Original AJCP Team with Microfilm Reader

Sara Joynes, Graeme Powell and Margaret Phillips, AJCP Project Team, 15 January 1992.

Original Project, 1948-1997

The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) started in 1948 as a partnership between the National Library of Australia, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK. The AJCP identified, described and copied records relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific held in hundreds of institutions, organisations and homes throughout the United Kingdom.

The aim of the AJCP was to copy records held in the then Public Records Office, London relating to Australia. In later years, the geographic scope of the project was extended to encompass New Zealand, the Pacific, and most of South East Asia and Antarctica.

The project spanned almost fifty years. Filming began in 1948 and finished in 1997 producing 10,419 microfilm reels capturing an estimated 8 million records dating from 1560 to 1984. All Australian State Libraries were participants at various stages of the project, in different ways. New Zealand joined the project at a later stage through the then, Department of Internal Affairs.

In 1988, the original partnership ended with the withdrawal of The State Library of New South Wales from the project. The AJCP progressed under the sole direction of the National Library of Australia with the continuing support of the State Library of Victoria, The National Library of New Zealand, The National Archives of New Zealand, and to a lesser degree other state and university libraries.

To facilitate access to the content of the microfilm, the project published 11 paper handbooks and created over 500 individual finding aids (associated with the Miscellaneous Series). Together they totalled over 10,000 pages of description.

AJCP Online, 2017-2020

Australian Joint Copying Project Online Delivery Group Photograph

AJCP Paper to Digital. Members of the 2017-2020 Australian Joint Copying Project Online Delivery teams from the NLA Digitisation and Document Delivery, Information Technology, Trove and Pictures & Manuscripts Branches, 25 February 2019

The Public Service Modernisation Fund provided the Library with a unique opportunity to transform delivery of and engagement with AJCP content, encompassing records relating to Australia held in United Kingdom institutions and private hands.

The project digitised 8.2 million microfilm images, converted over 10,000 pages of descriptive text, and provided online access to material previously only available onsite through Libraries and Archives.

An innovative approach to utilising the communication standard Encoded Archival Description has ensured that AJCP content is now discoverable at all levels of description across multiple avenues including Trove, Library catalogues and search engines. 

The project incorporated new information into the existing finding aids, making it easier to discover, search, and contextualise AJCP records. The content is now searchable online through multiple search facets including personal and family names, organisational names, subjects, geographical locations or dates. All data points are linked to each other, so the context of the discovered record is maintained at all time, retaining its original context and meaning. Where possible, each finding aid now contains a link to the institution holding the original documents; additional details about the range and coverage of the records; and tags for significant individuals, organisations, subjects, places, and events.