Organisational context

The Library's role is to ensure that documentary resources of national significance relating to Australia and the Australian people, as well as significant non-Australian library materials, are collected, preserved and made accessible either through the Library itself or through collaborative arrangements with other libraries and information providers. By offering a strong national focus in all that the Library does, and cooperating with others, the Library supports learning, creative and intellectual endeavour, and contributes to the continuing vitality of Australia’s diverse culture and heritage. Increasingly, library materials are being acquired and demanded in digital form.

The business problem

The Library must increase its capacity to collect digital content, including the development of more robust tools for importing, managing and preserving such content. It must also increase its capacity to digitise its paper and other analogue collections, and to deliver digital content online, while supporting scalable and reliable storage capacity measured in multiple petabytes.

Program objectives

The Library is to redevelop its digital infrastructure to enable it to collect, generate, manage, preserve and provide ongoing access to the rapidly escalating volume of digital information resources that fall within its collecting mandate. It is also aims to better meet community expectations for easy and timely access to national collections by converting as much as possible of its traditional content into digital form, and by delivering digital content, whether born-digital or digitised, online.

Desired outcomes

 In the context of its digital collecting, the Library is seeking outcomes for the program that enable it to:

  • Scale up its collecting of digital materials – to support both increased acquisition of materials already in digital form, and mass digitisation programs for generating digital content from physical sources;
  • Support a full spectrum of collection workflows – from small-scale, single-item, largely manual workflows for some collection materials, to high volume, high throughput, automated batch workflows for others, such as digitised newspapers;
  • Ensure ongoing access to digital materials – supporting preservation planning, monitoring and response for digital materials;
  • Achieve efficient user-centric content delivery – providing rich user experience of collection content, relationships and context – and enable ‘getting’;
  • Manage content and metadata in an efficient, reliable, sustainable, maintainable and accountable manner; and
  • Supply business workflow efficiencies.

The digital library environment

The Library has a long history in and ongoing commitment to providing innovative digital library services across the breadth of its collections. It is seeking to maintain and expand the activities supported through its existing digital infrastructure to cover:

  • Digitisation of print publications and physical materials – for example, books, journals, newspapers, pictures, manuscripts, maps, music, ephemera, realia;
  • Preservation capture of sound and audio-visual materials – sound and video recordings;
  • Web archiving, including support for alternative collecting scopes – highly selective harvests, harvests based on selected seed URL lists, and harvests of domains or sub-domains;
  • Acquisition of ‘born-digital’ materials, deposited online or via a range of physical carriers – tapes, discs and drives – and including current or recent materials, legacy materials, materials produced in uncontrolled environments or controlled in a records management system; and
  • Management, preservation and delivery of complex content and metadata with complex relationships and multiple delivery contexts.

The program

The Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement (DLIR) program, to be completed over four years, is to provide the minimum systems required, with a life over the subsequent ten years from system delivery, to support present core levels of digital collecting and digitisation, and delivery of digital content. It will also provide the tools to support the active management and preservation of the digital collections.  Only infrastructure and system needs identified as the highest priority will be implemented as part of this program. However the systems will provide a scalable infrastructure capable of supporting enhanced activities should additional external funding be provided.

The scope

  • Gathering and analysing business requirements, for a scalable digital library infrastructure to support the Library for at least ten years;
  • Undertaking an open market procurement process to establish the availability of suitable platforms and components for use in the development of a solution;
  • A solution architecture, which incorporates components to be procured externally and to be integrated with system components to be delivered internally, if the decision is made to procure components;
  • Design, build and deploy the Library-managed program components, and integration with acquired components, to deliver the agreed business solution;
  • Data migration and transitioning from existing systems; and
  • System documentation, user guides and training.

The high-level schedule

  • 2011-12: program planning and open market procurement processes
  • Jan 2013 - Jan 2014: Stage 1 implementation
  • Feb 2014 - Jan 2015: Stage 2 implementation
  • Feb 2015 - June 2015: Stage 3 implementation
  • July 2015 - June 2016: Stage 4 implementation
  • July 2016 - June 2017: Stage 5 implementation


The contact officer for DLIR is: