The National Library of Australia’s ‘Trove’ service is a free gateway into Australia’s vast cultural collections. It’s role is critical for undertaking historical research, but its future is in jeopardy.
If you’re not familiar with Trove, shame on you! (Just kidding)
In all seriousness, the site is one of the best free sources of historical Australian cultural materials available. Managed by the National Library of Australia, Trove contains in excess of 6.4 billion records, including searchable historical newspapers, magazines, catalogues, maps, audio recordings, genealogy and more. Trove makes all of these resources available where they’d otherwise remain ‘locked away’ on microfiche cassettes and within Compactus units in Canberra.
Unfortunately Trove’s future is quite uncertain.
Within the National Library of Australia’s Trove Strategy sits this blunt assessment of its financial future:
The Library has sufficient resources to maintain Trove until June 2023. The future of Trove beyond July 2023 will be dependent upon available funds. To achieve the full strategic vision will require substantial investment. More modest investment sustained over a longer term would enable achievement of the strategy at a measured pace. In a limited funding environment, Trove may reduce to a service focused on the National Library of Australia’s collections. Without any additional funds, the Library will need to cease offering the Trove service entirely.Trove Strategy 2021-2023
An official petition was sent to the federal parliament in Canberra calling for funding to secure Trove’s future. That petition collected 22,240 signatures from the public. A change.org petition has even more (well done, everyone). But the clock is ticking and there has been no word from the Commonwealth Government or Minister for Arts as yet.
The next step is for the public to write to their local MP and lobby them to support fully-funding Trove. Hop to it!