Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Information Science
Australia has nine governments, each with their own archives and records legislation. This multiplicity of jurisdictions has the potential for generating divergence and incompatibility of standards. However, the Australian recordkeeping community works together with the result that consistent, complementary standards are not only customised to local legislative requirements and situations, but will in future ensure interoperability and ease of transfer of records wherever necessary. Australian recordkeeping professionals have a sound history of working together. The Implementation Guidelines for the current International standard for records management, /SO15489.2-2001, were adopted and adapted from those in an earlier Australian Standard for records management, AS4390-1996, jointly developed by the National Archives of Australia and State Records New South Wales. The community has also been influential in the development of the Competency standard for archives and records management, an Australian Work process standard (AS5090), and the development of metadata standards for recordkeeping. This last was strengthened by leading research from Monash University in which the National Archives of Australia and State Records New South Wales, and the Australian Society of Archivists collaborated. The archives and records authorities have formed the Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities (CAARA). A major part of their work is done under the umbrella of the Australian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative strategically sharing the challenging tasks required to successfully capture and preserve digital records as archives for the future. They also work with other influential partners, including auditors-general, the Australian Government Information Management Office and other heritage collecting bodies such as the Collections Australia and the National Library of Australia. This paper will explore collaboration and cooperation in the Australian recordkeeping community and its strategic benefits for developing the infrastructure necessary to manage technology-dependent records in the present and provide digital public access to them in the future.