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Victorian Archives Centre public opening hours

Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
(excl. public holidays)
The second and last Saturday of every month

Geelong Heritage Centre Reading Room temporary closure

The Geelong Heritage Centre Reading Room at 51 Little Malop Street Geelong, will be temporarily closed on Tuesday May 28th and Wednesday May 29th.
The temporary closure is to enable the relocation of the GHC archive collection being carried out over these days.
The Geelong Heritage Centre Reading Room will re-open on Thursday May 30th at 11.00 am.

For further information please check the Geelong Heritage Centre website at

Recordkeeping Challenges

At the recent (Victorian) launch of Information Awareness Month, Judith Ellis talked about the challenges she saw facing recordkeeping. Many of the points Judith made echoed issues that the Standards and Policy team at PROV have identified. These include:

  • The cost of compliant recordkeeping is too high, particularly for small organisations. A particular issue is the scaleability of standards for all sizes of organisations.
  • A risk analysis is a key component that allows agencies to focus their recordkeeping effort on the records that matter.
  • EDRM systems are not often embedded in actually performing work within agencies. Too often ‘filing’ the record is an additional step that occurs after the work is carried out. It would be better to build recordkeeping into the systems in which people work.
  • People are finding and using information in totally new ways, and these ways are changing rapidly. This has implications for recordkeeping.


Copying Fees Review



You may not know that the fees that PROV charges for providing copies of public records are set under the Public Records Act Regulations.

These Regulations need to be remade every 10 years, and are next due for renewal in November 2013.

Because fees are set by the Regulations, PROV has not been able to increase its photocopying, microfilm and microfiche, and digitising charges in 10 years. Fee levels are now well behind cost recovery levels.

PROV is proposing to update the fees as follows:






From 65c to 70c a page

5c a page


Microfilm and microfiche

From 95c to $1.00 a page

5c a page


Digitising per item –documents, volumes and photos

From flat $15 to $19 base charge for 1-20 pages + $10 for each additional 20 pages or part thereof


From $4 a document, cost rising on sliding scale with 20 or more pages

Digitising per item – large format maps and plans up to limit of in-house equipment

From flat $15 to flat $19

$4 a document

Same-day or next day fast track service

$15 flat fee for same day fast tracking or $7.50 flat fee for next day fast tracking of copying (whether photocopy or digital)


None for photocopying.

Extending the charge to digitised copies makes it more equitable between the services


We believe these fee levels will enable us to continue to deliver quality reproduction services to our users across the next decade. We also plan to index the fees in order that small inflation-based price rises can occur automatically, so that a major overhaul is not needed in 2023.

Please note: PROV welcomes and encourages all users to make their own digital copies of public records using the digital cameras provided in the Reading Rooms. There will never be any charge levied for self-service copying or for access to records. The charges apply purely to copying that PROV staff perform on users’ behalf.


We’d like your feedback

PROV wants to hear from Reading Room and remote users of the archive about our proposed fee changes. All feedback, ideas and suggestions are welcome.

  • You can send us your thoughts in an email to
  • You can send us a submission in writing to:
    Manager, Standards and Policy
    Public Record Office Victoria
    PO Box 2100 North Melbourne Vic 3051.
  • You can talk to any of our friendly Access Services Officers on your next visit to our Reading Rooms

Written and verbal feedback needs to be received by 14 June 2013 to be considered.


You’ll be kept informed

Each person or group that provides us with input will be acknowledged and will receive a response. PROV will also publish a report on all the feedback we received, along with a draft of the Regulations showing the fee changes, in July.

Invitation to the Sir Rupert Hamer Awards Thursday 16 May 2013


The Public Records Advisory Council in association with Public Record Office Victoria takes pleasure in inviting you to this year’s Sir Rupert Hamer Records Management Awards.

The Hamer Awards recognise excellence and innovation in records management within the Victorian Public Sector and achievements of Community Archives in making records accessible to local communities. The awards are being held on Thursday 16 May 2013 at Queen’s Hall, Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne, Victoria from 4:30 pm. The awards will be followed by a cocktail reception at 6:15 pm.

This year the keynote speech will be delivered by Mr Grantly Mailes – Chief Technology Advocate and Deputy Secretary, Innovation and Technology Division, Department of State Development, Business and Innovation.                                                                                    

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to or on phone 9348 5659 by Friday 10 May 2013.

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Hospital records of people in immigration detention

Do you provide medical treatment to people in immigration detention?

The Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the National Archives of Australia have provided advice clarifying ownership of the health records of people in immigration detention.

In short, these medical records remain the property of the treating institution and should be managed in accordance with Victorian legislation and PROV standards in exactly the same way as any other medical records.

The specific advice is as follows:

Client medical records relating to services provided by state and territory health providers remain the property of the treating hospital, except in a small number of cases such as offshore establishments under direct Commonwealth control and offshore territories (e.g. Christmas Island), or where the terms of contract with the Commonwealth specify Commonwealth records ownership.  While some records may be passed on to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Health Services Provider by state and territory health providers, generally hospital client medical records are not Commonwealth records.

Hospitals should manage these records as required by their state or territory legislation and local procedures.   The same process should also be followed for records held by other state and territory health providers, such as medical centres.

Questions about health records relating to people in immigration detention can be directed to the Detention Health Operations Section, Department of Immigration and Citizenship at

Government Restructure

To assist agencies that are affected by the recent government restructure, the Guide on Transfer of Custodianship provides practical advice on the transfer of records, information and data from one agency to another.

A plan for the transfer of records between agencies is required (see PROS 10/17 S1 Operations Management Specification). This will assist both transferring and receiving agencies to understand what is needed for a successful transfer of records. A plan is particularly helpful in situations where multiple transfers are occurring at the same time.

PROV also requires agencies undertaking transfers to establish a formal agreement that defines the responsibilities and parameters of the transfer. The agreement should explicitly state:

  • What records will be transferred, including the volume and format
  • What date the records will be transferred by and where the records will be transferred to
  • Resources and liaison available from both parties to complete the transfer
  • Record metadata to be transferred
  • Any associated equipment (map cabinets, light tables, etc) that relates to the records transfer
  • What disposal activities have been completed by the transferring agency, what disposal activities are underway, and when these activities are scheduled to be completed (e.g. before or shortly after the transfer is finalised)
  • When the accepting agency will take ownership and responsibility for access to permanent records held at PROV and when PROV will be notified
  • The agreed responsibilities for costs of transferring and accepting the records.

Update on Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission held its first day of hearings on 3 April 2012. The transcripts are available at

The Senior Counsel Assisting, Ms Gail Furness SC, described the types of institutions that the Commission will be investigating.  These include (the text is taken verbatim from the draft transcript p13-14):

residential care facilities such as orphanages, all religious organisations and their various, however described, entities. Among them are schools, churches, parishes, congregations, dioceses, including archdioceses, and religious orders. Recreational and sporting groups are included including the Girl Guides, the Scouts, swimming organisations, soccer, football, Little Athletics, netball and all other organised sports are included.

Childcare centres, State Government child protection agencies, other State Government departments and authorities, including the police force, which have responsibilities for children. Agencies which organise and supervise out of home care are included, as are detention centres, including those that house refugees. Defence forces, educational facilities, including kindergarten, primary, secondary schools and boarding schools are all included. In addition, juvenile justice centres are institutions for the purpose of the Terms of Reference

However, this is not an exhaustive list of institutions that may be served with notices to produce documents.  For example, the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions has already been served with such a notice.

ORDA (Online Retention and Disposal Application)

A key activity being undertaken by PROV to support the development of Retention and Disposal Authorities is the implementation of an Online Retention and Disposal Application (ORDA). ORDA is a web based application developed by the State Records Office of Western Australia (SROWA) as a project of the Australasian Digital Records Initiative (ADRI). With ADRI members being granted full and free access to the necessary code if they were to choose to adopt the application, PROV has embarked on the installation and implementation of the ORDA system.

To be utilised by PROV, Victorian Government Agencies and consultants engaged in the development of Retention and Disposal Authorities, we are exploring how ORDA will be used to satisfy our business needs, including to provide;
• a fit-for-purpose system to manage appraisal processes, from initial drafting of disposal authorities; their review and subsequent approval; and their cancellation as they are replaced in time by updated authorities
• a flexible and simple-to-use tool for external users when drafting their authorities and to leverage the efficiencies that a systems-based approach can provide (via drop-down options, linking to general authorities, etc.)
• a benchmark disposal decisions against a wider appraisal framework and to provide automated reports for such
• review authorities and provide feedback to external users via the system using tagged commenting fields
• external users with the ability to search existing disposal precedents as they develop their own authority, to assist informed decision-making
• the import of disposal authority data from third-party tools as well as export capability to support disposal within EDRMS
• reporting capability to track management of appraisal processes
• the ability to capture and store disposal authority data and to be able to use that data in different ways and for different purposes

We expect ORDA to be implemented at PROV in late 2013. Watch this space for further details!

David Brown

vive la différence!

For many years PROV has been promoting the importance of records and recordkeeping. We have highlighted such things as:
The redevelopment of records management standards
The achievement of VERS Stage 1 measured by an EDRMS implementation
The ubiquity of records across varying formats and systems

I understand that often the related promotional messages have been translated as:
1. All records are information and all information is a record
2. All information should be managed in a records management system
3. An effective records management systems is an EDRMS
4. RM Standards and Specifications require every record to be managed in an EDRMS
5. Every agency should have an EDRMS

All records are information and all information is a record.
Records managers and archivist recognise that there are essential and critical differences between information and records. These differences are important (hence all records are information, but not all information is a record). But we also understand that for most people, most of the time, these differences are not important. This is particularly so in the digital world. Solutions around the effective management of information and records have to account for both their similarities and differences.

All information should be managed in a records management system.
As soon as the information and records issue becomes clouded, it is easy to believe this concept. Simply, this is not correct. Our advice is that agencies should apply resources and effort to minimise the risks that they face and to obtain the greatest benefits.

An effective records management systems is an EDRMS
PROV doesn’t believe that every agency should have an EDRMS. EDRMS are a tool that may assist agencies managing their records. But the effectiveness of this tool will depend on the particular requirements of the agency. It may be more effective to implement records management practices into some other area of the business. Yes PROV has measured EDRMS implementation for Stage 1 VERS implementation. This was in the context of being able to deliver VEOs. We recognise that many agencies have prioritised other records management activities and therefore not implemented EDRMS.

RM Standards and Specifications require every record to be managed in an EDRMS
The Standards and Specifications do require that every record should be managed. As noted above, management is possible in other systems besides EDRMS. In addition, PROV advocates a risk and value based approach to the implementation of the RM Standards and Specifications. By this we understand that agencies have limited resources and it is pointless/wasteful attempting to manage all records to the same standards. We advocate that agencies should allocate resources and effort to management records that are of the highest risk (if unmanaged) and the highest socio-economical (?) value.

Every agency should have an EDRMS
As noted above, PROV understands (and supports) that many agencies will not implement EDRMS, as this will not reduce risk or add value. We do expect that agencies will undertake a robust assessment to measure their risk and value requirements.

David Brown
Assistant Director
Government Services

ANDS Project at PROV

Back in November, I mentioned the work that PROV was undertaking on data release. Here is some detail to excite your interest.

The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) Metadata Project will support the discovery, use and reuse of Victoria’s public records by exposing collection metadata on Research Data Australia’s website.

Research Data Australia is an Internet-based discovery service designed to provide connections between data, projects, researchers and institutions, and promote visibility of Australian research data collections in search engines.

PROV is leading this project, and in partnership with State Records NSW will develop and install software tools in both states allowing collection metadata in a standardised format to be regularly harvested by RDA. For archives that install these tools, the increased exposure is expected to allow researchers to mine information about record holdings, as well as identify individual records that may be of interest to them. Only metadata regarding the records will be exposed, access to the records themselves will still require the researcher to use existing avenues.

The software tools and supporting documentation are scheduled for release on project completion in June 2013, and will be made freely available for other jurisdictions to use.

The project team includes Julie McCormack, David Fowler, Kazuki Tada, and Graham McCusker from PROV, Cassandra Findlay, Richard Lehane ,and Wisanu Promthong from SRNSW and Julia Martin and Xiaobin Shen from ANDS.

Any questions can be directed to:
Graham McCusker
Project manager – Government Archives Metadata Project
T 03 93485615 l F 03 9348 5656

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