Category Archives: Digital Archives

The WSA Celebrates Archives Month with 5 Million Documents in the Wyoming Digital Archives

Just in time for American Archives Month in October and Electronic Records Day (October 8), the Wyoming Digital Archives has exceeded 5 million documents uploaded! This milestone comes less than 2 years after the 1 millionth document was added in February 2020. 

We've uploaded our 5 millionth document to our secure digital archives

In 2010, the Wyoming State Archives (WSA) and Wyoming Legislature began the search for  a solution to the expense of physical storage, need to increase accessibility and searchability of records, and to aid in managing records with a keen eye to laws, regulations, and best practices, while  maintaining the validity and authenticity of electronic records. This journey led the archives and legislature to create the Wyoming Digital Archives to preserve and manage born digital and digitized records that tell the story of Wyoming’s government and its people. 

The WSA added its first document to digital archives in November 2013. Since then, it has grown exponentially. 

As of June 2021, the digital archives includes 189 users. And hosts records from 19 different counties. The records originate from three City Clerks offices, 12 County Clerks offices, one School District, and three County Treasurers. The most recent partner to the digital archives is the City of Meeteetse, Wyoming.

The Digital Archives success can be attributed to its ability to meet archival best practices, the support of the archives staff, and ease of use. The Digital Archive is able to preserve and make accessible files in a multitude of formats. In fact, the digital archives include audio visual materials, PDFs, JPEGs, and many other formats. The typical types of records found in the archives are plats, minutes, land and motor vehicle records, city ordinances, zoning records, and licensing board files, to name a few.

The Digital Archives is built on the premise of LOCKSS (Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) with an emphasis on security. The files  are backed up daily, weekly, and monthly. There are multiple copies with at least one stored in a geographically diverse location in case of natural disasters. This allows the Archives to quickly recover from any potential data loss. The 99 levels of security controls and privileges are especially important to maintaining the confidentiality of  restricted records such as birth certificates or hospital records preserved in the system.

The digital archives also includes the ability to set up notifications and semi-automate the process of records retention, making it a popular choice for many users. Records can be coded so that they align with the records retention schedules approved by Wyoming State Records Committee. These retention schedules help guide decisions on how long documents are kept and what happens to them after that. The Wyoming Digital Archives can handle both permanent and non-permanent records This allows administrators to more easily track the amount of time a record should be kept and when it should be destroyed. This natural destruction cycle for short term records is important for risk management and allows more space and resources to be devoted to the preservation of permanent records. 

As technology continues to advance, the way society interacts with information evolves. For this reason, the archives profession must continue to adapt. “The WSA continues to tackle key issues relating to preserving significant documents,” says State Archivist Sara Davis. “We provide guidance for the management of government records at all levels and educate our community about the volatility of digital files. We offer the digital archives as a solution to mitigate risk of data loss. Into the future, we strive to continue to meet the needs of our community through use of the Wyoming Digital Archives as well as traditional archival methods such as storage recommendations for physical and digital materials and ways to make materials accessible. We also eagerly anticipate seeing/celebrating the 10 millionth document uploaded in the near future.”

American Archives Month is an annual collaborative effort by professional organizations and repositories around the nation to highlight the importance of records of enduring value. Archivists are professionals who assess, collect, organize, preserve, maintain control of, and provide access to information that has lasting value. They also help people find and understand the information they need in those records.

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Wyoming Digital Archives Adds One Millionth Digital Document

The Wyoming State Archives is delighted to announce that we have accepted the one millionth document into our Digital Archives!  We are celebrating the exponential growth of this secure storage method for the state’s valuable records.

In 2013, the Wyoming State Archives began working in collaboration with the state’s Enterprise Technology Services experts on the best solution for safely and securely housing the state’s digital public records.  We found the solution in the Wyoming Digital Archives, a military-grade storage database for public records, the documents that reflect the work of Wyoming’s government. This includes both permanent records and other documents with long-term value, which were either “born digital” (not created on paper) or digitized. 

To date, the Digital Archives boasts one hundred licensed security levels, allowing customized access for a variety of users, from the Governor to staff in government offices across Wyoming at the state and local level. At a nominal cost, it provides agencies a way to preserve and manage their electronic records in much the same way the State Records Center and State Archives preserve and manage paper records.

Documents added to the Digital Archives are available to the agency’s staff using a web interface with keyword search ability, drastically decreasing the time needed to access older records. Access restrictions can be set by agencies to protect confidential documents and information as needed and to document changes made to the files. The system also includes a page where anyone can search for publicly accessible documents.

  “It took us over four years to add the first half a million documents, but only two years to make it a million.  The Wyoming State Archives appreciates the opportunity to make public employees’ lives easier and put the information they need securely at their fingertips when they need it!” says Kathy Marquis, Wyoming State Archivist. 

Wyoming Digital Archives by the numbers:

  • 7 years
  • 1,000,000 records
  • 190 individual users in:
  • 19 state agencies
  • 12 county offices
  • 1 municipal office (Sundance, coming soon!)
  • 1st documents added by the Secretary of State
  • 1,000,000th document added by the Department of Environmental Quality Air Division

For further information, check out our website at wyoarchives.wyo.gov; or contact Kathy Marquis, State Archivist at the Wyoming State Archives, 2301 Central Ave, Cheyenne WY 82002.  You can also call 307-777-8691 or message her at Kathy.marquis@wyo.gov.

 

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