ASAP has always been an innovative organisation. Our capacity
to see opportunities and adapt our processes has enabled us to
survive and grow. In the past, however, such developmental work
has been undertaken almost solely on the basis of immediate needs.
Our financial insecurity made it difficult to devote funds to
more open-ended research, or even to the detailed assessment and
description of our unique tools and methodologies. However, much
has changed over the past year, enabling us to take significant
steps towards the expansion of ASAP's research activities.
The steady flow of archival work that has firmed ASAP's financial
foundations has also accelerated the development of our processes.
There is much exciting work that needs to be documented. Contact
with archival organisations within Australia and overseas has
emphasised the significance of this work. At the same time, ASAP
has benefited enormously from the ideas, knowledge and enthusiasm
of our new staff. Their research interests and professional development
need to be accommodated if ASAP is to remain vigorous and innovative.
We have the ideas, we have the people and, finally, we have the
resources to enable us to begin to chart a long-term archival
Establishing a research program within a field not known for its
active research culture, and within an organisation with little
direct experience of academic research, is no easy task - it will
be a long process, an evolutionary process. However, important
breakthroughs have already been made. Guided by Tim Sherratt,
ASAP's Deputy Director, ASAP in 1996 prepared a series of applications
to the Australian Research Council for funds. Realistically,
with our lack of research credentials, our chances were limited;
however, the preparation of the applications themselves encouraged
us to focus on the questions we wished to pursue, and on the problems
that needed to be addressed. This was an extremely useful process
that has enabled ASAP to conceive of itself as a research organisation.
The applications were:
The importance of issues highlighted by ASAP, and our considerable
record of achievement, was recognised in the award of an Australian
Research Council Collaborative Research Grant, in conjunction
with an industry partner. To our knowledge this is the first
such grant awarded for archival research. This grant will enable
ASAP to further document and assess the capabilities of ASAP ADS.
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