Archival Statistics 2003

Conducted by State Records NSW on behalf of the Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities.


The statistics for 2003 cover 10 archival institutions:


The Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities collects statistics on behalf of Australia ’s archival institutions.  CAARA members complete surveys on an annual basis while non-CAARA Archival Institutions will be asked to complete a survey every 5th year (due next in 2005).

The current survey for the year ending 30 June 2003 was undertaken by State Records NSW.

Survey Process

Surveys were sent out to all CAARA members in electronic form on 8 June 2004 with a return date of 2 July. However, the final response was not received until 30 August 2004 .

Only minor changes had been made to the survey form to aid understanding for respondents. Questions were consistent with previous years to allow for comparisons.


The responses for all participants are at Appendix A (PDF, 149kb). The statistics are as complete as submitted.  To benchmark the results a time series data analysis was completed for 1996-2002 and shown in Appendix B (PDF, 77kb).

The gaps that occur in some sections of the charts are a result of participants being unable to answer the question accurately with the resources available to them.

Comments on Selected Results


The 2003 figures show a decrease from the previous survey. However, this is due to National Archives of Australia excluding temporary records for the first time. All other institutions recorded an increase in holdings.

Quantity of holdings has increased 62.98% between 1996 and 2003. A small part of the increase since 1996 was due to the inclusion of holdings from the Territory Records Office for the first time in 2003. Excluding the ACT, the increase would be 61.63%. This figure is also affected by the point below.

Reference Services

Trends identified in the previous survey — decrease in reading room activity and increase in total enquiries — continued in 2003.

Indicator Comparison 1996-2003 Comparison 2002-2003
Items made available in reading rooms – 19.1% – 1.24%
Total enquiries received 164.78% 18.76%
Total visits to reading rooms – 13.07% -0.10%


The total number of staff employed on a full time basis increased by 20.42% over last year, with only the Public Record Office Victoria, State Records NSW and Territory Records Office (ACT) reporting a decrease.

Overall, however, staffing levels are 8.8% lower than in 1996. This is partly offset by the fact that, from 2002, the State Records NSW figures exclude the Government Records Repository off-Budget records storage business.


The figures show a 20.25% decrease since 2002, but this is wholly the result of National Archives of Australia selling repository buildings (most of which are being leased back).

The total amount of storage area (m2 has increased by 11.86% since 1996.

Productivity Change

For each Full-time position filled, the productivity change for the period 1996 to 2001 is identified in the following table.

1996 2003 % Increase
Visits to Reading Room 147 125 -15%
Items made available 504 381 -24%
Enquiries 134 363 171%