Happy MayDay!

mspring Records Management

Historically, MayDay has two traditions; first, as a spring festival celebrated around the world. Many MayDay traditions are rooted in folklore and some celebrate by filling small baskets with goodies to leave on someone’s doorstep. Modern MayDay observances often recognize International Worker’s Day.

For professionals who deal with records and historic documents, a third tradition has sprung up as part of the MayDay celebrations—a grassroots effort to save our archives. Government records managers and professionals, as the custodians of permanent and historic records, have a duty to participate as well. The goal behind the archival MayDay celebration is for each individual and office to do something simple to protect the records in their custody.

This year, the Society of American Archivists is emphasizing our ability to protect our records in response to an emergency or disaster. On April 17, 2012, Utah governmental entities participated in the Great Utah Shakeout, an initiative to test our emergency preparedness plans in response to a devastating earthquake. I encourage all state and local government records professionals to evaluate your Great Utah Shakeout response and commit to doing one simple thing in your office today that will preserve the records in your custody in the event of an emergency or disaster.

MayDay ideas:

  1. Move boxes off of the ground to shelving at least four inches above the ground.
  2. Look for loose and unboxed materials – and make a plan to get the boxing done.
  3. Identify the most critical, essential, and/or important records.
  4. Read your Emergency/Disaster plan—does it have provisions for how to preserve your records?
  5. Complete a short survey expressing your interest in attending a two day workshop on disaster response planning.

The most important thing is to do something. Our information assets are a large part of our cultural heritage and are necessary to preserve a functioning government.

How do you plan to celebrate MayDay? Let us know in the comments!