Ignore me - filler


Ignore me - filler
Australian Science Archives Project

Annual Report

ISSN 0817-7174


1996 marked the end of ASAP's first decade and the conclusion of a period of dramatic growth. As a self-funded body within The University of Melbourne, ASAP has always had to secure enough funding to continue our work on a year-to-year basis. This, for many years, has hampered our attempts to create a strong research program, or to develop strategies for the long term. However, ASAP's continued success in obtaining commercial contracts, and our ability not only to sustain but significantly to increase our activities over this decade, has assured us of the value of our work and given us the confidence to start looking at our longer term goals and aspirations. With increased security and a decade of experience behind us, ASAP is now in a position to tackle directly a range of issues that concern both us and the wider archival and heritage communities.

In 1996 we became more aware of the theoretical significance of many aspects of ASAP's work and the potential for our projects to feed into contemporary archival research. The importance of such research, and its links to our work with industry, was confirmed with our success in obtaining an Australian Research Council Collaborative Research Grant with one of our power industry clients. This recognition has strengthened our belief in the importance of developing strategies for dealing with the records of science, technology and medicine. These records often require unique methods for their management and retention, and have both heritage and commercial value.

With continued success in tendering for archival projects, ASAP's archival processing projects undertaken in this period were worth more than A$2.96 million. These contracts permitted ASAP to put time into developing our products and structures, and to expand our core team of staff.

ASAP's projects continued to focus on the Victoria power industry; we were involved in a variety of archival and records management projects - some new and some on-going. These projects enabled ASAP to hone its skills and tools and provided us with opportunities to demonstrate the on-going value of archival records to the commercial world. Our experience this year has shown very clearly that archival records are not only valuable from a heritage perspective but, when managed and accessible, provide an important resource for business and industry. Refinements in our project processes and protocols have allowed us to present clearly-defined goals and outcomes for each step of the archival process, and to improve the quality and range of professional services we can offer our clients.

In particular, this year saw increasingly sophisticated demands upon our ASAP Archival Data-management System (ASAP ADS). The package was moved to a Microsoft Access platform, providing more user-friendly features and considerably faster data processing times. Joanne Evans has been the driving force behind the improvements in ASAP ADS, and the dedication and innovation she has shown has been invaluable.

ASAP's information services continued in the development of innovative WWW-based resources. Most importantly, 1996 saw major changes to ASAP's central online resource Bright Sparcs. The value of Bright Sparcs was recognised by a grant from the Australia Foundation for Culture and the Humanities.

Our program of outreach also continued in a variety of ways. Perhaps the most notable was ASAP's attendance at the Australian Society of Archivists Conference 1996 in Alice Springs. The conference presentations by ASAP staff members highlighted ASAP's successful performance in the commercial and academic arenas, and the success of our methodology and tools (not to mention staff input and innovation) in carrying out projects that, to many, would be considered impossible. ASAP's presence at a number of international conferences considerably increased our international visibility and will allow valuable contacts and cooperative projects to be planned for the future.

ASAP has been extremely lucky to have been able to attract a team of dedicated and talented archival and support staff who share our vision and whose input into our work cannot be overstated. With an increased number of professional staff, who look to us for their professional development, the task for ASAP's management staff has been to provide our staff with opportunities to develop their own skills and specialties, which also support our work, and strengthen the future viability of ASAP as a whole. In 1996 we concentrated on creating a strong infrastructure to support our clients and the work of our archival staff, as well as establishing the support systems necessary for active research by ASAP staff.

Overall, 1996 saw ASAP continue our search for innovative, informative and accessible resources - not only for clients, but also for our staff. Our focus on staff involvement has always been our strength, and we have been actively seeking ways to facilitate staff communication and input, in recognition of the expertise that our staff have developed through their work and their dedication to ASAP's vision.

As ASAP moves into our second decade of service to the Australian community, we look forward to further consolidating the knowledge gained and networks made during our first ten years of operation. Supported by the dedication and imagination of our staff, ASAP will continue to improve access to Australia's scientific, technological and medical heritage while increasing our expertise in the field of archival practice.

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Published by the Australian Science Archives Project on ASAPWeb, 23 January 1998
Prepared by: Elissa Tenkate