Project Information


This project arises from a key element of CHART work since 2014 - the digitisation of Timor archival materials in temporary CHART custody.

Digitisation of archival items was seen as the most effective path to sharing primary-source materials with researchers who were unable to inspect physical collections in person. This was particularly important for present and future East Timorese researchers unable to access materials in Australia and elsewhere.

Since 2014 CHART has digitised many hundreds of folders in several important archival collections. CHART expects to eventually make these digital files available in Timor-Leste through its own archival repositories.

In the interim period, CHART has opted to deliver selections of digital materials online for Timor-related history researchers everywhere.

This pilot website is the first step in our efforts to make important Australian-held archival materials easily and universally available.


CHART-created digital files are derived from scanning or photographing physical archival collections. In most cases, one folder of documents becomes one digital file (usually in PDF format).

Most of the digital files created are simple black & white copies of the original physical materials. Our aim is to deliver screen-readable documents for their informational content. We generally do not create preservation-standard high resolution digital files.

We chose this particular path for a range of reasons, including the entirely pragmatic need to minimise demand on our own limited technical and financial resources.

One consequence of this decision is that the original physical files still retain their unique value as the actual primary source. They will need to preserved for the long term in a public repository.


As noted, most CHART-created digital files will be in PDF format - one digital file represents one physical folder.

Prior to scanning, each document in a given folder is numbered (sequentially from the front of the folder) in pencil at its top right-hand corner. These numbers reflect the order of the documents as found before scanning. These numbers are visible in the scanned documents. A missing number may mean the document was not scanned (a duplicate or trivial scrap) or was removed from the public digital copy (generally for privacy or copyright reasons or continuing risk to persons).


This pilot project begins with rather limited metadata on which to search for particular materials. At present (August 2017), the significant searchable data is the name/title and a brief description of the contents of a resource.

This will improve over time as we create and add more data such as 'Tags' and subject headings.


Archival collections universally contain materials from many organisations and individuals. Technically, for reasons of copyright, many items should not be reproduced without copyright owner permission.

We advise readers of these files to not recirculate or reproduce any of the material. It should only be used in a way that mimics examination of the original physical archive - that is for private research purposes.

For this reason we have created files which are security-protected against changes and printing. They are designed for onscreen reading only.

We also invite copyright owners objecting to any of their work appearing in these digital files to contact us immediately by email: chart[at] 

[Page Updated: 30 August 2017]