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In March and April 2021 we invited selected user groups of the State Library’s archival collection and colleagues in other local collecting institutions to respond to a survey to provide feedback for our new Archival Collecting Plan.

The results of the survey will be used to assist with the direction of the new Collecting Plan and priorities for collection.

The survey received 85 responses from the following sectors:

Archival survey results, respondent pie-chart, 2021.

Respondents were asked to consider how important it was to continue collecting 12 themes that had been identified as strengths of the existing collection. Each theme could be rated from 7 (high priority) to 1 (low priority). Eleven of the twelve themes received an overall positive ranking (meaning that a majority of responses rated the theme as a 7, 6 or 5).

In order of the highest to lowest average rating, the themes were:

  • Anthropology and Ethnography
  • Foundation of European Settlement
  • Community groups and clubs
  • Exploration
  • Prominent SA individuals/families from 19th and early 20th centuries
  • SA businesses (especially manufacturing and winemaking)
  • Architecture
  • Australians at War to 1945
  • Built environment of Adelaide square mile and surrounds
  • Transport in SA (especially maritime and railways)
  • Arts festivals
  • Christian churches

Respondents were also asked to rate themes that were identified as gaps in the collection. Themes could again be rated from 7 (high priority) to 1 (low priority). There were twelve grouped themes, divided into a total of 54 sub-themes. All twelve themes received an overall positive rating. In order of the highest to lowest average rating, the themes were:

  • Rural and regional communities (94% overall positive)
  • Women’s lives and feminism (93%)
  • Aboriginal voices and experiences (91%)
  • Environment (89%)
  • Multicultural communities (88%)
  • People with disabilities (82%)
  • Food and drink culture (81%)
  • Arts and creative sector (76%)
  • Wars after 1945 (75%)
  • LGBT lives (72%)
  • Health (72%)
  • Sports (55%)

Some sub-themes within these grouped themes rated lower than the overall group, but all still rated over 50% positive.

Respondents also provided valuable ideas regarding other themes for collecting that we had not listed, and suggestions for records that would assist our customer base of family historians. Some responses also included helpful feedback regarding our approach to collecting and access to material.

We wish to thank everyone who responded to the survey.