In Support of Trove

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Trove makes Australia's cultural history freely available to us all. We must save it!
, James Gaunt.

Earlier this year we wrote about the fantastic resource that is Trove. In that post, Trove - A Treasure Trove of Australian Content, we highlighted how our volunteers use Trove when editing Wikipedia.

Today, Wikimedia Australia is affirming it's support of Trove and joining the call for the Australian Government to increase Trove's funding to secure digital access to Australia's history.

What is Trove?

Trove is a website run by the National Library of Australia (NLA) and other partners. It holds digital copies of newspapers, government gazettes, maps, magazines and newsletters, photographs, and archived websites.

Launched in 2009, Trove now holds 6 billion digital items and has become an important resource for researchers and anyone interested in Australia's history.

Because Trove is free to access, it is used by people around the world, and alongside other NLA hosted sources was one of the most referenced websites on English Wikipedia in 2018.

Funding for Trove expires in July 2023

While we're fairly confident Trove won't disappear in August, it's clear Trove's future is under threat.

In 2022, Trove wrote that their future beyond July 2023 will require "substantial investment" if they are to achieve their full strategic vision. If limited funding is received Trove may reduce their services, and with no additional funding Trove will cease being offered by the NLA.

They also wrote, 44% of Trove's running costs are supported through Trove Partner contributions, which they expect will decline.

The government will announce their next budget in May 2023, and it's expected to include funding for the NLA and Trove, but pressure is mounting from the wider community who feel still uncertainty around Trove's future.

A call to action

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), Australia’s peak body for the library sector, has led the call for more organisations to speak up for Trove.

The ALIA website gives further information on why we should be worried and what is at stake if Trove isn't funded.

Wikimedia Australia join the many organisations who stand in support of Trove. We call on the Australian government to not only fund the National Library of Australia and Trove, but to increase their funding to make sure Trove can grow into a world-leading platform in preserving and presenting Australia's history for future generations.

On 6 March 2023, two petitions (EN4745 and EN4747) were presented to the House of Representatives. Currently both are awaiting a response from Minister Tony Burke.

What can you do?

There are many ways you can help if you want to save Trove.

Contact your local MP to tell them you want Trove to be funded.

Telling your local MP that Trove is important to you will help get the message through to the government. ALIA have created a guide which suggests adding a personal note on your own experience using Trove.

To make things easier, Professional Historians Association member Peter Symons created a form to send an email to your local MP calling for Trove to be fully funded. You can find it here.

Sign the petition.

Peter Symons also created a petition which you can sign here. It currently has close to 33,000 signatures and has already been shared by senators in Canberra.

Social media.

Share your support from Trove on social media. Use the hashtag #FullyFundTrove to let others know how important Trove is to you.

Additionally, keep sharing stories about how you use Trove so that everyone can understand its many uses.

Whether you use Trove for writing Wikipedia biographies about Australians, finding short stories published in Australian newspapers, or vintage knitting patterns, everyone can find something in Trove.

An important treasure Trove

In the months leading up to the May budget we must ensure everyone hears how Trove is an important part of Australia’s cultural history.

Trove has made so much of Australia's cultural history freely available to us all and we must ensure it remains available.

Wikimedia Australia calls on the Australian Government to make sure Trove is not only funded, but that funding is given to allow it to properly secure digital access to Australia's history, allowing the world to see Australia's cultural impact.

Further reading

Some of the other organisations who are calling to save Trove:

Top image: National Library of Australia January 2013 by Nick-D on Wikimedia Commons.

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