Correspondence
Closed files

From TS to National Archives of Australia, 21 March 2016


Sent to archives@naa.gov.au on 21 May 2016.

Hi,

Forgive me sending this through the catch-all email, but I wasn’t sure which was the best address.

I’m currently doing some analysis of records with the access status of ‘closed’ in RecordSearch. I’ve harvested the details of all the records that were in this category on 1 January this year, and I’m building an interface to explore them. Over the coming months I’ll be creating a series of visualisations and analyses to dig further. I’m hoping this will help demystify some aspects of the access examination process.

For example, here’s a simple bar chart showing the reasons for exemption under the Act and the number of records that cite that reason:

http://closedaccess.herokuapp.com/reasons/

(Please note that the interface itself is still under construction and includes plenty of buggy stuff! Also I haven’t tried it on IE, so you may need a decent browser.)

One question that has already arisen is the ‘Pre access recorder’ category which, as you can see, applies to 2812 files many of which are quite old. I’ve been unable to find any explanation of this category – what does ‘Pre access recorder’ mean and why has it been applied to so many files?

I’d appreciate any advice. No doubt I’ll have further questions as I proceed, but I also hope this work might be of use and interest to the Archives. Certainly it highlights a few metadata fails, for example:

Records without proper dates – http://closedaccess.herokuapp.com/items/?q=&reason=Any&year=1800&age=Any&series=Any&sort=series

Records with ‘MAKE YOUR SELECTION’ as an exemption category – http://closedaccess.herokuapp.com/items/?q=&reason=MAKE+YOUR+SELECTION&year=Any&age=Any&series=Any&sort=series

I also discovered a number of series that don’t appear when you search for them through Advanced Search > Series, but do if you search for items within that series and then click on the series link. These are the ones I’ve found, but there are likely to be more:

A12812
A12987
A13014
MP114/1
A5803
A3973
M1825
A9010
ST3584/1
A12921
A3974
A3966
ST3153/1
M1002
M3826
A8922
M5156
M999
CP71/10
ST6129/7
ST6129/6
C1277
CP71/18
A7991
A3970
M1826
MT1188/1
MT838/1
BP299/2
CP71/3
CP71/1
SP1237/1
CP71/9
MT918/1
A4183
CP71/16
ST6129/2
CP71/4
CP71/8
ST2817/1
CP71/6

I hope that’s useful

Cheers, Tim


Dr Tim Sherratt (tim@discontents.com.au)
Associate-Professor of Digital Heritage, University of Canberra
http://www.discontents.com.au
@wragge on Twitter

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