Big guns in hunt for massive digital archiving contract

Big guns in hunt for massive digital archiving contract

By Stuart Finlayson

Some of the biggest names in IT are vying to win what is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – digital archiving contracts in Australian history.

IBM, Fujitsu and Fuji Xerox feature on the list of companies that have submitted bids to the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) for the development of a Digital Archive. The tender period ends on July 31. KPMG and Cap Gemini have also lodged bids to perform consultancy duties during the implementation, and a plethora of software developers have also expressed an interest in the project.

Whichever company wins out in the end will have a massive task on its hands, as the PROV is the state archive for Victoria, and as such holds hundreds of millions of paper files.

Lucy Hastewell, digital archive project manager at PROV, outlined the scale of the transformation that lies ahead.

"We have a huge number of paper records, occupying 83 kilometres of shelf space. Individual files run into hundreds of millions. It is without doubt one of the biggest such undertakings ever to be carried out in Australia, as we are the first state to go forward with building a digital archive."

The PROV Digital Archive will manage and preserve permanent digital records, and provide online access to all records (paper and digital) in the PROV collection.  The Digital Archive will store VERS Encapsulated Objects (VEOs) and their associated metadata. The functional model for the Digital Archive is based on the OAIS Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System.

Hastewell added that the winning contractor will be given a fair amount of time to complete the changeover, given the size and breadth of the task.

"I'd like to think that we will be live and fully operational within 18 months of awarding the contract, which is a long time in the IT industry, but it is a fairly big task and it is quite broad, (encompassing) supply of hardware, developing the software, setting up the network infrastructure and training the staff in digital documentation."

Details about the successful bidder will be published on the VERS website at when available.

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