Is technology enough? developing archival information systems in community environments

  • Shannon Faulkhead Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Joanne Evans Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, The University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Helen Morgan Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, The University of Melbourne, Australia


The impact of colonial actions within Victoria, Australia had, and continues to have, devastating and far reaching consequences. One of these has been the distancing of Indigenous people from their land, cultural knowledge, practices and history. Indigenous communities are seeking to re-establish their place within Victoria's cultural record through developing their own libraries and archives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge. The development of such resources requires suitable access to records. It points to the need for the fostering of multiple views and uses in archival processes, for government archives to be more community conscious and for the development of appropriate archival systems for community collections. In the archival community, the development of archival systems capable of documenting and managing multiple recordkeeping perspectives is an emerging topic of discussion. Developments in information and communication technologies seem to be leading to such possibilities becoming realities. But is technology enough? What are the issues for small archives and other community organisations seeking to adopt information and communication technologies for describing and managing archival resources? How is the necessary trust established in computer applications so that they will be developed, used and maintained? Can systems designed for use in larger institutions be adopted? What are the difficulties in establishing systems that capture alternate views of records held in other archival institutions? What should be the role of government sponsored institutions in fostering, developing and sustaining such initiatives?

Keywords: Archival Information System, Indigenous Knowledge, Victoria, Australia, community collections

ESARBICA Journal Vol. 24 2005: 74-95

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0376-4753