Thinking Outside the Acid-Free Box on Electronic Records Day

The times might always be changing but thankfully resources exist to ensure that your agency’s records are just as accessible in the future as they are today. Thanks to a three-year grant provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) has launched a new initiative to preserve the permanent electronic records created by state agencies. With help from Preservica — a cloud-based subscription service that provides long-term access to a wide array of electronic records formats — ADAH plans to collaborate with state agency records liaisons to think outside the box as we ensure that today’s born-digital records can serve future generations of Alabamians.

In 2017, ADAH used Preservica to make publicly available over 3,500 born-digital files created by the Office of the Governor. Not only does Preservica provide access to the electronic files that originated from Governor Bob Riley’s administration, but the tool migrates the various electronic records formats to new formats that ensure their long-term preservation. The records are accessible to researchers through the Archives website. Check the website often as we add new files to our growing electronic records collections, including our most recent addition of House Journals from 1998 to 2017.

The NHPRC grant also provided funds to assist state agency records liaisons in the development and implementation of electronic records management best practices. ADAH has created new guidelines for handling incoming electronic storage media and is crafting procedures for managing e-mail.

With the NHPRC’s help, ADAH is better prepared to advise state agencies on electronic records management policies and to provide a long-term tool for preserving and accessing permanent digital records. If your agency is interested in learning more about ADAH’s electronic records management program, please contact Rebecca Hebert, State and Local Records Coordinator, at becky.hebert@archives.alabama.gov.

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