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How did you get into your current role? I first started here processing records from the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SEC) after it was privatised. The role involved cataloguing permanent records and packing them in boxes, which I really enjoyed. It was interesting to see how the SEC had changed over time, from when it first came into being until after it was privatised.
I then worked at PROV in a number of different capacities before I became an Access Services Officer (ASO). ASOs do a combination of records retrieval and assisting members of the public in the Reading Room. When I was an ASO, I specialised in helping university students and answering queries related to our land records. After 14 enjoyable years as an ASO I applied to work in Collection Management.
What is your role at PROV? My role involves transferring records into our vast collection and ensuring that our team of wonderful volunteers have enough records to work with at any given time. When records are transferred into the repository, they need to be accessioned (this is where we record that a new series and consignment has been added to the collection), a location needs to be found, and then they are shelved appropriately. I really enjoy this process because it contributes to the growth of our collection.
Why did you want to work at PROV? I’ve always liked history and knew I would enjoy working on a lot of the records in the collection. For me it’s about curiosity and to say that I’ve read the Ned Kelly records and the Eureka records in the collection is really special.
What has been your favourite project to work on? My favourite project that I’ve worked on was one of the first that I worked on in this role. It involved moving some of PROV’s microfilm and microfiche collection into cold storage. They were originally stored in old cabinets and my job was to decant the cabinets, box up the records and store and log them correctly.
What is the most important skill in your role? Which do you use every day? The most important skill in my role is being organised. It’s really important to keep track of everything when you’re working on several tasks at the same time and you’re constantly switching between them. Having a focused and methodical approach means that you’re always on top of your workload.
What advice would you give to someone entering the field? What type of background would be most helpful? You need to have a general interest in history to work in this field. I’ve always felt that records are precious and I think if you want to look after records, you need to have that kind of outlook. Also, keep in mind that working in Collection Management involves physical exertion, not just knowledge. Some people aren’t necessarily interested in the physical aspects of the role, but it’s good to be prepared for it anyway.