2020 marked a historic, challenging year for Alabama. Like many other agencies, the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) deployed flexible and creative strategies in response to the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ADAH Records Management Section’s Annual Report grants readers a detailed perspective into the section’s output, adaptability, and outreach.
The 22-page report includes highlights from the State Records Commission (SRC) and Local Government Records Commission (LGRC) meetings; it also showcases permanent records transmittals, records management advocacy efforts, and the records management activities of state and local governments from October 2019 through September 2020.
One significant report highlight includes the reformatting of all fifteen Local Records Disposition Authorities (RDAs). The reformatting increased the accessibility of the RDAS, making them word-searchable, while also simplifying the process of incorporating revisions when approved by the Local Government Records Commission.
The first meeting of the SRC was held in October 2019 and saw the approval of several major revisions to RDAs and the creation of a brand-new RDA for the Alabama Office of Information Technology. On the local government side, the LGRC approved revisions and additions to four RDAs at its October 2019 meeting. The meetings of both Commissions scheduled for April 22, 2020, were canceled due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the upheaval of a global pandemic, 45 state agencies transferred 212 cubic feet of permanent records to the ADAH in FY 2020. A highlight from these records includes 34.5 cubic feet from the Alabama Film Office, including scripts and film production photographs.
In addition to the physical files received from agencies, the ADAH takes in electronic records as well. The ADAH provides access to many electronic and born-digital records through Preservica, a cloud-based service that verifies file integrity and migrates electronic file formats to ensure their long-term preservation. State publications such as annual reports, newsletters, and bulletins are some of the digital records you can find in our Electronic Records Collection. During FY 20, 67 state agencies transferred 4,153 megabytes of state publications to the ADAH.
Destroying eligible obsolete temporary records is an essential component of records management. This allows government staff to focus their limited resources on maintaining active records and preserving historic permanent materials. In an impressive feat of stewardship, local government agencies and educational institutions in Alabama dispositioned over 53,000 cubic feet of obsolete temporary materials in FY 2020.
The annual report also spotlights the outreach work of the Records Management section. Each year staff consults with representatives from state agencies, local governments, and private and non-profit organizations about records-management topics. Since the obstacles of 2020 complicated in-person consultation, Records Management staff adapted to offering virtual sessions. A total of 75 sessions were held in FY 2020, with 40 of these occurring virtually.
Records Management Section staff work with state and local agencies to organize, manage, and preserve their records for long-term access. This work is vital to preserving government records for the benefit of current and future generations of Alabamians, especially during challenging years like 2020. Please see the full report to learn more about Records Management’s work during FY 2020. If you have any questions or are interested in training, please reach out to the Records Management staff.