ABC to open access to digital archives

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ABC to open access to digital archives
(Credit: ABC)

Teaching resource to cost $20m over three years.

The ABC and Education Services Australia have garnered a $20 million project to digitise the public broadcaster's archives for a new education portal the Federal Government hopes will promote use of the National Broadband Network.

The NBN Education Portal, announced jointly by communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy and school education minister Peter Garrett, will offer public access to ABC's archive and interactive content.

It would be specifically targeted at primary schools and linked to the school curriculum, allowing teachers to use the portal as a resource.

It would offer tutorials on Australian historical social issues and "self-directed interactive learning activities" such as games, quizzes and collaborative projects.

The ABC has taken on digitisation of its television, radio and other archives at various times to mixed reactions from communities. Its attempt to digitise 70 years' worth of radio archives in 2001 was opposed by librarians and other communities amid fears the new format would lose data.

The public broadcaster most recently opened some of its archives to the public under a creative commons by attribution license.

Regardless of the NBN, the website - due for release next year - will be publicly available and accessible from any computer.

It is set to cost $19.94 million over three years for set-up funds and ongoing content additions, and is separate from a $27 million fund to promote new skills for use under the NBN.

A spokesman for Senator Conroy stressed the portal was "not just a website".

The portal project was formed out of the Department of Broadband's digital economy strategy released earlier this year.

One of the eight outlined goals stipulates moves to expand online education and provide "the connectivity to develop and collaborate on innovative and flexible educational services and resources to extend online learning resources to the home and workplace".

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