Perenially starved, fighting a tsunami of content, forced to choose between acquisition and accessibility, the NFSA is always starved for cash. Today Minister Fletcher made a funding announcement as part of a flurry of activity at the cultural end of his portfolio. The NFSA will receive $5.5 million over the next four years. Sounds like junk money but it is claimed to be enough to ‘achieve the digitisation of all audio and video magnetic tape by 2025’. That is not all the collection by any means, since it refers only to that part of it kept on magnetic tape, which is a much simpler exercise than storing and scanning celluloid. The move is triggered by the general archive realisation that tape disintegrates, the replay machines are disappearing and the experts are retiring. According to the announcement,
- Acquire multi-channel video ingest workstations, which will increase its capacity to digitise at-risk video by five times.
- Upgrade its audio digitisation suites to double their existing capacity.
- Acquire a state-of-the-art film preservation scanner to continue its digitisation efforts for at-risk 16mm and 35mm film.
- Increase its digital storage and infrastructure.
- Create new work opportunities for audiovisual professionals.
The additional funding required to increase the NFSA’s capacity to meet ‘Deadline 2025’ is estimated at $10 million. It will ensure all surviving tape‑based media in the NFSA collection is digitised and ready for long-term digital storage and access.