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After WikiLeaks, is it all over for The Archives? WikiLeaks and the future of recordkeeping in a connected world

Recordkeeping Roundtable

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 5:30 PM (AEDT)

After WikiLeaks, is it all over for The Archives?...

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The Recordkeeping Roundtable in conjunction with the NSW Branch of the Australian Society of Archivists presents ‘After WikiLeaks, is it all over for The Archives? WikiLeaks and the future of recordkeeping in a connected world'.

Credit: AP Images

Credit: AP Images / Image above right: WikiLeaks

In this panel discussion and Q&A session, speakers will explore questions of trust, authenticity, secrecy, access and uses of records/archives in a Web 3.0, post WikiLeaks world.

WikiLeaks’ tsunami of diplomatic cables has swamped the timid release of government information trialled by a number of Western governments over the past decade.

These succinct, nearly contemporary and (in the case of CableGate) gossipy documents have made access to government records sexy. The outrage of the US Administration has ensured that the cables remain front page news.

Wikileaks’ frontman, Julian Assange, refers to them as an archive, a direct challenge to the archival profession’s claim to the domain of preserving and providing access to government records.

And in this context it is hard to get excited about the release of 30 year old Commonwealth Cabinet records, the one annual event in Australia guaranteed to get the word “archives” into the press.

Where does that leave the recordkeepers and archivists? What has WikiLeaks done to the public notion of what is an archive?

World-wide there is a demand for more responsive and accountable government, for better governance, public and corporate, not just in the Middle East. People want reliable and useable information documenting what governments and corporations do so they can form their own judgements and act to rectify problems. Records as evidence should be the scaffold on which such political analysis and reform are built.

Yet we remain anchored to the paper world – the world of siloed file registries, blanket closures lasting decades and gatekeeper models of providing access. After WikiLeaks it really won’t do.

So what can the archives/records profession learn from WikiLeaks and from the connected world more generally? And what are our users’ expectations now and in the future? Indeed, who are our users? How do we translate our theories and models into this new environment? What can we contribute?

What is the future for ‘The Archives’ in a post WikiLeaks, connected world?


  • Anne Picot (Chair) is the Deputy University Archivist at the University of Sydney, and a member of Standards Australia’s IT21 Records Management Committee.
  • Stephen Gillies is the President of the System Administrators Guild of Australia and the Principal Consultant for the IT security and advisory business 3rd Base Networks (3BN). He is a founding member of the Internet Society of Australia and a member of the IEEE.
  • Linda Tucker is the manager of casework and compliance for the NSW Office of the Information Commissioner. Linda works with the small but energetic casework team on the investigation and review of agency responses to their right to information obligations under the Government Information Public Access Act. Prior to joining the OIC, Linda worked in employment and migration law as a solicitor and barrister and as an academic on international environmental law.
  • Barbara Reed is a Principal of Recordkeeping Innovation, a consultancy and training company specialising in records, archives and information management. She has been a Senior Lecturer at Monash University’s School of Information Management and Systems, has contributed to a number of national and international standards for recordkeeping and heads the Australian delegation to the International Standards Organisation’s committee on records management.
  • Cassie Findlay is an archivist and recordkeeping professional who is currently responsible for State Records NSW’s digital records strategy, “Future Proof”. She authored the chapter on 'Digital recordkeeping' in the Australian Society of Archivists' textbook Keeping Archives (third edition).

Getting to the Australian Technology Park

This event will be held at the ATP Innovations Seminar Room, Ground floor, National Innovation Centre Australian Technology Park, Eveleigh.

By Rail: Exit via Platform 10 at Redfern Station. Walk past the WaterTower apartment block and follow the walkway through to the Australian Technology Park. The National Innovation Centre is the first building on the campus you will see. Enter via the main entrance on the Western side of the building off the Innovation Plaza.

By Bus: There are frequent bus services to the Australian Technology Park from the city and Sydney's domestic and international airport. The bus stop closest to the Australian Technology Park is on the corner of Boundary and Regent Street.

By Bicycle: Cycle facilities are located throughout ATP. Bike racks are located in Bay 4, Bay 16, 8 Central Ave and the Biomedical Building.

By Car: The entrance to the Australian Technology Park car park is from Henderson Road, Eveleigh. Parking fees apply.

For maps, see: http://www.atp.com.au/how-to-find-atp


With thanks to our sponsors, ATP Innovations.

The Recordkeeping Roundtable would also like to acknowledge the work of the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York and the Metro NYC Chapter of ARMA, who inspired us with their event ‘WikiLeaks and the archives and records profession’, held on January 25, 2011 in New York.

Have questions about After WikiLeaks, is it all over for The Archives? WikiLeaks and the future of recordkeeping in a connected world? Contact Recordkeeping Roundtable

When & Where

ATP Innovations Seminar Room
Ground floor, National Innovation Centre
Australian Technology Park, Eveleigh

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 5:30 PM (AEDT)

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Recordkeeping Roundtable

The Recordkeeping Roundtable is a group of Sydney based recordkeeping professionals.

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