Reinventing Archival Methods

A two day workshop, Sydney, 29 – 30 November 2012

Reinventing Archival Methods is a co-presentation by the Australian Society of Archivists and the Recordkeeping Roundtable

Sorry, this event is now full. 

The digital deluge is upon us: On 13 July 2012, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that globally, the amount of data created, collected, and shared in 2009 was 800,000 petabytes. By 2020 this figure will be 35 zettabytes (one zettabyte is equivalent to 260,000,000,000 DVDs).

And the world is getting more complex. With rapidly evolving business systems, cloud environments, expanding application and software development and information profusion, we are in an environment where a stable archival heritage will be difficult to create, let alone sustain.

The evidence suggests that our professional methods are not coping with the scale and complexity of contemporary recordkeeping challenges, and they are failing us at a time of critical risk. And this is not the first call to reinvent our professional practices. In 1986 David Bearman first argued that our core methods of appraisal, description, preservation and access were fundamentally unable to cope with the volumes of information that archivists were required to process. He called on the profession to completely reinvent its core methods.  While much has been done in the intervening 25 years, as a profession our methods are still ill-equipped to deal with the volume, fragility and complexity of contemporary archival records.

In November in Sydney, leading archival thinkers and practitioners Professor Sue McKemmish, Barbara Reed, Chris Hurley, Dr Tim Sherratt, David Roberts, Cassie Findlay and Dr Kate Cumming, along with journalist and presenter of ‘Future Tense’ on Radio National, Antony Funnell, will lead a discussion on the current state of our professional practice and the external forces shaping the future that we need to understand, while Dr Richard Lehane, Dr Joanne Evans, Judith Ellis, Julie McCormack and others will present case studies on current initiatives designed to reinvent our professional practice and methods.

In this two day workshop, we will explore how we can fundamentally reassess our methods and determine what can be done to create a stable archival record of the 21st century.

Workshop details

  • When: 9:30am – 4:00pm, 29 and 30 November 2012
  • Where: ATP Innovations, Australian Technology Park, Redfern, NSW
  • Cost: $300 ASA/RIMPA/ALIA members, $375 non-members (Lunches, morning and afternoon teas will be provided)


  • Sorry, this event is now full.
  • Enquiries to
  • Follow the workshop or contribute to its discussions on Twitter via #archmethods
  • Read David Bearman’s Archival Methods

About Cassie Findlay

Digital recordkeeping, archives and privacy professional, co-founder of the Recordkeeping Roundtable. @CassPF on Twitter.
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