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Resources

Additional resources

On this page are additional resources, which have either been referred to in the Digital Access to Collections workshops or participants have expressed an interest in the content, but the content is outside the scope of inclusion in the Digital Access to Collections training manual. This page will be updated throughout Stage 2 of the Digitial Access to Collections project, so be sure to check in to see updates!

Quick links

Audio and Audio-Visual Collections

Digitising audio and audio-visual content (including audio recordings, video, and motion picture film collections) can be managed within your organisation, but as the resources required to do so tend to be more complex and expensive than to digitise image-based material, it will generally be more cost-effective to outsource to a vendor with expertise in this field.

Here are some useful resources that can assist with managing your audio and audio-visual collections and preparing your items for digitisation:

The National Film and Sound Archive has produced a discussion paper Deadline 2025: collections at risk that outlines the issues facing tape based audio-visual collections and the need to digitise. Access the discussion paper here: https://www.nfsa.gov.au/corporate-information/publications/deadline-2025

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Benefits of Digitisation - How to Sell Digitisation to Management

Sometimes the hardest hurdle to face in the beginning is how to convince your management, committee or board that digitisation is both an essential and valuable task for your organisation to undertake.

Here are some articles and business cases that may provide some useful approaches to selling the idea of digitisation and providing digital access to management:

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Collection Management Policies

In the planning stage of a digitisation or digital access project there are some key pieces of policy that should be considered to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of workflow within an organisation. Policies like these aid in the decision-making process of an organisation, setting clear guides as to how an organisation approaches dealing with its collection.

A collection management policy is used to outline how a collecting organisation handles situations in regards to their collection. This can include:

  • Acquisitions
  • Deaccessions
  • Loans
  • Storage and care of collection
  • Conservation
  • Record management
  • Risk management

Collecting organisations may want to consider what this policy may look like before undertaking a digitisation project to ensure that the items acquired by the organisation follow and are included in the mission or scope of the organisation. 

Benefits of having a collections management policy in place include answering common concerns such as:

  • What items should be acquired?
  • How are items best handled for display?
  • How to best handle the loan of a collection item?
  • What information should be retained from donors?

Policies like this ensure that there is a clear way in which all staff, members and volunteers within an organisation know the correct procedures surrounding the collection. 

Writing a policy for an organisation should be a collaborative process, by either establishing a committee to prepare the policy or have one-person draft which is then open for comment. This ensures that all approaches and concerns are taken into consideration and that there is a shared agreement on the policy for the organisation.

Similarly, while there are many guides and templates available as to how a collection management policy should be written and what it should include, it is important to remember that all collecting organisations are different and have different requirements.

Here are some useful resources to assisting in writing Collection management policies, including templates and examples from other organisations.

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Conservation and Preservation

When you are considering digitisation, you may also need to consider the preservation or conservation of your collection items as well.

Your collection items may need some attention before they digitised to ensure they are as presentable as possible, and they definitely deserve some attention after they are digitised. An organisation should consider conservation and preservation techniques and practices to ensure collection items are kept safe from damage and to reduce the effects of aging.

The Digital Access to Collections workshops and training do not cover conservation and preservation, but there are many very useful resources available online.

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Digitising Glass Plate Negatives

Working with glass plate negatives can present challenges, in how you handle them, how you clean them and the equipment you need to digitise them. Philip Moorhouse from The Collecting Bug has produced some guidelines to offer some tips and techniques for digitising glass plate negatives.

Find the resource here: PDF icon How to Digitise Glass Plate Negatives.pdf

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Digitising your collections

Here are a number of short videos that demonstrate the different types of equipment that can be used to digitise your collections:

And here’s a wonderful reminder of why we are and should be digitising our collections:

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Funding opportunities

Here are lists of funding opportunties, to find grants that will can help you digitise your collection. Often organisations need some financial assistance to help them get started, especially with digitisation projects and providing digital access to their digitised works. The lists are based per state and territory.

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Oral Histories - Collecting and Recording

Oral histories are very important part of capturing history. Museums Australia (Victoria) has developed a very useful resource to assist with recording oral histories, which includes a set of templates for guidance. 

Find the resource here: PDF icon Recording_Your_Story_-_Oral_History_Kit.pdf

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Photographing Your Collectables

Philip Moorhouse from The Collecting Bug has produced a valuable resource to offer some tips and techniques to use when photographing collection items.  From camera settings to lighting, to a D-I-Y Light box, Philip details ways to produce high quality photographs.

Find the resource here: PDF icon Photographing_Your_Collectables_-_Philip_Moorhouse.pdf

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Preservation Needs Assessments

The aim of a Preservation Needs Assessment (PNA) is to look at the physical condition of a collection, the suitability of current housing and storage facilities and to make recommendations for the development of a conservation program. A PNA evaluates the policies, practices and conditions that affect the preservation of an organisation’s collection, identifies the specific preservation needs and actions to meet those needs, and prioritises actions matched to resources.

Useful resources are:

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Significance Assessments

A Significance Assessment (SA) helps explain the meaning and value of a collection and provides further information for its management and interpretation. For a SA, an assessor undertakes a site visit to assess the physical condition of the collection (acceptable percentage), the veracity of its accompanying documentation and the relationship between the organisation building(s) and the collection.

The SA process can help collecting organisations to make sound judgements and good decisions about conserving, interpreting, and managing objects and collections, now and into the future.  It focuses on the importance of identifying significant collection items to boost a collection’s relevance to its community and stakeholders.

Useful publications about Significance Assessments are:

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Useful Free Software Tools

Here are some useful tools discovered during the workshop discussions:

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Volunteer Agreements

A volunteer agreement is another piece of policy that an organisation should consider in the planning stage. The agreement ensures that all volunteers within the organisation are aware of the practices and procedures they are expected to follow when volunteering with the organisation.

A volunteer agreement is a way in which clear expectations are set. It can be very useful for a digitisation project as a means of setting the standards to which volunteers will work. Again, these policies and agreements should be adapted to suit each organisation, there are very few one-size-fits-all approaches - each organisation will have its own requirements of volunteers.

When implementing a volunteer agreement, it is best to make sure it is not too complex. It should be accessible and clear for the volunteer so that the paperwork does not appear too daunting.

A volunteer agreement can include:

  • An outline or purpose of the volunteer work
  • The days or hours agreed to by the volunteer and organisation
  • The start and end date (if appropriate)
  • Acknowledgement of key policies to be agreed to and signed by the volunteer.

Within a volunteer agreement it can be important that volunteers have received and signed:

  • A position description: specifically outlining the duties and tasks they are performing or a description of the project they are working on.
  • A statement of volunteer rights and responsibilities: these can be broad policies that include OH&S, equal opportunity, privacy, harassment and discrimination policies.
  • Policies and procedures: these include policies of customer service, communications policies, OH&S, confidentiality, policies including the handling, storage, display, digitisation, photography of, metadata and filename procedures surrounding the collection.

Please note: If a volunteer undertakes work for an organisation, the volunteer owns the copyright in the work as the creator. It may be important to include in your written agreements how you wish to manage copyright ownership with volunteers. One option is that you may request that anything they create will be licenced under Creative Commons so your organisation may freely use it.

It is important to establish what the roles and responsibilities of each volunteer are, especially if they are working on a digitisation project. This way everyone is required to work to the same standards to avoid issues of misplaced or incorrect file naming, incorrect handling, incorrect data entry etc.

By establishing a volunteer agreement, organisations can also ensure that young volunteers are able to obtain a letter of reference, making volunteer work desirable for them to undertake.

There are many resources for templates for volunteer agreements as well as additional policy (such as standard OH&S policy) available that can be utilised for each organisation.

You will find a sample volunteer agreement here: as a DOC File Sample Volunteer agreement.docx as a PDF PDF icon Sample Volunteer agreement.pdf

Here are copies of the Volunteer documentation used by the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, who are happy to share their work:

Other resources are:

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Volunteers and Copyright

Were you aware that if a volunteer undertakes work for an organisation, the volunteer owns the copyright in the work as the creator? A volunteer is not seen as a true employer, so the default rule that the employer owns copyright doesn’t apply with volunteers.

If a volunteer creates copyright works in the course of their volunteering activities, the organisation will generally have an implied licence to use those materials. However, the implied licence only extends to the original purpose for which those materials were created. If the volunteer organisation wants to repurpose or adapt the materials for other projects, they do not have a copyright license to cover this. It is important to clarify, in writing, how the parties can use material created in the course of volunteer work.

If an organisation wants to own the copyright or intellectual property rights in material created by its volunteers, it should include this as part of the volunteer agreement when a volunteer commences with the community organisation.

Another approach is to license all works created by a volunteer under Creative Commons, so the works are available to use. Again, this should be included as part of the volunteer agreement when a volunteer commences with the organisation.

Sample volunteer consent and release forms are available at:

Useful resources are:

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