Trove saved with a crucial funding boost

The free online archive Trove, which was due to close in the middle of the year, has been rescued with a funding injection from the Albanese  government.

The government has committed $33 million over four years to the National Library of Australia (NLA), which operates Trove, to maintain the service.

It will then receive $9.2 million in ongoing, indexed funding from July 2027. In its Trove Strategy, the library stressed that secure ongoing funding was what was required to keep the resource online.

Read more: Trove in trouble: why does it cost money to keep the resource online?

Trove provides access to billions of records held in Australian libraries, archives, museums and other resources.

These records include digitised newspapers, images, video and audio recordings, and records of physical documents.

The site receives about 22 million page visits per year, and is used widely by members of the public, as well as academics and other researchers.

Environmental historian Dr Rebecca Jones, who has used Trove to study extreme weather over Australia’s history, says that the funding boost is “tremendous news”.

“Trove provides that really local micro-history – a dust storm happening in Innamincka, or something like that,” says Jones.

“Particularly for more remote areas, which is what I research, when good meteorological records are not kept for the local area, you get the major events reported in newspapers all the time. And it’s just brilliant.

“Other than diaries, which I also use, it’s really the only way you can access that kind of micro-history, and see not only what happened, but also what people did [in response].”

Read more: Trove: how vital is it to Australian research?

Jones says that the ongoing funding for Trove allows her to feel more secure about using these resources for research.

“Before Trove existed, we used to use the microfilms in the major libraries. That was fine for major newspapers like The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, but there was so few of those local newspapers from rural areas.

“And it was incredibly time-consuming manual searching. You couldn’t do the same kind of sophisticated searches that the Trove is designed to do.”

While the vast majority of Trove users are interested amateurs, it’s also become a vital resource for researchers on topics as varied as history, political science, climate science, and endangered languages.

“It’s just this fantastic repository of events and attitudes,” says Jones.

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