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Author: Public Record Office Victoria

“State of the art” is an easy phrase to write; establishing and managing a state of the art repository is a real challenge.  There are a number of factors that can contribute to  making a repository “state of the art”, including the facility which houses it, its environmental systems, security, preservation and conservation resources, the training provided for its staff, steps taken to ensure a safe work environment, management of any risks and disaster prevention and management.

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To assist organisations like PROV, standards have been produced both locally and internationally that set out requirements for high quality collection storage and management.

PROV has produced its own Storage Standard, “PROS11/01”, which has two specifications supporting it: Specification 1 is for Agency and Approved Public Record Office Storage Supplier (APROSS) and Specification 2 is for Places of Deposit Storing State Archives.

During 2012-13 PROV undertook a project to assess its own storage management against Specification 2. An independent assessment panel was established to review evidence, undertake inspections and to discuss the merits of PROV’s storage management.

The results of the assessment are very pleasing: we rated an impressive 96.7% against the specification.

This is not a perfect score and that is to be expected. (For example, the Specification requires all collection storage containers to be acid-free. On that basis alone, PROV can’t score perfectly, as we have an ongoing project to move out of non-archival containers which were in use in the 1980s and earlier.) However, there were no areas identified within the assessment that required any significant remedial attention, or changes to our current practices.

PROV will continue to seek ways to improve our storage and collection management, ensuring the collection is available for all users now and into the future.

Well done PROV!