With data doubling every 15 months, Queensland looks for archive provider

The sunshine state is seeking a long-term solution to building a digital archive that will hold its 40 petabytes of data.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The Queensland State Archives will invite expressions of interest from next month to build a new digital archive that will preserve its records and make them accessible to the public.

"While the digital archive will be easy to use, the solution behind it will be more complex than simply building a massive data centre," said Minister for Science and Innovation Leeanne Enoch.

"The digital archive will enable easy access to government records and support long-term management of our rapidly growing volume of digital public records."

According to acting state archivist Adrian Cunningham, the Queensland government currently holds approximately 40 petabytes of data, and that number is doubling every 15 months.

"Printing just one petabyte would use enough paper to stretch from Brisbane to Emerald, while printing 40 petabytes of data would stretch approximately from Brisbane to London and back," Cunningham said.

The challenge in creating the digital archive is made more difficult by the requirement for some data to be kept a century.

"The first computer was delivered to the Queensland Government in 1965, and since then manufacturers have come and gone. Systems, programs, and file types used only five or ten years ago are no longer used today," Enoch said.

Queensland's recent history of IT procurement has been patchy.

Yesterday, Deloitte Australia was brought in to conduct an audit on how an update to the Department of Education's OneSchool System prevented 644 suspected child abuse cases from being reported to police.

Education Minister Kate Jones pointed the finger at the department not carrying out proper testing when the update was made.

"Action was immediately taken to fix OneSchool and the technical problem has been resolved," she said.

Former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh admitted that when Queensland partnered with IBM to roll out its new health payroll system in 2010, it bought the wrong one.

"We basically got the product we bought, but we bought the wrong one, or we bought one that was not fit for purpose," Bligh said earlier this year.

Meanwhile in New South Wales, Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, announced the state's plans to create a whole-of-government Data Analytics Centre.

"Data is one of the greatest assets held by government, but when it's buried away in bureaucracy it is of little value," Dominello said.

"Data analytics has been used successfully in jurisdictions like New Zealand, New York City, and the State of Michigan to improve the lives of citizens through better targeted and more coordinated government service delivery."

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