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Connecting communities to collected words.

The Australian First Languages Collections Strategy 2013 is an historic effort to uncover and share the linguistic treasures of the First Languages of Australia held within our collecting institutions.

Initiated in 2010, the goals of the strategy are to coordinate awareness and management of the wealth of materials held in collections that relate to Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Key elements of the project are:

  • the identification of language materials
  • communication between institutions about materials held
  • coordinating digitisation between institutions
  • exploring the best options for archiving of materials
  • making materials accessible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members
  • supporting the creation of a ‘one-stop’ portal for access to first language materials.

This strategy addresses key points contained in the National Indigenous Languages Policy, which notes the role of national collecting institutions in preserving and making accessible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages materials.

The overarching recommendations are:

  • auditing and identification of resources
  • access to collections
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • growing collections.

The report outlines the history of this strategy document and the associated forums that lead to it. The movement toward a strategy is detailed under the headings:

  • Institutional policy
  • ‘Audit, discover, locate’
  • Implementation
  • Information sharing
  • Digitisation.

Since the initial discussions, national, state and territory libraries have stepped up to the challenges identified. In 2015, the strategy was adopted by National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA), a leading library sector collaboration and the peak body for libraries in Australia and New Zealand.

Download the National Indigenous Collections Strategy.

Language is the expression of our culture and our land. We cannot have one without the others. We cannot describe our culture and our land if we do not have language.

Joy Bonner, Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee (QILAC)

Photo: Vocabulary of Stonequarry Creek. State Library NSW’s “Rediscovering Indigenous Languages Project”.


Contact us

Phone  +61 2 4940 9144  or  1300 975 246
Visit  2 Milton St, Hamilton, NSW, 2303
Post PO Box 74, Hamilton, NSW 2303

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