Preserving our collection

Conservator at work
Read our preservation blog on the conservation of a Burley Griffin drawing.

Our holdings, estimated at more than 40 million items, occupy almost 380,000 metres of shelf space. Our records consist of paper-based files, audiovisual and digital records, bound volumes, photographs, maps and plans, microforms and other objects.

The Archives has two main preservation strategies. The first is to provide appropriate long-term storage for all record formats, including those born-digital. This strategy slows deterioration of physical records and gives us time to manage preservation activities. The digital archive uses two independent storage networks to minimise the possibility of data loss. 

The second strategy is to target the records and formats that are actively deteriorating or known to be at risk. Records considered at risk are those that are chemically unstable, in poor condition or regularly accessed.

The Archives has formulated a policy to guide staff working in treatment conservation, preventive conservation, exhibitions conservation, preservation digitisation, and audiovisual and digital preservation of the Archives' holdings.

Read how the Archives preserves:

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019