About the records

Title Records of Alec Costin Collection
Date Range 1770 - 2020
Reference Roberts, Jack (2020) Alec Costin: Guide to Records. 2nd Edition. The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre: Melbourne. Https://web.esrc.unimelb.edu.au/ABCN/home.htm
Creator Alec Baillie Costin
Extent 11.31 metres (929 items)
Repository The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre
Abstract This is a guide to the Alec Costin collection. This guide was produced as part of a project to archive the legacy of Alec Costin, an internationally respected Australian alpine ecologist. As a scientist, activist and government advisor, Costin was instrumental in the conservation of the Australian Alps over the course of eight decades from 1946 through to the 21st century. This large and diverse collection, compiled by Costin himself, was systematically organised, stored, preserved and catalogued by the eScholarship Research Centre at The University of Melbourne. The collection constitutes an important resource for scientists and other researchers from a wide variety of disciplines, offering a unique insight into the study of ecology and the history of conservation in Australia, particularly as it relates to the changing vegetation and landscapes of the Australian Alps. This guide provides a useful tool for such investigations by allowing researchers to easily identify and find the contents of records held in the collection. Additional records may be added to this collection in the future.

Administrative Information

The Alec Costin Collection (as of June 2020) comprises 60 boxes. The collection was boxed, accessioned and transferred to the eScholarship Research Centre (The University of Melbourne) under the guidance of Gavan McCarthy between 2017 and 2020. The records were inventory processed by Jack Roberts (under the supervision of Winsome Adam and with assistance from Julie Fenley and Alannah Croom) at the eScholarship Research Centre. The first edition of this Guide to the Alec Costin Collection was published in December 2019. Many of the photographic images of the Australian alps from the collection (mostly slides) were digitised in 2020 by Spiro Kane at VideoLab. This second edition, which was published in June 2020, contains an additional 99 inventory items and approximately 3,500 digitised images.


The production of this guide was made possible with funding from the Australian Alps National Parks Co-operative Management Program and with the invaluable support of Alec Costin, Keith McDougall, Genevieve Wright, Elizabeth James, John McRae and Rob Gibbs.

Digitised files

Some of the records listed in the guide are available online as digitised files. The records were captured first as preservation-standard TIFF files, then converted to JPEGs for online viewing and downloading. Photographic slides were cleaned of dust with one blast of air and then wiped once with cleaning solution before digitisation as TIFFs. As photographic TIFFs (including prints and slides) were converted to JPEGs, they were also cropped, enhanced and sharpened as required. The preservation TIFF files are stored offline to enable the production of derivative files as required in the future.

Organisation and viewing of digitised files

If the inventory item contains images, there will be a link to the right of the inventory title which reads "Image >>". To view the images, click on the link. The images are presented in a consistent order. First, one or more images are provided to show the records in their context. In some cases, the records from one labelled container (eg a box) were divided into several inventory items. In these cases, an image of the container, including the labelling, appears as the first digitised file in the first inventory item only. (For example, see inventory item A00000658 in Series 6.) In other cases, an image is provided which gives the reader a sense of the entire contents of the inventory item, shown much like a deck of cards (eg A00000811 in Series 6). The images are then presented in the order as depicted in the inventory item description. If the item contains one or more sets, each record is shown first in a 'group shot' of the set, then individually. For example, a set of slides is shown first in a group shot taken from the front, showing all of the slides including the frames and any labelling. This is followed by a group shot taken from the reverse and then the image of each individual slide. Photographic negative sets are shown first in group shot of the whole set, then as individual images. The reverse side of some photographs have also been digitised. In these cases, the photographic image is listed first, followed by the reverse side.

Other information

  • The collection is comprised of records from 52 accessions. The codes used to uniquely identify each accession range from ABCN2017-001 to ABCN2020-002.

  • The records have been allocated to 6 series. The codes used to uniquely identify each series range from S001 to S006.

  • Through the processing of the records, 1 provenance entity was identified. The code used to uniquely identify this provenance entity, i.e. records creator or custodian, is P000001.

  • The inventory covers 929 items, and may include records of continuing value, records sentenced for destruction and records that have been destroyed. The codes used to uniquely identify each inventory item range from A00000001 to A00000928. The total collection occupies 1,131 linear cm of shelf space (or its equivalent).

  • The documentation of the records at inventory level started on 7 June 2018. The latest additions were made on 20 April 2020. The latest modifications were made on 30 June 2020. This collection profile was updated on 30 June 2020.

Scope and Content

The collection comprises a broad set of records created and/or compiled by Alec Costin during the course of his life and work. The records span from 1770 to 2019 and include papers, reports, correspondence, publications, manuscripts, photographs, slides, data sheets, diagrams and graphs.

Published by the eScholarship Research Centre on 30 June, 2020
Listed by Jack Roberts
HTML edition Jack Roberts
Updated 30 June 2020

The template for this finding aid is part of the Heritage Documentation Management System

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