Kelly

13 Nov 2018

LEGAL RECORDS DESTROYED - WHY?
When I found out that all the records from the Adelaide Magistrates Court from 1980 to 2000 were destroyed I was absolutely gob smacked.
Can you imagine how people feel when trying to access a very important file and the response is
* "As per the previous email the Court does not hold these documents anymore, they have been destroyed, as per a direction granted by Parliament".
* "Records may have been approved for destruction if a summary record was also maintained and this was deemed to hold enough information of ongoing value".
* "...haven’t been able to identify a summary register of cases for the Adelaide Local Court covering 1980..."

The Draft Strategy and Appraisal Policy contain nice words and principles, but in the end, people with no connection or appreciation of a file, who may not even open and read a file, will be deciding to destroy a file, in fact thousands of files.
In regard to the file I was seeking to access, if any officer had actually read the file and understood the context, I do not believe that the file would have been destroyed.
As a principle, there should be an acknowledgement that those deciding to destroy files cannot know if these are or will be important or not. One suggestion to me was that higher court records are kept but the Adelaide Magistrates Court records were not as important. My view is that these records are the history of South Australia, and in destroying records on Adelaide's civil claims and many other areas of legal proceedings, denies the natural justice of history from being available and recoverable to individuals, families, future generations and historians.

As a second principle, South Australia should commit to digitising all records before hard copies are destroyed. If this is regarded as too onerous, then bring in some new people, ideas and technologies who are committed to making the task of digitising files faster and cheaper. It simply must be done.

Government Agency

State Records of South Australia > Tim Kelly

28 Nov 2018

Hi Tim, thank you for posting your discussion here and I appreciate your points - the value of records can change over time and some information will become more valuable to the community in the future. Future value of records can be hard to predict, especially when the future users of the records may not be involved in decisions about disposal. Could wider community discussion about new disposal schedules for Government agencies help guide which records are kept permanently? If individuals who have an interest in certain records, or that field of research, have a clearer idea about how the records are being dealt with it may provide more opportunities for consultation.
Digitising hard copy records is a good idea for an alternative storage method for records, but it may not be feasible to keep copies of every record created. This is where better decisions about what is kept come in, and indeed where we need new ideas to make digitisation and keeping records more sustainable.

Grant Bussell

12 Nov 2018

I'd keep everything ... the cost of actually removing all that stuff is more than the cost of keeping it. The records mainly need to be kept dry, which is pretty easy in SA. All that information could provide a gem of a discovery in years to come.

Government Agency

State Records of South Australia > Grant Bussell

28 Nov 2018

Hi Grant, thanks for your comment. We are fortunate to have good climate conditions in South Australia to store physical records, and we're looking to secure more climate controlled storage especially for fragile mediums like film. We agree that the researchers of the future are going to appreciate all the careful records management and archive work done today!