Tag Archives: Archives Month

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Archives Month 2021, Digital Archives

Welcome to Archives Month 2019!

Archives Month 2019 poster

October is American Archives Month, and the Wyoming State Archives is excited celebrate our collections, services, and hard-working staff.  We take pride in our mission to “provide access to Wyoming’s history, guidance in record keeping, and assistance in the management and preservation of public records.”  Throughout the month of October, keep watching this blog, as well as our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest feeds for great stories, pictures, and a look behind-the-scenes at the work we do to make this happen.

Since this is the 150th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Wyoming, our Archives Month poster features the original legislation granting this right to women in Wyoming Territory in 1869.  You can visit our reading room at 2301 Central Aveune in Cheyenne to learn more about this momentous act.

Ask An Archivist Day October 2

Have a question for us?  You can ask any time, but on October 2, archivists at the State Archives will join our colleagues around the county in responding to questions via Twitter (@WyoArchives) for Ask An Archivist Day, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists.  Use the hashtag #AskAnArchivist and challenge us!

Electronic Records Day 2019

Electronic Records Day is on 10.10.19. Sponsored by the Council of State Archivists, Electronic Records Day raises community awareness of the need to manage and preserve our digital heritage. This year, we will be sharing more about how we preserve electronic records of state government with our Wyoming Digital Archives.

And, on Tuesday, October 15, at 6:30 p.m., Rick Ewig, Cheyenne historian and former Associate Director of the American Heritage Center, will present “Ira Hanna: Cheyenne’s Around-the-Clock Mayor.” Ewig’s free talk will explore bribery, corruption, and gambling by the mayor of Cheyenne and its chief of police, culminating in a 1944 trial and prison sentence for all involved.

The Wyoming State Archives is proud to preserve the history of our wonderful state. We welcome you to visit and explore in person or online all year long.   

Kathy Marquis
Interim State Archivist

Leave a comment

Filed under Archives Month 2019

It’s Electronic Records Day: 10.10.16

Do you create documents on your computer?  Your tablet?  Do you write texts and posts on your cell phone?  Then you are creating electronic records.  Think of all the files you create in a week or a year.  Then, imagine how many such documents are created by Wyoming state employees in the same amount of time…  Where are they all kept?  How do we know that we will be able to read and have access to them in the future?  These are the knotty problems that your State Archives staff wrestle with every day.

electronic records logo_2015

We are participating in Electronic Records Day 10.10.16 this year by telling you about how we are solving those problems via the Wyoming Digital Archives, our system for preserving digital files created in the conduct of state business.

Why do electronic records need special attention?

Consider this tongue in cheek answer from the Council of State Archivists, “Managing electronic records is like caring for a perpetual toddler: they need regular attention and care…”

On a more serious note, they add,

With the increasing reliance on information technology, the challenge to manage, preserve, and provide access to digital records and information continues to grow. Action must to taken to ensure future access to electronic records.

Paper records stored in good conditions can be read centuries afterwards. Typical electronic file formats have a life span measured in decades at best.

Rapidly changing software and hardware environments can leave electronic records virtually inaccessible after just a few years if not monitored.

Electronic records require proactive management. The best time to plan for electronic records preservation is at the time records are created, rather than when software is being replaced or a project is ending.

State Archivist, Mike Strom, says he is most happy that the Wyoming Digital Archives shows how the state of Wyoming is involved in e-records in a substantial way.   He says it is good to work with agencies to manage records so that they’re kept the right amount of time, according to our records retention schedules.

The State Archives is already working with fourteen state agencies that are entering their records into the Digital Archives – which contains over 300,000 individual records so far.

Strom’s goals for the future include seeing that all state agencies are engaged in some way with this project.  A broader goal is ensuring the long-term preservation and accessibility of all of the state’s records regardless of their format.

Can the public see these records, too?  Yes, the Digital Archives has a public access feature so that records which you might be able to see by contacting a state agency (like incorporation or other state reports) will be accessible through a portal on the State Archives’ web page or by a link to that portal from the state agency’s website.

src-wall-of-boxes-pallet-of-boxes-with-pallet-jack-7-22-2013

The State Archives operates a Records Center which has rows and rows of boxes, shelved fourteen levels high and served by staff with forklifts.  The Wyoming Digital Archives will soon house the same amount of records, but we won’t need a forklift to find the right box or file.  We will use online searching to find the information that agencies need to conduct their business – and that you, the public, need to find a court file or school transcript, write a research paper, or dig into your family history.

Still wondering what to do with your own personal digital files?  Here are some great tips from COSA. We also hope you join the staff of the State Archives this Thursday, October 13th as we present  recommendations on how best to store and preserve all types of family records, including electronic records.

preserving-not-just-veggies-flier-no-blurb

Leave a comment

Filed under Archives Month 2016

October is Archives Month!

Welcome to Archives Month!

October is Archives Month, the time when archival institutions around the country make a special effort to promote the important work archives do in preserving and providing access to America’s documentary heritage. We take particular pride in the fact that the Wyoming State Archives has one of the best collections of Wyoming history anywhere. Our holdings include the State Constitution, the Suffrage Act, thousands of photos, hundreds of maps, governors’ records, and tens of thousands of feet of records that document all levels of government throughout the state. And those are just a few of the highlights.

archives-month-poster-2016-draft-2-copy

It would be a mistake, however, to focus solely on the historical research aspect of the material in our care. One of the things that makes working in a state archives so rewarding is the opportunity to help people resolve issues that come up in their daily lives. We processed nearly 4,200 research requests from the public last year and thirty-two percent of them involved school records. Year after year, school transcripts are our most-used records. People request them when they are going back to school or are applying for a job and need verification that they have graduated from high school. Other records in our collections have similar immediate uses. People use court records to document land ownership and mineral rights, to complete background checks, and to file for pensions and social security.  People often use marriage and divorce decrees when renewing driver’s licenses and applying for social security.  In these cases and others, the State Archives has the information citizens need to complete fundamental tasks.

My favorite example of the importance of the records in the archives occurred several years ago, soon after I arrived in Cheyenne. A woman in her seventies was attempting to locate her brother and sister with whom she had not had contact during her lifetime due to adoption. State Archives staff members found records in the District Court adoption files and school censuses that made it possible for a confidential intermediary to reunite her with her brother and sister.

Archives Month is all about telling those kinds of stories and promoting what we have and how to use it. Below is a list of the activities the State Archives staff will be participating in or organizing themselves this month.  I hope you will check in with all of our social media outlets throughout October for more information.

 

Mike Strom

Wyoming State Archivist


Calendar of 2016 Archives Month activities at the Wyoming State Archives

askanarchivist_hires_2016

Ask an Archivist Day – October 5, social media

On October 5, archivists around the country will take to Twitter using #AskAnArchivist to answer your questions about any and all things archives. 

electronic records logo_2015Electronic Records Day – October 10, social media

Sponsored by the Council of State Archivists, the purpose of Electronic Records Day is to raise community awareness of our digital records and of the need to manage and preserve them.

preserving-not-just-veggies-flier-no-blurb

Preserving is Not Just for Vegetables: Caring for Your Family Records – 7pm, October 13, Wyoming State Museum Multi-purpose Room

Staff archivists will review recommended methods for handling and storage of your treasures, and offer advice on digitizing your collections. How-to handouts will be available. This event is a part of the Wyoming State Museum fall lecture series.

finding-your-wy-roots-flier-no-blurb

Finding Your Wyoming Roots in the Archives – 9am to noon, October 29, Wyoming State Archives reading room

State Archives staff will present a three-hour workshop on “Finding Your Wyoming Roots in the Archives.” Staff members will guide you through the search for your family in vital records, city directories, and school records.  Following the presentations, attendees will be invited to stay for an hour and begin their research in the Archives. This workshop is free but registration is requested as space is limited. 

For more information or to register for the workshop, call us at 307-777-7826 or email us.

Leave a comment

Filed under Archives Month 2016, Events

Happy Archives Month!

archives month poster 2014 - 11x17 - 1

 

Happy Archives Month! Did you know that October is also Family History Month? What better way to celebrate October than by digging into your family history at the Archives!

Check back throughout the month for caption contests and posts highlighting record types that help you dig deeper into your family history.

Leave a comment

Filed under Archives Month 2014