Archives Outside

For people who love, use and manage archives

Archives Outside - For people who love, use and manage archives

August 2012 – Link Roundup

Sharing the love with links.

Where next for open data?

It’s been a big year for the UK government’s open data agenda. Chris Yiu reviews what’s been achieved and asks what needs to

happen next.

Read more at ORG Zine

Text and Texture – Contemporary design bindings of the novels of Patrick White

Archives Outside contributor and Conservator Jill Gurney and Powerhouse Museum Conservator James Elwing both have work on display in this exhibition. Definitely worth taking a look!

WHEN: Between Monday 13 August andSunday 28 October from 09.00 to 05.00


State Library of NSW Shop, Macquarie Street Sydney Sydney 2000
Contact: 02 9273 1611
Opening Hours: Monay to Friday 9am to 5pm Weekends 11am to 5pm
Other Services: Air conditioned, Disabled access, Food outlet, Public toilets


MORE INFO:Anne Eagar 02 94810110

Read the flyer

The role of digital media in cultural heritage institutions

An interview with the Director of Web and New Media Strategy at the Smithsonian Institution

We say that the web, technology, the Internet, are important, but too often, an impartial observer would logically conclude that we can and should be doing more. We say in our Smithsonian web and new media strategy that “some re-balancing of resources and priorities will be required.”

Read the interview

Finding your way around the Dictionary of Sydney

…the first in a series of posts designed to give our readers a bit of a guided tour around the Dictionary, and to help readers get more out of the site. There’s a lot more in there than you may think.

Find your way

The latest from Historypin

Internal Street Views, a trip to Egypt and votes for women

…our first ever pin from inside the White House, of a reception in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Here are some more famous visitors, Princess Diana and John Travolta, dancing in the main entrance hall of the White House…

Read the latest Historypin updates

Want to connect with other archives?

Here are some links from Wikipedia to get you started.

Gamers beware! Especially those in corsets

The Simothsonian has found some helpful tips for those playing games in the ‘old days’. And indeed

Are video games making us violent? Is all that screen time playing Angry Birds bad for us? Are we becoming lazy and inferior beings? Concerns about how we spend our leisure time are so 21st century, but an 1889 catalogue of Milton Bradley’s finest toys and games reveals the anxiety is rooted in history.

And for the ladies

The new corset with elastic material promises to maintain “the dainty waist of the poets” without contributing to the “perishing of the muscles that support the frame.”

Read more helpful tips for game playing


The Postcard Photographs of George Kelly Photographer Dungog

Album of Dungog Postcards by George Kelly Photographer Dungog (c1905-1915), with correspondence on verso of postcards from Edie Kelly (Dungog) – daughter of the photographer George Kelly to Miss Gertie Alder (Hamilton) 1908-1914. Originally in possession of Mr Brian Alder, and given to Mr Ian Clucas, and deposited by him with the University of Newcastle’s Archives on the 15th August 2011.

Check out this digitised collection

NB Quite a few pics here for the rail buffs.


International Council on Archives Congress 2012 – A Climate of Change

Last but definitely not least the full papers and abstracts from The International Council of Archives Congress – 2012. A tresure trove of insight and inspiration.

Dive in!




Got 60 seconds to spare? Check out our social media strategy

Brainstorming has become second nature for us in recent weeks. Starting with our Top 5 Reasons Why Archives Are Awesome we found we were on a roll and continued to ‘storm’, much to the chagrin of other staff.

The Social Media Pool

A social media strategy for the blog is something we’ve been thinking about a lot: 

  • what we do
  • how we do it, and
  • what our goals are.

Our blog is part of several Web 2.0 initiatives at State Records NSW and this strategy may become the basis for the others. It is very basic, only three points and only 60 seconds long.

Our three-point strategy is The Three Cs:

  1. Create
  2. Connect
  3. Collaborate.

If anything, it gave us a chance to see what PowerPoint can do!

Watch the embedded video below or view it on Flickr

We’d love to hear your feedback  in the comments below. What do you think? Is there something missing? Is there anything you would change?

Our Top 5 – why Archives are Awesome

Tomorrow is June 9 and a very special day. It’s International Archives Day! To mark the occasion we have collaborated with our Future Proof sisters to create a joint list of why we think archives are awesome. Check out Future Proof’s Recordkeeping is Awesome post. Here are our five:

Number 1

Archives are History
Documenting the past, informing the future

How could we not use this? It’s our 50 year anniversary slogan. Archives educate; they are the primary source – the ‘raw materials’ – of history. They are evidence of people, places and events in the past and can educate those of today.

And, of course, without a record of the past, Bill and Ted would have continued to believe that Caesar was just a salad dressing, dude.

Past, Present, Future

Past, Present, Future by crises_crs, on Flickr

Number 2

Archives are evidence

…of just about everything. They document social (in)justice, crime, built structures, illness, social change, citizens rights and at the most fundamental level they document us. The good, the bad and the ugly.

On a more trivial note, in Star Wars IV A New Hope – aka Star Wars original version – without those crucial archives (they call them “plans”) of the Death Star carried by R2D2, then Luke Skywalker would never have been able to fire the single shot that blew it up, leaving Darth Vader spinning through space in a tiny little ship getting very, very dizzy.

“It’s not impossible. I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home.” says Luke, following the military briefing on the plans.

Norfolk History Detectives 2: visiting the Act Room

Norfolk History Detectives 2: visiting the Act Room by UK Parliament, on Flickr

Number 3

Archives are vital for democratic accountability

Archives document the decisions a government makes, how they make decisions and how those decisions are implemented. They are the cornerstone of accountable government and allow scrutiny from the public they govern.

Without Archives there would be no X-Files. Just stop for a moment and imagine a world in which Mulder and Scully didn’t truly exist…oh, yes…a very scary place.


detective by olarte.ollie, on Flickr

Number 4

Archives are about us, our stories, our lives

Archives document our lives: births, deaths, marriages, illnesses, misadventures, buildings, voices and images. Their breadth and importance is endless.

“It’s all about the information” [Sneakers 1992]
(N.B. If your reaction to this quote was “…what the?” all we can say in reply is do not stop, do not pass go, go straight home and watch this movie. Sydney Poitier, Robert Redford, River Phoenix, Mary McDonnell, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley and did we mention River Phoenix? Plus, it’s all about data encryption, appalling Russian accents and code breaking. In what other movie do the protagonists throw a party, get drunk and hack into the national power grid? Seriously, why haven’t you seen this already?)

Telling our stories to the National Academy of Engineering

Telling our stories to the National Academy of Engineering by opensourceway, on Flickr

Number 5

Archives document the environment

Archives can show how an environment changes over time. Its soil, vegetation, climate and structures. As an example: Remember our montage to the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge? That one series of photos documents the dramatic changes in that area of Sydney – from land where houses once stood and railway tracks being laid to the two sides of the bridge meeting in the centre and the official opening ceremony and celebrations. Alongside these photos, archival plans, drawings and correspondence show how the northern and southern shores of Sydney linked up.

Climate change: Russian art contest

Climate change: Russian art contest by UNDP Europe and CIS, on Flickr

As Jack Hall says in The Day After Tomorrow, “Mankind survived the last ice age. We’re certainly capable of surviving this one. All depends on whether or not we’re able to learn from our mistakes?” <– Archives.

Check out the Top 5 at Future Proof. And make sure to add your own reasons why archives are awesome in the comments.

Happy International Archives Day! Hug an archivist if you see one (but ask first, just in case).

3 Years for Archives Outside – Happy Birthday! And hello lurkers

Time flew and we nearly missed our birthday. We’ve both been busy with many things, including the “Aesthetics Committee”, a website overhaul and working on an archival storage project so this special day crept up on us quite unexpectedly.

There are nearly 350 posts and over 1300 comments on the blog. We’d like to say Thank You to everyone who visits, reads, guest posts, comments…and lurks. Yes, you! You know who we’re talking about.
quiet third birthday - 26b/365/2010

Birthday day is also the official Archives Outside Annual Lurkers Day

Wikipedia has updated their definition from last year:

In Internet culture, a lurker is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, chatroom, file sharing, social networking site, listening to people in VOIP calls … or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates actively. Research indicates that “lurkers make up over 90% of online groups”

So hello to you, you 90 percenter! Come and join the 10% who, as you have seen, are really very lovely and friendly. Try a comment in the box below and see what happens :-D

If you’d prefer to stay a lurker, don’t worry, you still can. One day you may feel that de-lurkification is possible.

Now, who’s helping to blow out the candles?

So our boss woke up at 3am … and this is what happened (an exhibition revival)

So our boss, State Records Deputy Director Jenni Stapleton, woke up at 3am one morning with a vision. This vision said rail, it said exhibition, it said Western Sydney Records Centre, it said Web 2.0 and it said website.

Articulating the vision

Articulating the vision. Note the good-looking Aesthetics Committee

The streaming thoughts on this morning at 3am ran something along these lines:

  • We have a great public space out at the Western Sydney Records Centre (WSRC) and have been looking for ways to use it to promote our collection.
  • So why not re-visit an exhibition that had previously hung at the State Records Gallery in the city office?
  • This Gallery space will no longer exist once the city reading room closes on June 30.
  • All this lovely past exhibition material is starting to make its way to the WSRC…how can we use it rather than store it?

Making the vision a reality

Step 1

Send an email out to all victims, sorry volunteers, congratulating them on their new membership to the “Aesthetics Committee” (carefully omitting the “Exhibition” word).

Committee Meeting (Meet the "Vounteers")

Committee Meeting (Meet the “Volunteers”)

Step 2
The committee meets to discuss this vision, some feeling a little trepidatious. They were not wrong to feel this way; there was a two week deadline for “vision realisation”.

Step 3

Scare the bejesus out of a member of the conservation team by turning up in the Conservation Lab with a humungous poster measuring two and a half metres long with a large dent punched almost all the way through from the back.

Humungous Poster

Humungous Feature Poster

Step 4

Conduct an expedition to discover and locate items from previous exhibitions (no small matter given the size of the complex at WSRC; it’s so big our retrieval staff clock up roughly 14km a day.

Store room

Store room of forgotten dreams

Step 5

Take supplies for long trek to store room…aha, we found display cases and a lounge, too!

Tally Ho!

Tally Ho! Lots of goodies unearthed

Step 6

The awesome team in digitisation work their magic and find some previously unused images for the exhibition. Blowing up postcard sized images to A3 sized posters proves challenging…

Awesome images

..but not impossible! Wonderful images

Step 7

The amazing team in conservation work their magic to fix holes and inadvertently become experts in double-sided tape application to mount posters onto thick card.

Awesome conservation team at work

Our conservation team at work

Step 8

More members of the Committee convince a lovely roofing guy (who happened to be here with a drill, a level, and a tape measure) to hang the pictures and posters.

Lovely Roofing Guy

Lovely Roofing Guy

Other Committee members tackle the double-sided tape posters.

Easy said….right?

Iphone Leveling

Smartphone levelling (yes, there’s an app for everything) …risky?

Iphone Level Success

Yes, but successful! Go smartphone

Roof repairs also tackled.

Step 9

Clean out display cases and start filling them with items. Print out labels for all items.

Hands at work

Hands at work…careful now


And look what one committee member had hiding at home! Now proudly on display

Step 10

Go all out crazy and get a transparency poster printed up to hang on one of the front windows.

Transparent Vision

Transparent Vision

Installation in progress

Installation in progress…bubbles prove to be persistent

Transparency Complete

Transparency Complete. Hasta la vista Bubbles

Step 11

Sit on lounge and rest

Vision Realised

Vision Realised. No, don’t sleep…not again…didn’t she say this was just Phase One?

Date of Vision: 27 April 2012

Installation Complete: 14 May 2012

This was a great collaborative effort across the whole organisation with “Aesthetics Committee” members coming from the Executive, Digitisition, Conservation, Information and Communication, Archives Control and Public Access. Special mention to our Facilities Manager, everyone’s go-to guy. Oh, and the lovely roofing guy!

And yes, it was fun.

Go team!

Downstairs before installation


Downstairs – BEFORE

Downstairs after installation


Downstairs – AFTER

Upstairs before installation


Upstairs – BEFORE

Upstairs after installation


Upstairs – AFTER

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

Update July 2012: The Romance & Industry exhibition originally ran from August 2005 to February 2006 and was introduced in Vital Signs Issue 8 in the article Globalisation, Nostalgia & Cultural Heritage (PDF, 1.2mb). The Vital Signs magazine was published from March 2002 until September 2006 and had a significant impact on the cultural, archives and records management communities during the period.