Our History: The Next 50 Years

Jim Kichas

This is the final post in our series celebrating our 50th anniversary as a distinct division in Utah government. While previous entries have explored the early years (and people) of the Utah State Archives and Records Service, today’s post will attempt to look ahead and project what the Utah State Archives and Records Service of 2069 might look like.

Obviously with the perpetual and rapid shifts of technology,any projection of the next 50 years is bound to a little naive (but still interesting). That said, there are things happening in our institution today that will definitely have an impact down the road.

Currently the Utah State Archives and Records Service is working hard to modernize its approach to records management, and the advice and training we supply to other governmental entities. As that continues to evolve, and we begin to see more buy-in from users, it is easy to imagine the future impacts that will have. With sound records management taking place across all levels of government, agencies will discover new efficiencies, information will transparently flow where it needs, and our institution will be well-equipped to capture the history of government in Utah.

Hand in hand with an emphasis on modernizing our approach to records management is a shift we are undertaking to embrace the digital age. It is a long-term goal of the Utah State Archives to build robust programming that will allow us to be certified as an ISO-standard Trustworthy Digital Repository. Building into this future will fundamentally change our institution and the skill sets of future staff.

And finally, we anticipate that the Utah State Archives and Records Service of the future will continue to serve as a central hub for government transparency and accountability. While systems come and go, and laws change and adapt to meet present needs and circumstances, our institution is well-equipped to continue serving as a central stakeholder in all discussions pertaining to records access and ongoing efforts to make Utah government transparent and accountable to its citizens.

The Utah State Archives and Records Service in 2069 will look and behave very differently than the institution that operates today, just as the institution of today has made incredible strides and transformed itself from the agency that first emerged in 1969. It is an exciting time to be an information specialist, and the Utah State Archives stands at the forefront of a path toward the future.