The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) began in 1945 when an agreement, to copy material relating to Australia and the Pacific held in repositories in the United Kingdom, was signed by the National Library of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales. Filming began in 1948 and for ten years the work of the Project was confined entirely to the Public Record Office (PRO) in London.

From 1960 onwards the AJCP extended its coverage to include archives and manuscripts held in the British Library, the National Libraries of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, university libraries, museums, learned societies, business archives, county and city record offices, missionary societies and private homes. These microfilms formed the Miscellaneous Series or M Series.

In 1988 the original partnership between the State Library of New South Wales and the National Library came to an end. For a further five years the AJCP continued under the sole direction of the National Library, supported by the State Library of Victoria, the National Library of New Zealand, the National Archives of New Zealand and several university libraries. The AJCP Office in London was closed in June 1993 and the last reel was received in 1997

The microfilm

The AJCP was probably the longest-running project of its kind in the world. It located, described and filmed thousands of classes and collections of Australian, New Zealand and Pacific records held in hundreds of institutions, organisations and homes in almost every part of Britain and Ireland. It produced and despatched to Australia over 10,000 reels of microfilmed records dating from 1560 to 1984.

For the purposes of arrangement and description, the AJCP film is divided into two series: the Public Record Office Series and the Miscellaneous Series. There are 7314 reels in the PRO Series and 3105 reels in the M Series. The PRO Series is organised by the department or agency of the British Government that created and assembled the records, such as the Colonial Office, Home Office, Treasury or Admiralty. The M Series reels are grouped either under the person or body that created the records, such as Sir Joseph Banks or the London Missionary Society, or the repository that currently holds the records, such as the British Library, National Library of Ireland, or Buckinghamshire Record Office.

AJCP Handbooks

Eleven AJCP Handbooks were published to provide an index to the material filmed in the Project. Part 1 is a general introduction and shelf list of copying, parts 2-7 and 9-11 are class and piece lists for Public Record Office records filmed by the Project. Part 8 provides a brief description of each Miscellaneous Series collection. Parts 1, 5, 8, 10 and 11 are still in print and available for purchase from the National Library bookshop. The Handbooks are also widely held in other Australian libraries.

The entries in Part 8 of the Handbook refer to the existence of more detailed lists of the collections filmed. These lists can be consulted either in the Newspapers and Microforms Reading Room or the Manuscript Reading Room

Access to microfilm

Within the Library the AJCP film can be used in the Newspapers and Microforms Reading Room on the lower ground floor. AJCP film is available for interlibrary loan. Requests for interlibrary loans can be sent to the Library's Document Supply Service.