Pandora archive

Coordinates: 35°17′47.49″S 149°07′46.02″E / 35.2965250°S 149.1294500°E / -35.2965250; 149.1294500
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Type of site
Web archive
OwnerNational Library of Australia
Created byNational Library of Australia and partner organisations
URLOfficial website
LaunchedOctober 1996; 27 years ago (1996-10)
Written inPANDORA Digital Archiving System (PANDAS) v.3

PANDORA, or Pandora, is a national web archive for the preservation of Australia's online publications. Established by the National Library of Australia in 1996, it has been built in collaboration with Australian state libraries and cultural collecting organisations, including the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, the Australian War Memorial, and the National Film and Sound Archive.[1] It is now one of three components of the Australian Web Archive.

The name, PANDORA, is a bacronym which describes its purpose: Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia.[2]


The National Library of Australia (NLA) began selecting suitable online publications at the beginning of 1996, after recognising "the need to preserve Australia's documentary heritage in online formats as well as in the traditional formats of its existing collections". After investigating the landscape of "Australian electronic publications" between 1993 and 1996, staff (initially four) were committed to the PANDORA program.[3] Following a six-month period of testing and experimentation, the NLA committed to collecting materials in online formats. A system to store, manage and provide access to these online publications was built by the NLA, which includes PANDORA, a set of policies and procedures and a technical infrastructure.[4]

The first two titles were downloaded in October 1996. By June 1997 the archive contained 31 titles.[5] With the sheer volume of content that needed archiving, it was essential to collaborate with other organisations, and in 1998 the State Library of Victoria came on board.[4] By 2000, 600 titles had been archived, at which time the website was redesigned. The new site added subject-level access to titles and included documents relating to the PANDORA project.[5]

In August 1998 the State Library of Victoria became a participant in adding content. In 2000, ScreenSound Australia (now National Film and Sound Archive) joined as a collaborating partner.[6] By 2003, all of the mainland State libraries, the Northern Territory Library, the National Film and Sound Archive, the Australian War Memorial[4] and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)[7] had become participants. The State Library of Tasmania has not participated in PANDORA, at the time of inception running its own web archiving project called Our Digital Island.[8]


Selection criteria[edit]

The PANDORA archive collects certain Australian web resources according to a specified selection policy, preserves them, and makes them available for viewing. Content must be about Australia, and is selected based on its cultural significance and research value; and must be "on a subject of social, political, cultural, religious, scientific or economic significance and relevance to Australia and be written by an Australian author; or be written by an Australian recognised authority and constitute a contribution to international knowledge".[9]

The provision for legal deposit of digital format publications was added to the Australian Copyright Act 1968 in 2016 so the National Library of Australia may copy Australian websites without acquiring permission.[10] They do notify publishers before copying a website to the PANDORA archive, and may request publisher assistance if required.[11]

Selection also gives priority to six categories of publication:[9]

As time and staff resources permit, high quality sites outside these categories may be included, within certain guidelines, for instance, "Personal sites will usually only be selected if they provide information of outstanding research value unavailable elsewhere or if they are of exceptional quality or particular interest".


The archival management system called PANDAS (PANDORA Digital Archiving System) is used to add a title into PANDORA. This was developed and is maintained by the National Library of Australia. The latest version is PANDAS 3, which was deployed in mid-2007.[12]

Current and future status[edit]

In March 2019 it became part of larger the Australian Web Archive, which comprises the PANDORA Archive, the Australian Government Web Archive (AGWA) and the National Library's ".au" domain collections, using a single interface in Trove which is publicly available.[13][14][15][16]

As of March 2020, there were 62,959 archived titles, using 49.63 TB of data.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History and Achievements". PANDORA. 18 February 2009.
  2. ^ "About Pandora". Pandora Archive. 5 June 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  3. ^ Hegarty, Kieran (25 July 2022). "The invention of the archived web: tracing the influence of library frameworks on web archiving infrastructure". Internet Histories. 6 (4): 432–451. doi:10.1080/24701475.2022.2103988. ISSN 2470-1475. S2CID 251081177.
  4. ^ a b c "NLA Selection Guidelines". Pandora Archive. 5 June 2018. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b Whiting, Julie (August 2000). "New look marks milestone for PANDORA Tour de Force". National Library of Australia: Gateways. National Library of Australia. Archived from the original on 23 May 2004. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  6. ^ Webb, Colin (December 2000). "Because It Belongs to All of Us: National Arrangements for Digital Preservation in Australian Libraries, Australian Academic & Research Libraries". Australian Academic and Research Libraries. 31 (4): 154–172. doi:10.1080/00048623.2000.10755132. ISSN 1839-471X. Published online: 28 Oct 2013 [Routledge]
  7. ^ "Pandora Archive". Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Other archives". Pandora Archive. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  9. ^ a b "NLA Selection Guidelines". Pandora Archive. 5 June 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  10. ^ "WHAT IS LEGAL DEPOSIT?". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  11. ^ "Notice to Publisher of Online Material". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Digital Archiving System". Pandora Archive. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Preserving and Accessing Networked DOcumentary Resources of Australia". Pandora Archive. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Australian web archive". Trove. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  15. ^ "Archived websites". National Library of Australia. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  16. ^ Koerbin, Paul (11 February 2015). "The Australian Government Web Archive". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Statistics". Pandora Archive. 26 February 2020. Retrieved 30 April 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

35°17′47.49″S 149°07′46.02″E / 35.2965250°S 149.1294500°E / -35.2965250; 149.1294500