State of the State Archives – 2019

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Guest Post by Ken Williams, State Archivist and Director of the State Archives.

A new year has arrived at the Utah State Archives and Records Service with several exciting accomplishments behind us, initiatives on the horizon, and the kick-off of another legislative session. Here are just a few things that we have been doing.

Last year, our Open Government team made great strides in promoting and facilitating transparency. Use of the Open Records Portal and Public Notice Website continues to grow and the Government Records Ombudsman keeps busy assisting the public and records officers with their records access questions and needs.

Records Management Specialists and Records Center staff continue consulting with and certifying records managers throughout the state. The Archives, acting on an audit recommendation, added the position of Chief Records Officer. This individual is providing leadership and direction to our records management endeavors.

Archivists continue to process traditional collections and contribute to the rapid growth of the digital archives, where several new series were posted for 24/7 research access. They also continue expanding their reach into local government and now have a team focused on meeting those needs. The reformatting team finished an inventory of the 47,000 items located in our permanent repository, and the barcoding and re-boxing of the microfilm collection.

Staff efforts are focused on completing the final touches on the repository expansion, resulting in a critical increase in storage space for collections. Collaboration with architects, project managers, and vendors has been crucial to the success of this two-year project.

For the first time, all outreach activities were coordinated by an Outreach Coordinator, including brown-bag lectures, hosting conferences, social media usage, exhibits, producing publications, etc.

All of these accomplishments contributed noticeably to the efficiency and overall success of the division.

For the upcoming year, each section at the Archives has established aggressive strategic goals. A new SUCCESS goal for the ultimate attainment of a Trusted Digital Repository status will drive our strategic direction. This lofty goal requires commitment and discipline and, above all, collaboration with stakeholders.

The Archives is also engaged in several program-level process audits. Current audit recommendations for the records management program are being implemented, budgetary and accounting processes are under review, and the Archives/Reformatting programs are scheduled for a future audit. Staff are also participating with the State Library in a review of the Government Publications program to ensure preservation of and access to critical publications, as well as to identify and eliminate redundancies.

It’s looking to be an exciting year with great legislative changes and a chance to implement our new strategic plan with a full complement of staff.

We can’t wait to see you in the research center, at one of our events, or when we pop by for an agency visit!

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