The 2011 conference of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library and Information Resource Network (ATSILIRN) took place in Melbourne at the State Library of Victoria on the 7 and 8 July 2011. The theme of the 2011 Conference was ‘BIG: big ideas, big collections, big picture’ drawing speakers from the Library and archive profession who work with Indigenous collections.
A representative of the Wurundjeri Tribe Land & Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Inc, Bill Nicholson, welcomed the conference attendees to the area and spoke of the importance of libraries and archives for Aboriginal people re-connecting with culture and heritage. This was a consistent theme throughout the conference, as attendees shared information on the projects their organisations were involved in, and discussed the rewards and challenges of opening up collections for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to access.
Other papers presented at the conference discussed the use of library and archival collections in academic research. Maxine Briggs, Koori Liaison Officer, State Library of Victoria and Jane Belfrage, PHD researcher from La Trobe University, co-presented a session on navigating protocols and permissions to use archival material in academic research for community benefit. Lecturer Julie Andrew, also of LaTrobe University, discussed her research on analysis the data relating to ‘Aboriginal Melbourne & Aboriginal Victoria – New migration patterns or old trade routes?’.
Staff from the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) presented sessions on the changes to the Family History Unit and the project to digitise the Koori Mail. Representatives from the National Archives of Australia (NAA) and the Public Records Office Victoria (PROV) discussed the services available in Victoria to access to records for family history and the larger collection of Indigenous Defence Service Records held by the NAA.
Rebecca Stubbs, PJ Williams, Maxine Briggs and Pat Brady on tour of the State Library of Victoria
ATSIDA presented a lightning session at the conference updating members on the progress of the projects and initiatives that ATSIDA is involved with. This includes working with AIATSIS, under a Memorandum of Understanding, to assist researchers working with Indigenous communities manage their research data.
ATSILIRN is a network established to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in libraries and archives. For more information on the network and how to become a member visit the ATSILIRN website.