Letter from the Director
1996 was a further year of growth and development
for the Australian Science Archives Project.
The constant battle to keep abreast of technological
change in relation to records creation, recordkeeping and archival
technology has been tackled with vigour and enthusiasm. As a result
significant gains have been made in the development and refinement
of the ASAP Archival Data-management System (ASAP ADS) to
meet the needs of all our clients - especially the records creators
and the records users. Interest in ASAP ADS as a tool for
managing archival records has come from a number of established
archives, resulting in the release of demonstration versions and
a number of sales of ASAP ADS software and methodology licenses.
ASAP's field work retains its focus on the documentation
of records and ensuring that archival processes preserve the integrity
of the records. The fulfilment of these goals enables records
to meet the wide, and in most cases unknowable, demands that will
be placed on them in the future. The role of records as the primary
source of corporate knowledge has become increasingly evident
through our industrial experience in 1996. To meet this need,
records must be maintained so that they retain their evidential
value; in other words, all reasonable effort should be undertaken
to ensure the maintenance of the quality of records as evidence
in commercial, legal, operational and historical settings.
Overseas trips by myself (Washington 1995, Belgium,
Paris, London and the USA, June 1996; and China, September 1996)
and Lisa Enright (San Diego, USA, September 1996) enabled ASAP
to reveal its work to the leading members of the international
archival community. This exposure and the feedback generated were
essential components in affirming the general thrust of our research
and development. It also reinforced the importance of remaining
closely linked to the international archival community in order
to gain from, and feed into, developments in the archival field.
Not only is ASAP unusual in the Australian archival context but
it is also unique in the international scene and has much to contribute
from its particular experience.
The continued development of ASAPWeb and our
commitment to communicating and encouraging activity in the history
of science, technology and medicine in Australia has remained
a great challenge to ASAP. The development of World Wide Web technologies
has occurred at a staggering pace and this has opened many doors
to new archival products that seemed only dreams just twelve months
ago. Of great interest is the Cabinet of Curiosities (described
later) which will be completed in 1997. The Cabinet, a
fine piece of original Australian furniture, will arrive in England
aboard the Endeavour containing commissioned artworks representing
particular significant stories from Australia's scientific past.
ASAP acknowledges the keen support it has received
from its National Advisory Board, its Chair, Professor Rod Home,
the ASAP Council of Friends, The University of Melbourne, the
Australian Academy of Science and the archival community generally.
I'm looking forward to 1997, which appears particularly
exciting, and has a full research, development and work program
already mapped out.
1 May 1997
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