The prospect of the digital archiving of qualitative data for re‑use and analysis by other researchers is now a distinct reality in Australia following the development of similar facilities in the UK, the US and Finland. While these archives are now well‑established and have become reasonably well‑accepted among the scholarly community, their development has not been uncontroversial and has stimulated much debate about the desirability and feasibility of archiving qualitative data on ethical, epistemological and ideological grounds (Hammersley, 1997; Mauthner, Parry and Backett‑Milburne, 1998; Moore, 2007; Parry and Mauthner, 2004; 2005). Such debates have done much to improve the practice of data archiving by making it more sensitive to the distinct characteristics of qualitative data and to the particular needs and concerns of qualitative researchers. At the same time, the very real prospect of data archiving has induced researchers to take stock of their own practices and to re‑examine deeply held views about the nature of qualitative research, the way it is conducted, and the claims to truth and knowledge that can be generated from it (see Broom, Cheshire and Emmison, 2009). In this sense, the development of an archive – regardless of its controversiality – adds much to the debate, and therefore the advancement, of the practice of qualitative research.