Australia’s Trove Online Database may be Shut Down due to Funding Cuts

The Trove-NLA-logo_Alt_Colour. It includes more than 4 million digitised items, including books, images, music, historic newspapers and maps. Many of these online items, especially the newspapers, are valuable to genealogists and historians. As well as providing a service to people overseas, Trove has been an important educational resource for academics and rural communities in Australia. In 2014, the database’s fifth year, an estimated 70,000 people were using the website each day.

Australia Library and Information Association chief executive Sue McKarracher said Trove was a visionary move by the library and had turned into a world-class resource. “Trove isn’t just a nice thing to have, it’s not just about digital access to museum pieces or library documents, this is a fundamental piece of our national research infrastructure,” she said.

The Library’s funding comes from the Australian government. The National Library is facing $20 million in funding cuts for the next fiscal year. A leaked email message from the National Library’s director-general projected 22 jobs would be axed next financial year, with more in the future, as a result of the funding cuts. That obviously means cuts in services as well. The Trove Online Database reportedly is one of the cuts planned.

The Library staff are looking for additional funding or, if that fails, for another organization to take over the maintenance and growth of the Trove online database. Hopefully, they can find the resources.

Details may be found in an article by Georgia Hitch in the ABC Australian News web site at http://goo.gl/jT1R7i.

3 Comments

How appalling. It shows how governments everywhere place no value on libraries and archives.

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Dick, this story has been around for some months and as far as I can see there is no possibility that TROVE will be shut down. The impact of the cut in funding will be to limit future additions to the resource, which is not the same thing at all. The article you referenced includes these quotes:

“without funding from the library, institutions or organisations that want to submit collections to the Trove database would have to find the money to fund it themselves.”

“It might not deter universities and it might not deter the major museums… but for small museums – of which there are 2,500 in Australia – many of which are volunteer run and funded through councils, they may not be able to afford it.”

Perhaps I can also take this opportunity to mention that the newspapers digitised by TROVE often reprinted stories from British newspapers, so it could be worth searching the archive even if you don’t have connections with Australia.

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That would be so sad. As an Australian living in the US, Trove has been invaluable in documenting my family history. Through it, I was able to chronicle the show-jumping career of a grandmother who left her husband and young children to follow a dream. I had no information on her life until I started researching the Trove site.

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