Legistrative Council E-Petitions

E-petition Number
Funding to digitise more Victorian newspapers to Trove
The Petition of certain citizens of the State of Victoria draws to the attention of the Legislative Council that the digitisation of Victorian historical newspapers to Trove is underfunded, limiting the accessibility of historical newspapers to the public. Greater funding should be made available so more newspapers from communities all across Victoria can be digitised.

During the COVID-19 lockdown community groups, students, genealogists and researchers were unable to access the vital information contained in non-digitised newspapers. Digitising more newspapers provides broader access to information on community heritage, irrespective of time, geographical or physical constraints. By allocating funds towards digitising historical newspapers, they can be made accessible online.

Funding for digitisation is granted on an individual case-by-case basis, leaving thousands of Victorian newspapers yet to be funded. In the past, collective funding was available for all communities, however, financing digitisation of newspapers has become the responsibility of the people in the communities, disadvantaging those areas with limited funds.

Victoria has more than the equivalent of 10,000 years' worth of out-of-copyright microfilmed newspapers yet to be digitised. It would take nearly 180 years to digitise at the process rate of 2018-19, but with reasonable funding, mass-digitisation can be achieved between 2021-2024. This will allow the first wave of currently in-copyright newspapers to be freshly digitised in 2025. New South Wales and Western Australia run programs that support mass-scale digitising of newspapers. Programs like these need to be adopted by the Victorian Government.
The petitioners therefore request that the Legislative Council call on the Government to prioritise funding for Trove digitisation of historical newspapers to ensure that more of Victoria’s heritage and community information can be searchable and accessible online.
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