Today I traveled down with Ian Syson to Deakin University's Waterfront campus to be shown around the Les Shorrock and Laurie Schwab collections by Roy Hay. This was part of work being done with the FFV's historical committee, which I'm now a part of, as well as part of work which may help South related historical research.
The collection of photographs and other materials is quite substantial. Most of these photos are in black and white, and date from the 1970s onwards. They are arranged in some sort of alphabetical order, but they are not indexed in any way. Therefore one may find, as we did, a photo of John Kosmina grabbing an opponent by the throat (A-League supporters may note some sort of irony there), but with no identification of said opponent. Still, those obstacles can be overcome by cross referencing with other materials.
More problematic are the complex copyright and ownership rights, which make it difficult for the general soccer public to access and utilise this treasure trove for its own efforts at historical preservation and education. There are few digitised elements of these collections, and unless the ownership and related preservation issues are resolved, the usefulness of the archives may well be restricted to those in academic circles, who can make use of the rules allowing access and creation of duplicates for research purposes.
Hopefully a mutually beneficial solution can be found.