FNMA Archiving Resources


The Archives of First Nations community media organisations form a unique record of First Nations community media activities, and of First Nations law, culture, language and histories.  First Nations media organisations are committed to preserving their Archives for future generations through organising the Archives professionally as well as digitising media which is at risk due to media deterioration and player obsolescence. 

First Nations Media Australia (FNMA) has been working with these organisations since 2013 as well as with national and State/Territory collecting and cultural institutions to support the preservation of these unique and culturally important Archives.  The collaborations led to the development of the National First Nations Media Archiving Plan in 2014.

Further work by FNMA has led to the development of training resources and templates to support the archive work of First Nations media organisations, including standards for metadata and digital formats for digitised media (See link to the online Toolkit below and the resources on this legacy page).

Deadline 2025

All tape-based formats created in the 20th century are now obsolete. Tape that is not digitised by 2025 is at risk of being lost forever.  The National Film and Sound Archive's Deadline 2025 document sets out the problem, with all Archives needing to plan the resources, staff hours and priorities for digitisation of their collections by 2025. 

Archiving Resources Toolkit

Building on this Resources page, FNMA has now established an interactive Archiving Resources Toolkit as a free resource for use by First Nations not-for-profit community organisations to support archiving and cultural management of community media collections.  It contains guides, which you can either view online or download, info sheets and templates covering most aspects of archiving, including planning, cataloguing, digitising and sharing your collection.

The resources in this toolkit are grouped according to the 6 Steps for Developing First Nations Community Media Archives

Conditions of Use of Toolkit:

1) This Toolkit is for use by First Nations community media organisations and other First Nations not-for-profit community organisations only (Contact FNMA to discuss any other usage);

2) All resources in this Toolkit are copyrighted to First Nations Media Australia and may not be used for commercial purposes

3) While all care has been taken in the preparation of the resources and templates in this Toolkit, they are intended to provide general information only. They are not a substitute for specific technical, legal or other professional advice. No responsibility can be accepted by First Nations Media Australia, its staff, volunteers or Board of Directors, for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies, or for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in the resources.

Cultural Framework

The Archiving Resources are framed within two basic principles underpinning First Nations community media Archives:


  • In the management of First Nations media archives, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and Law are the guiding principles.
  • Local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are essential cultural authorities at the centre of all decision making associated with management of the archives.


Please note: The usage of these resources is approved for First Nations community media organisations and Archives only. Contact First Nations Media Australia to discuss usage outside of that sector. 


Resources in this section are reference materials applicable to all stages of archive development. It is suggested that you download all the resources in this section and file as reference documentation. The resource titled "Assessing and Planning Your Archive" is an important tool for assessing where your Archive development is up to, as well as acting as a planning tool.

Assessing and planning your Archive (pdf 268Kb)

Archiving definitions (pdf 211Kb)

Useful archive links and suppliers (pdf 234Kb)

Undertaking a Significance Study and a Preservation Needs Assessment for the Archive  (pdf 338kb)

Resources in this section are support materials for the high level planning of your Archive. 

Developing the Archive Cultural and Collection Management Plans (pdf 373Kb)

Collection Management Plan Template (.docx 212Kb )

Sample Collection Management Plan (pdf 715Kb)

Disaster Management Planning: Guidelines and Support Information (pdf 1.7Mb)

Disaster Management Planning Templates (.docx 218Kb)

Disaster Management Plan Template (.docx 90Kb)

The development of the National First Nations Media Archiving Plan included the the development of agreed standards and recommendations for metadata and digitised formats. These have now been widely adopted across the sector.

Recommended digital formats for digitised media (pdf 210Kb)

Recommended First Nations archive metadata profiles -full set and inventory/collection management set (pdf 341Kb)

Recommended metadata full set: Excel data entry template .(xls 18KB)

Recommended metadata inventory and collection management: Excel data entry template (.xls 36Kb)

Inventory and Cataloguing platforms: quick guide to support decision making (.pdf 446Kb)

Proper handling and storage of physical media is vital to ensure that digitisation can be carried out effectively. 

Preserving physical media: the basics (pdf 192Kb)

Preservation index (a table showing the rates of deterioration for differing storage temperatures and relative humidity). (pdf 59Kb)

Physical audio recordings: storage and handling recommendations (pdf 612Kb)

Physical photographic media: storage and handling recommendations (pdf 473Kb)

Physical video/film media: storage and handling recommendations (pdf 617Kb)

Auditing the Archive is a necessary step in planning for digitisation.

‌‌‌‌ Physical media inventory/count proforma (.docx 207Kb)

Excel inventory/count template (xlsx 34Kb)

Shelf order systems and digital file naming protocols (pdf 615Kb)

Planning for digitisation (pdf 845Kb)

Digitisation concepts (pdf 203Kb)

Digitisation equipment overview and workflows (pdf 353Kb)

Preparing for digitisation: practical steps (pdf 191Kb)

Digitisation priorities: making decisions (pdf 268Kb)

 Archive Access Policy (.docx 33Kb)

Cataloguing Platforms and Standards Policy (.docx 29Kb)

Cultural Management Policy (.docx 29Kb)

Digital Storage Policy (.docx 30Kb)

Disposal Policy: Physical Media (.docx 29Kb)

Media Donation Policy (.docx 29Kb)

Staffing Policy (.docx 29Kb)