Cataloging Platform Project 2019

1 Background

First Nations Media Australia received Indigenous Languages and Arts Program funding in late 2018 for development of an archive collection management system. The focus of the project is on systems for:

  • Recording the metadata for analogue and digital objects in collections.
  • Searching and reporting on the collection for access and preservation.

FNMA considerations on the choice of a platform were focussed on how well platforms support organisations to:

  • Identify, record and efficiently arrange what is in their Archive (analogue, digitised and born digital objects).
  • Record decisions for conservation and digitisation of analogue media.
  • Access pathways for suitable digitised and digital media to be viewed online.

The project assessed existing systems for affordability and appropriateness, including investigation of any customisation or app or systems integration possibilities suitable for the sector. 

FNMA formed a Steering Group and a Reference Group to work with the sector and stakeholders in the identification of a suitable platform(s). 

2 Project outcomes

2.1 Platform identification

The project investigation determined that there was no single platform (regardless of cost) able to meet diversity of Archive needs in the First Nations community media sector.  The cost of a custom-built platform was beyond the funding available to the project. Therefore, the project took an alternative and flexible approach based on affordable and culturally appropriate platforms that could be customised to align with the First Nations media metadata profile.  The project identified a range of Archive “scenarios” with recommendations for specific platforms considered effective for the various scenarios.

Physical and digitised media platform

Five platforms have been recommended against seven scenarios. The platforms and scenarios are: 

  1. Excel
  2. Google Sheets
  3. The Collecting Bug
  4. Mukurtu
  5. Keeping Culture



Born digital media

A curation approach has been recommended for born-digital media with Neofinder identified as the in-house digital assessment management system, and separate viewing platforms used for community access. This structure is shown in the following diagram.



Decision support guide

A summary of the platform scenarios and a flowchart for supporting Archives make selection decisions is available for download here


2.2 First Nations Media Archive Resources

A range of archiving resources have been prepared as part of the project. They are being formed into an archive manual, with components of the manual available as separate documents in the Archiving Resources section of the FNMA website


3 Project staffing

Project Manager 2019 (part-time) Susan Locke.  Emaill [email protected]au.

Enquiries may also be made to the FNMA General Manager, First Nations Media Australia at [email protected] or phone on 08 8952 6465.


4 International Digital Curation Conference

In the lead up to the formal commencement of the project, Susan Locke, Elizabeth Napaljarri Katakarinja, Simon Japangardi Fisher and Daniel Featherstone attended the International Digital Curation Conference in Melbourne in February 2019 and met with attending First Nations archive managers to gain feedback on the project. The feedback confirmed the direction being taken with the platform, and identified some key issues for organisations, including affordability, sustainability, non-proprietary, flexibility with regard to media being online or not, and capacity to integrate through csv capability with systems that may or may not be in use in the sector.International Digital Curation Conference attendees 2019