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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

The future of TROVE.

For those who know of TROVE and the incredible resource that it is the news that the previous government decided it was no longer worth funding beyond July 2023 came as a shock, especially with the National Library saying it would pull the plug on the resource. In terms of funding, the new Labor government has indicated it will fund the repository.

The Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister for the Arts was asked on 28 February 2023: "There's concern about Trove being shut down at the National Library. We all use Trove, we need it to search for historical information. Can you offer any assurance to the people at Trove and the National Library that they might have a chance of getting some help in the May Budget?"

The Minister's response was: "Okay, well, the first thing is that the budget decision hasn't been made. We were left with a situation where the previous government had decided that Trove funding would expire on the 30 June this year. Trove is incredibly important, the work that it did through the National Library when we were last previously in office was incredibly important. The 2014 Budget cut saw funding for Trove cut for a period of time and then with the previous government resumed funding for Trove. They did it on a time limited basis. I don't know anyone who uses Trove who thinks it's a time limited service in terms of its requirement. The decision hasn't been made, but it is fair to say that Labor has always had a commitment to the cultural institutions. I think we showed that when we launched Revive in terms of cultural policy, generally. But the previous government has run them down and with Trove they have run it straight up to a brick wall of funding where it all stops on the 30th of June. So, that's probably as much as I can offer in advance of there being a budget decision".

****************************** At a local level in the South East there is already a trove of scanned newspapers from our past that capture our history, celebrate our community and describe to the many generations who visit TROVE for research or pleasure the rich history of place and people. To assist the advocacy of the continued funding Eurobodalla Council should join with the community to advocate for the continuity of what is a treasure trove of Australia's cultural heritage. Council's Eurobodalla Heritage Strategy 2017-2021 says: Our Shire’s cultural and environmental heritage is identified, recorded, promoted and sympathetically managed for current and future generations. "Heritage is evidence of our history. Conserving our heritage helps us to understand our past, and to contribute to the lives of future generations. It gives us a sense of continuity and belonging to the place where we live. Under Council's Eurobodalla Heritage Strategy 2017-2021 it states under 4. Managing local heritage Strategy: To research, interpret and conserve the significant heritage items that have shaped the history and development of Eurobodalla. Encourage and support the archiving of local newspapers on the Trove website. With a new committee under a new Council it is hoped that the encouragement and support the Strategy purports is more than words on paper. The Council's Eurobodalla Heritage committee are: Councillor Amber Schutz (chair)

  • Three delegates representing each of the three district historical societies

  • The chairperson of the Eurobodalla Aboriginal Advisory Committee

  • Four community representatives

Given that Council's Eurobodalla Heritage committee strategy identifies Encourage and support the archiving of local newspapers on the Trove website. they are well placed to advocate to the two local Federal Members as well as the Federal Minister for Arts reinforcing the role that local history, as captured and presented in TROVE adds to the heritage of the region, and ensures that the history is accurately reported. As concern builds for the future of Trove, Australia’s peak body for the library sector, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has pulled together the following resources to support individuals to advocate for secure and adequate funding for this essential service. What you can do

Trove is an invaluable resource for Australia and Australians. However despite its importance, Trove is facing a funding crisis. This is why it is so important that we come together as a community to support Trove and advocate for the funding it needs to continue its work.

You can help support Trove by:

  • Writing to MPs and Senators to help them understand the issues and the importance of secure, ongoing funding for this essential infrastructure.

  • Encouraging other people who will be impacted and/or care about Trove’s funding to write and talk about the issue.

  • Sharing local news coverage or other activities that call for ongoing funding for Trove.

  • Sending media coverage you come across through to as we will be collating the stories.

Recommended reading

Australia’s cultural treasure Trove hangs in the balance, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 March 2023.

The treasure that is Trove: why reference librarians love it, State Library of Victoria, 15 March 2023.

How to write in support of Trove

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) say: "Any letter is better than no letter! Letters can be physical or email, and you can find the contact details for your local MP, Senators and Ministers here.

The letters that have the strongest cut-through are those written from personal experience. So if you have a Trove story to tell, if Trove has been important to your work, your community or your family, please put that in.

If you are stuck, the following talking points might help:

  • Explain why Trove is important to you. For example

    • As a researcher, I use Trove to research changing land use patterns in WA

    • As a fiction writer, Trove is a source of inspiration for me, and provides the details needed to bring my historical murder mysteries to life.

    • As a member of the local historical society, we used Trove to support a recent exhibition on the history of the local school.

    • As a member of the public, I used Trove to research my family.

    • As a teacher I set my class an assignment using Trove to look at how writing for the media has changed in Australian over the decades.

  • I am extremely concerned to read reports that Trove does not have secure, adequate funding to maintain current services and to improve and grow.

  • (If you or your organisation has contributed to Trove) I/we have contributed to/volunteered for Trove over x years. I/we have done this because of the importance of Trove and its role making Australia’s culture accessible to everyone.

  • Trove is an essential part of Australia’s cultural infrastructure.

  • Trove needs secure and adequate funding into the future so that we don’t lose access to Australian stories.

I/we ask that you take action to secure sustainable funding for Trove, now and into the future.


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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