Objective: develop and deliver on a state-wide Digital Access Plan for our irreplaceable cultural collections – building on the work of those institutions that are already engaged in this work and helping to ensure that these collections are therefore accessible to all South Australians and the world. Digital platforms provide a window to the world for South Australia’s unique cultural heritage and we must take advantage of this opportunity to showcase ourselves.

Recommendation and response

Accepted - A feasibility study will be undertaken to assess the viability of a digitisation business to deliver services across the state.

January 2020 update

We are analysing current institutional digital activities and assessing future needs. This will inform the development of a digital access plan for South Australia's collections and consider the scope and potential for a digitisation business.

March 2020 update

The Digital Access Consultative Group (DACG) has been established, comprising members of key cultural, heritage and art collection organisations to support progression of the State’s Digital Access Plan (DAP) and Digital Access Model.

The DACG has actively developed principles aimed at creating the collaborative digital access model necessary to significantly expand public digital access and preservation.

To assess future needs, DACG has completed the analysis of institutional digital activities. A baseline report with recommendations for the DAP will be delivered in March followed by the digitisation service feasibility study.

Work is also progressing on a pilot collaborative digitisation project to showcase and test a cooperative model.

June 2020 Update

A key short term outcome was a pilot collaborative digitisation project as part of the development of the Digital Access Plan. Key pilot elements that will continue to progress include:

  • embedding the cooperative model designed to significantly improve public access to culturally significant digital artefacts
  • creating development rights management procedures for the sector
  • establishing metadata models that facilitate better searching capability.

Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic is posing significant challenges across the sector, South Australian arts organisations have embraced digitisation and the digital space, with many organisations providing online workshops and delivering their artistic programs through various forms of digital media.

The Art Gallery of South Australia’s Neo Program has transformed itself into the digital space. Allowing young people to interact with the program online through a portal which features exclusive experiences created by South Australian teens, artists and organisation as well as Neo Ambassadors. Other examples can be read below under Digitisation initiatives underway

Arts South Australia will continue to support organisations to assist them in leveraging the opportunities for engagement with their respective audiences, through the digital space.

Digitisation initiatives underway

South Australian Museum

The South Australian Museum has developed several digital initiatives so far this year. A new digital platform ‘Content for Connection’ has been launched and covers all aspects of the Museum’s activities under various audience facing groupings #CollectionAffection #BackyardBiodiversity #STEMYourBoredom #ExploreTheFloor #ConnectWithCulture #IdentificationStation. The museum also undertook its first digital school holiday programme over Easter. The response, despite the Museum being closed due to COVID-19, was positive and overwhelming. The Museum is also a recipient of a Collaboration grant, developing digital content with arts partners such as Aboriginal Writers SA, Guildhouse, Adelaide Chamber Orchestra and Floodlight Film Company.​

State Library of South Australia

During COVID-19 restrictions, the State Library of South Australia progressed digitisation initiatives in many ways. For example, staff updated and created new Library Guides to make understanding the collection and finding items easier.

Staff also developed new curated digital collections and progress reformatting content from audio tape to digital and then transcribing the Oral History recordings to improve search capabilities.

Digitising and cataloguing photographs for inclusion in the collection and the creation of relevant metadata that enables discovery and use also continued.

State Records

State Records continues to provide digital access to popular records through partnership with FamilySearch. In the past year State Records collaborated with the Department of Education to bring over 2600 historical school admission registers from over 200 schools across the state into the archive and to be included in the FamilySearch digitisation program. School admission registers provide valuable information about children, their families and communities, and these registers record over half a million South Australian students.

An increasing number of photographs and maps held in the State Records archive are being uploaded to Flickr. This allows digital access to high quality copies of these records, some of which have been digitised through the State Records volunteer program. New additions include maps of Hundreds throughout South Australia that show changes to land use and administration over time.

State Records has developed an #ArchivesatHome webpage as a one stop resource for information about accessing the archive at home, during the temporary closure of the Research Centre and beyond. This resource highlights weekly Q&A sessions held on social media, where to find information on records and how to access records online.​

Carrick Hill

A number of Carrick Hill's  significant artworks are  showcased on  the Carrick Hill website. Carrick Hill is currently undergoing major renovations and looks forward to progressing digitisation of the collection once these are complete.

History Trust of South Australia

While museum doors have been closed to the public, The History Trust of South Australia has continued its digital engagement activities by making digital collections and experiences more accessible via a new digital front door. In the interest of engaging audiences in multiple digital spaces, digital collections continue to be available via various other web portals including Google Arts and Culture, Wikipedia and Wikidata, the State Government open data portal, and various e-research collections data portals. The digitisation program continues and while the team of 30 digitisation volunteers have temporarily fallen into abeyance, over 4,000 historical images have been done while working from home. Visitors can take virtual 3D tours of the National Motor Museum, the South Australian Maritime Museum and the Migration Museum through a Google Arts and Culture portal or use a museum Zoom background. If visitors are looking for engaging South Australian historical stories and experiences they can immerse themselves in the museum YouTube channels, Talking History podcast or the South Australia History Hub.

On the schools front, a series of webinars and digital learning resources for South Australian teachers and a statewide student Poetry Takeover competition inviting students to explore digital collections from South Australian metro and regional museums have been developed. The History Trust of South Australia continues to work closely with the Statewide History Network of over 300 community museums and historical societies to assist them through their COVID-19 digital engagement responses and to launch the digital collecting project ‘History in the Making: collecting South Australia during COVID-19’. This project activates South Australia’s passionate community museums network to collaboratively help document this significant period in our shared history.

Supported in-principle - As part of the response to recommendation 4.1, we will work with key stakeholders to scope a Digital Cultures Fund for further consideration.

June 2020 update

The Digital Cultures Fund will be guided by the Digital Access Plan, and is intended to provide funding to progress digitisation and digital skills development in a coherent and collaborative way across the sector.

Implementation of the digital cultures fund is subject to securing funding, and planned to commence in the 2021-22 financial year. It is anticipated the Fund will provide grants for investment in digitisation infrastructure as well as skills development that supports implementation of the objectives and principles of the Digital Access Plan under development for recommendation 4.1.

Supported in-principle - As part of the response to recommendation 4.1, we will work with key stakeholders to design a Digital Cultures Matched Fund for further consideration.