Exploring and visualising data August 15, 2016 No Comments

Data visualisation has the digital universe all mesmerised and here at State Records, we are always interested in learningsmarties-chart what other agencies are doing on this space.

The DX Lab at the State Library of NSW has already started experimenting on visualising its data. They have produced some amazing data visualisation projects which showcase the Library’s collections, data sets and services: 1001 PostcardsLoom, and Weemala.

Ann and I met the team and Elisa Lee who along with Adam Hinshaw are the inaugural fellows for the DX Lab.  Elisa and Adam’s work is at prototype stage at the moment and they are using web logs to visualise in real-time the content people are accessing from the collection via the State Library of NSW’s website and external sites such as Trove and Flickr. “It is essentially a view of the collection curated by the people who are accessing it at any given time, a window display into the treasures the library contains.”

From a user’s perspective, this type of data visualisation allows the user another way of exploring the library’s collections – both published and non-published items. It also provides insights into what other users are looking for, including patterns and relationships with several items.

For more information on Elisa and Adam’s progress, check their blog.

This post will hopefully spark some thinking of how we can use data visualisation principles / techniques to grab the attention of our clients and executives to support records and information management initiatives.  We keep a lot of records and information, and we have metrics to document what we do.  Maybe it’s time we present it visually.

Please contact us if your organisation has done some data visualisation, or are using big data or data analytics as we are interested to hear your experiences.

Photo credit: Areta Ekarafi on Flickr used under creative commons license (CC BY NC-ND 2.0)


Trust no one? The truth is out there August 12, 2016 No Comments

Large-Scale Research in a Small Package

Much has been made of privacy concerns around the 2016 Australian census. Unfairly or not, much of the early discourse[1] was centred on the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ intention to retain name and address information for four years. Many commentators have shared their views on whether they trust the government on how they will use this information or protect it from malicious use. Far less is being said about how it will maintain this information.

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Digital Implementers Group – mashing six TRIM implementations into one funky remix August 2, 2016 No Comments

NAA: J2364, 6568/3 Centenary display and dinner, Communications House, 8 October 1980.
We recently convened our regular hex-hebdomadal Digital Implementers Group meeting. Dr Ann Turner shared some fascinating insights into her experiences consolidating six distinct TRIM implementations into a single TRIM instance for the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS). Dr Richard Lehane spoke about the philosophy and practice of our Digital State Archives.

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New FAQs – Council Amalgamations and Checklist July 27, 2016 No Comments

Administrative ChangeFAQs:  Council Amalgamations – managing records and information through transition and administrative change

This FAQ provides some advice around recent questions State Records has received in relation to Council amalgamations.

  • What information do you need to consider?
    Information is an asset needed for the business of local government to continue; this is critical at any time but is especially important to assist in transitioning to new administrative arrangements…..
  • What do you need to think about?
    It is vital that records continue to be created, captured, managed and preserved throughout the change…..
  • What do you do about published information, for example Annual Reports and open access information released under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act)?
    Information published by NSW Local Government Councils can be added to OpenGov……
  • What do you do about records of former councils?
    Under section 32 of the Local Government (Council Amalgamations) Proclamation 2016, all “assets, rights and liabilities of the former councils are transferred to the new council.”…..
  • Amalgamating EDRMS
    EDRMS for the respective Councils will contain information relevant for the particular Council. The merged Councils may decide to migrate to one EDRMS or to start a new EDRMS…..

 FAQs:  Administrative Change Checklist

This FAQ Checklist may be useful for organisations that have had administrative changes.

To read more please click on the links.



Records Managers’ Forum presentations and podcasts are now available on Future Proof July 22, 2016 No Comments

The presentations and podcasts from the Records Managers Forum held 19th July are now available on Future Proof.  The Forum promotes communication between NSW public sector records managers and provides an opportunity to exchange news and discuss issues of current concern.

The Records Managers’ Forum celebrated the 20th year anniversary of AS 4390: Records Management, the first national records management standard in the world.

Geoff Hinchcliffe, David Roberts and Barbara Reed cutting the AS 4390 20th anniversary cake

Here’s a quick recap of the presentations:

Geoff Hinchcliffe, Director, State Records Authority, updated the participants regarding the Authority’s current projects and initiatives, including the launch of the new website. In addition, Geoff announced that the State Records Authority has moved from Government and Corporate Services to the new ICT & Digital Government (IDG) Division of Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI). With digital being a key focus of State Records for the future, this move provides the opportunity for State Records to be at the forefront of digital innovation in our new Division.

David Roberts, former Director, State Records Authority talked about the history of the development of the AS 4390. The Standard provided an opportunity to clarify key concepts in recordkeeping and made distinction between data, records and information.

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Saving our digital history byte by byte July 7, 2016 No Comments

The following is an insight from the Digital Archives team here at State Records with a fascinating look back at our recent digital history.

Chelmsford Hospital Royal Commission Transcript Enquiry SystemOn 30 June 1992, First State Computing transferred the database that had been used in the recently ended Royal Commission into the Former Chelmsford Private Hospital and Mental Health Services in New South Wales (commonly known as the Chelmsford Royal Commission) to the then Archives Authority of New South Wales. The records of the Chelmsford Royal Commission were retained as State archives under the Disposal Recommendation DR4207 that was approved on 3/12/1990. First State Computing had held the database since the closure of the Commission in 1990. The transfer resulted in a substantial cost-saving to Government at the time.

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Digital Forensics for Libraries and Archives June 17, 2016 No Comments

8531522164_5f18f3b244_kThe State Library of South Australia in Adelaide recently hosted a two-day digital forensics course called “Digital Forensics for Libraries and Archives: Principles, Practices and Possibilities”. Presented by Cal Lee from the University of North Carolina, it was designed to provide an introduction to digital forensics activities for institutions in the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) sector. Representatives from various libraries and archives around Australia attended, including yours truly from State Records NSW.

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Digital Implementers Group – E-Approvals June 14, 2016 No Comments

15197509132_ed55eff710_mLast week, the Digital Implementers Group, met at their regular six weekly meeting.

A diverse group attended from various tiers of government to discuss E-approvals and associated challenges. Some members have already started the process and others want to learn more.

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Student perspectives: the changing role of records managers No Comments

ih1006 yarmouth me maine eartha globe displayed at delorme mapping company in the evening in yarmouth

One of the greatest issues facing Records Management is the changing nature of our role as Information Professionals. As systems, functions, departments, and technologies evolve and integrate, so too does the requirements of our work.
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Goodbye Mandy! May 30, 2016 No Comments

Amanda BarberIt is with sadness that State Records farewells Amanda (Mandy) Barber. After 38 years with us, Mandy is riding off into the sunset.

Mandy joined the then Archives Authority of NSW in February 1978 and worked in a range of technical positions, including being based at Parliament House where she surveyed the records of the Legislative Assembly prior to Parliament implementing their first archival program.

Mandy quickly established herself as an expert in the areas of records appraisal and legislative regulation. One of Mandy’s most significant achievements was the development and implementation of State Records’ appraisal policy for identifying the records to be retained as State archives under the new State Records Act 1998.

Mandy was appointed to the position of Manager Government Recordkeeping in 2002. Her knowledge of best practice recordkeeping in the implementation of and transition to digital records systems led to her involvement in the development of both Australian and International Standards, being a member of the NSW Government Enabling Information Sharing Working Group, and advising agencies across the State on how best to meet their responsibilities under the State Records Act.

We wish Mandy all the best for whatever adventures lie ahead. She will be missed!

Image credit: Catherine Robinson