Open letter on proposed cuts to ABC library and archive professional roles

Ita Buttrose
Chair, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

David Anderson
Managing Director, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Open letter on proposed cuts to ABC library and archive professional roles

We, the Australian Library and Information Association, the Australian Society of Archivists and the undersigned, write to express our significant concern about the announced reduction in professional library and archival staff at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the lack of a clear and public plan for the future of the ABC archives, library and information services.

Australians trust the ABC to provide well researched, evidence-based journalism and high-quality programming. It is reasonable to expect that the ABC archival collection will be managed according to professional standards for creating, managing and preserving records, standards common to other public institutions responsible for a collection of national significance.  

The growth of digital collections, including born-digital and digitised materials, brings with it challenges such as limits on digital storage, unstable file formats, and the risk of permanent loss when content has not been properly stored or described and so cannot later be found. Journalists, while having many skills, do not have skills in digital collection management and preservation. Professional archivists and librarians do.

In this, its 90th year, the ABC has been able to showcase its proud history because of the work of the ABC’s professional archivists and librarians over the decades, as well as their current work in bringing new content to our screens and airwaves and preserving it for the future. We call upon the ABC to reconsider this decision and commit to professionally managed quality archives and information collections for the benefit of journalists and the wider community.

The form for signing the open letter is now closed. We received 3,122 signatures including the following organisations: