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Memento : Issue 17
may 2001 memento 15 In fifty years time, or perhaps even just five, how will researchers or anyone who needs to know what was published on a government website be able to find the information? Will it be lost in cyberspace? Not if our latest recordkeeping guidelines on archiving websites are implemented by government agencies. Archiving Web Resources: Guidelines for Keeping Records of Web- based Activity in the Commonwealth Government offers practical advice on how to keep archival copies of websites. The same fundamentals that apply to paper-based recordkeeping apply to websites and other electronic records. These include developing clear policies, determining requirements for records, capturing and maintaining records, applying metadata, formulating a records preservation plan, and assigning and documenting responsibilities. The guidelines encourage recordkeepers in government agencies to assess their needs and select the right technological options to capture and maintain their web resources. They also provide advice on how to store and preserve websites, while dealing with technological obsolescence, access and security issues, and varying environmental conditions. Capturing records of web- based activity over time will help agencies ensure that they are accountable to Parliament and the public, retain their corporate memory and meet legal obligations. Doing so will also preserve a vital part of the documentary record of Australia. The guidelines are a companion document to our policy statement on archiving web-based resources, released last March. Both documents appear on our website under 'Recordkeeping' at www.naa.gov.au. This popular annual event was held on 1 April in our Canberra building as part of the ACT Heritage Festival celebrations. The usually hushed tones of the reading room were set aside for the day as visitors swarmed to display stands of the Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra, the Canberra Museum and Gallery, the Canberra and District Historical Society and businesses catering to family historians. Our reference staff were there to help visitors surf our website and use the RecordSearch database to locate family history information. Many much loved family records were brought to the conservation clinic for advice on preservation and storage, and a talk by our conservator Ian Batterham on caring for family records was well attended. Guided tours of our new exhibitions Wine! An Australian Social History and Charters of Our Nation were very popular. By day's end over 800 visitors had listened to talks about family history records held by the Archives, participated in a lively discussion with genealogist Nick Vine Hall on the retention of the 2001 census records, and met ABC radio personality Alex Sloan, whose Sunday morning program was broadcast from the Archives. If you missed it this year, look out for our next Family History Fair in April 2002! All the fun of the fair N Were you at the Family History Fair this year? Alex Sloan from 666 ABC Canberra broadcast her radio show live from the Family History Fair held at the Archives in April. June Penny from the Heraldry and Genealogical Society of Canberra was one of her guests on the show.