ANU Archives launches new database

06 Jun 2014

The Australian National University Archives has launched a new database which makes national treasures of business, unions and The University available online for the first time.

National Archives of Australia Director-General David Fricker launched the new ANU Archives database, which includes historic documents from Australia's colonial history.

"The ANU Archives has almost 20 kilometres of records, which are now searchable via major search engines such as Google and accessible right from the homepage of the ANU Archives website," Mr Fricker said. "This is a very exciting day for the ANU Archives."

The database uses International Council on Archives (ICA) Access to Memory software  (ICA-AtoM), an open-source web-based software that is based on the international standards. Using the standards mean the ANU Archives records are contributed to collaborative networks with other archives, including the National Library's Trove.

Among the treasures are copies of letters from New South Wales to the London Office of the Australian Agricultural Company, and copies of letters by Company staff from 1824.

The archives also contain records of the establishment of the first Australian branch of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers Union, when a group of 26 members held a meeting on board the Frances Walkeren route to Sydney on 8 October 1852.

"The database provides researchers with a self-service framework for accessing the information they are interested in, in a much simpler way," said University Archivist, Maggie Shapley.

"Links have been created between the database and the University's repository for digital material, the ANU Digital Collections, so researchers can access archival material online and as they need it."

More than 40 per cent of item lists, or 60,000 items, have so far been entered on the database.

A number of significant items held in the ANU Archives are currently on display in the Treasures of the ANU Archives exhibition in the Menzies Library foyer and Archives Reading Room until 30 September.

The database can be searched via the ANU Archives homepage.