Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Data Archive

Dr John Alex Byrne

Tue, 16/11/2010 - 14:58 -- Visitor (not verified)
John Alex

Dr Alex Byrne, UTS University Librarian, researcher and writer, has long encouraged the engagement of libraries and archives with issues relating to Indigenous peoples.

He led the development of the ground breaking ATSILIRN Protocols (1995) and participated in their renewal (2005). Internationally, Alex initiated the process which led to the establishment of the Special Interest Group on Indigenous Matters within the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and also raised the issues within the World Summit on the Information Society. He is the Director of the NSW node of the Australian Social Sciences Data Archive.



A national survey of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols for Libraries, Archives and Information Services (Byrne, Garwood, Moorcroft, and Barnes, 1995) in Australian libraries, followed by case studies in a select number of libraries.

This project concerns a series of good practice protocols by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library and Information Resources Network (ATSILIRN) in 1995. The Protocols were developed to guide libraries, archives, and information services to:

• Interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the communities which the organisations serve, and
• Handle materials with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content.

A literature search indicates that a number of organisations (both LIS and non-LIS based) refer to the protocols but there is no evidence of any research conducted into the relevance and application of the protocols at an institutional level.

A research team at the University of Technology Sydney, endorsed by ATSILIRN, conducted a study into the practical implementation of the protocols across Australia. All relevant library, archive and information service institutions were invited to take part in a national survey. The researchers will follow this up with a study of innovative or exemplary practices to further assist institutions in applying the protocols.

It is anticipated that the research will be used to compile a number of reports covering but not limited to:

• Relevance of the protocols at local, regional and national institutions
• Issues and concerns of institutions relating to Indigenous issues.

Papers are also planned for national and international conferences with the aim of enlisting support for a consistent approach to Indigenous materials held in libraries, archives and information services.