The Dictionary of Sydney is under serious threat and needs your support.

Despite our long and productive relationship with the City of Sydney, and the support of Council, the City is considering withholding the 2012 -13  tranche of the five-year funding voted to the Dictionary by Council in May of 2011. If the City funding is not made available the Dictionary will close its operations in August of this year, meaning it will lose its staff, and cease preparing new material for publication.

We need your support to tell the Council that the Dictionary is a worthwhile project and you don’t want to see it die. Council may be considering this issue at the forthcoming Council meeting on Monday 30 July.

More information about the current funding crisis will be posted shortly. Below is a template for a letter of support you can use to email or write to the Council.

Letter of support:

I write to express my concern about the Dictionary of Sydney’s imminent closure due to the City’s delays in releasing sponsorship funds.

The Dictionary of Sydney is a highly successful collaborative digital history project connecting academic, public and community history. It is groundbreaking, internationally acclaimed, and is the envy of other capital cities. The Dictionary provides valuable cultural resources for Sydneysiders and the wider community.

I am a writer / contributor / supporter to the Dictionary. The Dictionary engages with hundreds of volunteer authors who willingly contribute their expertise and knowledge to write content for the Dictionary. Over 670 articles have been published to date with another 220 in the pipeline.

It is used by secondary and tertiary educators as a teaching resource and by students as a reliable and citable source for research and inquiry.

I use it to / I read it  / I share it …. [insert how you use, support and/or value the project]

It is unreasonable of the Council to cease funding the Dictionary without prior warning and two years into a five year agreement when the Dictionary:

a)      has met 80% of an extensive list of KPIs,
b)      has managed within its budget;
c)      is growing in content, participants, followers, status and profile;
d)      is actively seeking other sources of funding and other ways of attracting revenues; and
e)      when immediate cessation of funding would almost certainly destroy everything that has been built up with Council support over so many years.

Council should recognise the Dictionary’s extraordinary achievements to date and agree to continue funding at the same level for 2012/13.

It would be a great shame to see this outstanding collaborative digital history project fold.

Express your support for the project by writing this week to:
Clover Moore MP, Lord Mayor of Sydney Tel: 02 9265 9229 Email:
Monica Barone, CEO City of Sydney Email:

and the current councillors of the City of Sydney:
Phillip Black Tel: 02 9246 7719 Email:
John McInerney Tel: 02 9265 9706 Email:
Di Tornai Tel: 02 9265 9836 Email:
Robert Kok Tel: 02 9265 9966 Email:
Chris Harris Tel: 02 9265 9678 Email:
Irene Doutney Tel: 02 9265 9700 Email:
Meredith Burgmann Tel: 02 9265 9515 Email:
Shayne Mallard Tel: 02 9265 9148 Email:

Hard copy letters can be mailed to: Council of the City of Sydney, GPO Box 1591, Sydney NSW 2001

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