Annual Meeting Preview

Please join us for the Records Management Roundtable meeting at the SAA Annual meeting Friday, August 15 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. In addition to a brief business meeting, we’ll be hearing from Barrie Howard from the Library of Congress who’ll be presenting on the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) Program and the National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) Program and opening a discussion to explore opportunities for partnerships and collaboration towards shared solutions in the provision of continuing education, professional development, and training to meet the needs of digital archivists.

Also, we’ll be hosting a records management focused unconference as an opportunity for members to discuss pressing issues, exciting developments, or otherwise unaddressed topics. Please submit your ideas for topics and/or volunteer to facilitate here:

Those unable to attend in person can post questions or comments for the steering commitee via Twitter (#rmrt14).

We hope to see you there.



Records Management and Web Archiving: RMRT, WebArch join forces for next Virtual Hangout

Please join the Society of American Archivists’ Records Management Roundtable (RMRT) and Web Archiving Roundtable (WebArch) for Intersections of Records Management and Web Archiving– the next installment of our Virtual Hangout series, airing Wednesday, July 9th at 1:30 pm EDT.

Christie Peterson, Records Management Archivist at Johns Hopkins University, and Jessica Meyerson, Maryrose Hightower-Coyle, and Jenn Coast from the University of Texas at Austin will be discussing their efforts to integrate web archiving with records management. 

Peterson will be on hand to talk about her involvement in a project to increase historic knowledge and current documentation of student life which incorporated web archiving to capture the records of student activity and involvement at her institution. See Christie’s recent Schedule blog post for a preview.

Meyerson, Hightower-Coyle, and Coast will discuss their experience developing a cross-departmental working group to create a strategy for preserving their institutional domain and its many subdomains. Their working group includes members from Information Technology Services (ITS), Records Management, University Archives, University Libraries, and University Communications.

We’ll start with an overview of both projects, and then dive into a moderated question and answer session.

As always, we’ll be accepting questions for our speakers from you. If you have a question or topic for discussion please leave it as a comment on this post.

Archiving Email will be broadcast live via the RMRT’s YouTube channel. We’ll also update The Schedule with links to the archived YouTube video.

View past Hangouts here.

Request for Input: Annual Meeting Planning

The Records Management Roundtable Steering Committee is soliciting input on topics and formats for the Roundtable meeting at SAA 2014. In line with our commitment to make the business meeting as useful and interesting to as many of our members as possible, we’ve created a survey to gather your thoughts. Have a killer topic you want to discuss with like (or unlike)-minded archivists and records managers?  Have a great presentation in need of an audience? Please let us know. Take a quick moment to visit our survey here, before Friday, February 7 and give us your thoughts. Also, as always, feel free to reach out to the Steering Committee through the listserv or individually. We’re here for you.

The Internet Record

Following the rabbit hole in this recent post on the imminent launch of the United Kingdom’s comprehensive web archive, I found myself again confronting a records deletion “scandal.” (A few notable others have been alluded to on this blog here and here.)

This particular scandal has a fairly unique angle. The “records” at issue are  not governed by any compliance or statutory requirements, but rather documents willingly posted by their creators to the internet. The “deletion” is not necessarily destruction, but rather obfuscation. Computer Weekly explains the scenario:

The Conservative Party has been widely criticised today after Computer Weekly revealed it has removed all its pre-General Election speeches and news articles from its website and from all web search engines.

The Tories altered the Robots.txt file on their site which instructs web crawlers such as Google about what content it is allowed to access. All news and speeches published on that website before May 2010 – the time of the last UK election – have effectively been erased from the web.

Whether or not this fits traditional ideas of either “records” or “destruction,” the backlash certainly raises a few questions: What is the “internet record”? And who owns it?

Happy Halloween from RMRT

It is always fascinating, and sometimes frightening, to see records management and archival topics covered in mainstream media. A recent New Yorker blog post on Iron Mountain was true to trend. Originally an iron mine, the extensive caverns of Iron Mountain’s first storage facility have served varied purposes; odd, mundane and paranoiac. Ostensibly, this is the meat of the story. “The Mountain,” as it is known, has been used to grow mushrooms and store priceless artwork and artifacts. During the Cold War portions were furnished as a fallout shelter complete with 65 en suite rooms and a cafeteria.

Perhaps more interesting, (here comes the frightening part,) are the off-handed, scene setting descriptions. For the sake of some spooky security-conscious fun, let your records manager/archivist imagination run wild on the following excerpts:

Today, the former mine functions as a premium facility for Iron Mountain’s most demanding clients—usually clients who want to store “vital” records or objects, things that are irreplaceable or secret…

…After working there for thirty-five years, [Chet] Smith has memorized “about eighty per cent” of the vault’s [225] combinations.

Happy Halloween!