Storify of joint SNAP and RMRT Twitter chat

The Records Management Roundtable was delighted to join forces with the Student and New Archives Professionals Roundtable last week for a Twitter chat on records management. For those of you who missed it, or just want to relive the great time, SNAP Roundtable senior social media coordinator Ariadne Rehbein created this Storify of the conversation.

We thank SNAP for the great opportunity to share and learn from each other.


Joint Records Management RT and SNAP RT #snaprt Chat

On Thursday, December 3 at 8 pm ET, the SAA Students and New Archives Professionals Roundtable will be hosting a joint Twitter chat with the SAA Records Management Roundtable Steering Committee and its members. This chat will allow students and new archivists to gain knowledge about records management directly from those engaged in this work. Our goal is not only to introduce students to this field, but also to facilitate dialog and understanding among SNAPers and records management professionals of all experience levels.

We would like this chat to be as conversational as possible! SNAPers can engage in the chat by:

  • responding to main questions based on their own knowledge and experience
  • posing their own questions related to the main questions during the discussion
  • following up on others’ responses with their own thoughts and further questions

We welcome everyone to join or keep up with our chat using the #snaprt hashtag on Twitter. The SNAP Roundtable Twitter account will pose main questions such as:

  • How is the work of records managers different from archivists in various contexts, such as academia, government, and business?
  • What do records managers find most challenging about their work or this field?
  • What do records managers find most enjoyable and exciting about their own work or this field?
  • What conceptual knowledge and skills are important for students to develop and how should they go about pursuing them?
  • What personal goals related to records management are #snaprt chatters pursuing?

If you would like to have your discussion topic included in this chat, please send it to @SNAP_Roundtable on Twitter, submit it through the anonymous form on the SNAP RT chat webpage or e-mail it to Please see the SNAP RT chat webpage for more information about #snaprt Twitter chats.

Definition of Records Management based on the Federal definition:
Records management is the planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and other managerial activities involved in the creation, maintenance and use, and disposition of information. Records management aims to achieve adequate and proper documentation of the policies and work of an organization and effective and economical management of operations.

Here some resources related to the SNAP and RM joint chat you may want to check out:

Archiving Email: RMRT, ERS join forces for next Virtual Hangout

Please join the Society of American Archivists’ Records Management Roundtable (RMRT) and Electronic Records Section (ERS) for Archiving Email: Two Innovative Projects the next installment of our Virtual Hangouts series, airing Thursday, April 10th at 1 pm EDT.

Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, Electronic Records Archivist at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and Ben Bromley, Roger Christman, and Susan Gray Page from the Library of Virginia will be discussing two innovative email preservation and access projects.

Schmitz Fuhrig will give an overview of The Collaborative Electronic Records Project (CERP), a collaboration with the Rockefeller Archive Center to develop, test, and share technology to preserve email.

Bromley, Christman, and Page will discuss The Kaine Email Archiving Project @ LVA, which focuses on processing the approximately 1.3 million email records received from the administration of Governor Timothy M. Kaine, and making the identified public records searchable and viewable to users.

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.


Digital Forensics for Archivists

A few weeks ago I attended the Digital Forensics for Archivists course offered by the Society of American Archivists (SAA) at the University of Michigan. It was taught by Cal Lee and Kam Woods both of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Overall, I thought  the class was a very informative and engaging introduction to the field of digital forensics.

The focus of this course is the application of forensic techniques to archival work. Digital forensics (or computer forensics) is “the process of identifying, preserving, analyzing, and presenting digital evidence in a manner that is legally acceptable” (Rodney McKemmish 1999). It is used to discover digital data, recover deleted, encrypted, or damaged file information, monitor live activity and detect violations of policies.

Archivists (and records managers) may be very good at dealing with paper, but may not have as much experience with processing and making available digital content that comes in the form of floppy disks, CDs, and hard drives. The field of digital forensics is very concerned with the same principles as archivists, including provenance, original order, and chain of custody, to apply to criminal and civil investigations. By applying the techniques, archivists are able to identify, extract, and document information from digital media about how it was created without altering the content. It also focuses on finding sensitive or personally identifiable information that may need to be redacted or protected from public access.

Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device with a removable hard drive on the imaging bay prior to forensic capture from Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR)

As a two-day event, this course was particularly helpful because we got to perform hands-on exercises of the tools discussed in the class. These included:

  • BitCurator (includes a number of free, open-source tools to be incorporated into workflows)
  • FTK Imager (creates disk images)
  • Bulk Extractor (scans and extracts information such as credit card numbers, email addresses, or keywords)
  • Fiwalk (creates an output of files in Digital Forensics XML)
  • MD5summer (generates and verifies checksums)

While we may not be seizing evidence from crime scenes, archivists do receive many types of media that require special care to process. I would highly recommend either taking this course if it’s available to you or exploring the materials available on this topic. I myself am looking forward to continuing to explore these exciting developments. I think some of the available tools could have applications in the records management sphere that we should examine and consider. For further reading, check out the BitCurator project, the Forensics Wiki, and the recently released OCLC research report Walk This Way: Detailed Steps for Transferring Born-Digital Content from Media You Can Read In-house. I would be very interested to hear about applications of digital forensics in the records management side of the house!

For your consideration: Become an SAA Mentor

Recently, SAA put out a call for participants in its Mentoring Program, which matches new and experienced archivists to help form mentorship and advising relationships between archivists at various levels of professional experience. Jackie Dooley also talked a bit about the mentoring program in a post on Off the Record. I’ll go ahead and provide some additional links back to both sites, because I think this program is very important. As an archivist/records manager who is not that far away from being a new archivist himself, I remember quite vividly how bewildering navigating professional networks, conferences, workshops, etc. can be, and although I myself never had a formal mentorship set up by SAA, I think I would have benefited greatly from having someone to show me the ropes.

In particular, I think it’s really important for members of this roundtable to offer their services as a mentor, because we represent not just a different facet of archives work but potentially an entirely different profession. I know that when I was in graduate school, I didn’t even consider records management as a career until I just happened to take an elective on it, and my guess is that there are many archivists-in-training who are similarly unaware of why records management is important and of what kinds of opportunities it can afford them. If nothing else, being in a position to talk to mentees about the interaction between Archives and Records Management is helpful for opening discussions about records continuum, appraisal from a different perspective, and other aspects of the profession that might not occur to students and young professionals at first glance.

(Note also that the RMRT has a supplementary mentor program, which operates in conjunction with the main SAA one– we maintain a separate database, however, both to help match specifically to records managers and to allow us to create links between potential mentees and records managers who are not necessarily part of SAA. If you are interested in being added to that list, please email me directly: houstobn AT uwm DOT edu.)

Welcome, for real this time

On behalf of the Steering Committee of SAA’s Records Management Roundtable, welcome to The Schedule. Our hope is to make this your one-stop shop (sort of, see below) for learning about what the RMRT is doing for you (and hopefully getting you all to contribute to the conversation). This blog has been a long time in the making, and I am very excited that we are getting it off the ground.

Now, we are about a decade behind on the blogosphere movement, but it’s New To Us (TM), so there are still probably a lot of questions that you all have about this. I’ll try to answer the obvious ones below; if you have others, please leave them in the comments.

Why a blog? Why now?

The Steering Committee has been trying to improve communications with the RMRT general membership for a while now, with varying levels of success. The survey we sent out in the wake of SAA 2012 in San Diego was one attempt at this, as is our new policy of posting the minutes of our monthly steering committee teleconferences. The newsletter and the listserv are also, of course, key elements in our communication strategy. Ultimately, though, all of those communication channels are not quite… right. The listserv seems a bit impersonal and inactive; the survey and meeting minutes are extremely one-sided; the newsletter is, by its very nature, non-timely.

What we want to do with the blog is open up a more organic conversation about what we’re up to and what we can share from the world of Records Management. We are planning to update this regularly and actively solicit guest posts or topics that our readers would like to see us write about. We’re encouraging commenting if you have something to add, or think we’re off base, or whatever. The point is to have a regular communications channel where the barrier to participation is relaxed, at least somewhat.

Does this mean the newsletter is going away? The microsite? The listserv?

In order: No, no, and we couldn’t even if we wanted to. Each of these existing communications tools is going to be sticking around, but the purpose of each will change somewhat:

  • The Microsite is going to be our document/information repository for the foreseeable future. Here you will be able to find our annual reports, our bylaws, information on our steering committee members, meeting minutes, and any publications we are putting out for review or use.
  • The Newsletter will be for our longform pieces, such as the chair’s year-in-review report or in-depth interviews or case studies. As implied by Lorette Weldon’s most recent call for submissions, we want people to think of this as a place to talk at length about their innovations in archives and records management– not quite the cachet of a scholarly journal, obviously, but works in progress and preliminary results, perhaps. Think Archival Outlook levels of discussion of theory and practice.
  • The Listserv will be for the day-to-day stuff that isn’t worth a whole blog post to write about– job ads, records management in the news, calls for endorsements, etc. Of course, if you just have a question for the membership or that you want to get a number of perspectives for, you’re welcome to keep using it that way– this is just referring to how the steering committee is going to use it going forward.

What is the schedule of The Schedule?

I see what you did there. Our current plan is to update at least once a week, with different members of the steering committee in a rotation to write about something in their particular bailiwick. You can find a preliminary schedule for the next month or so in our February meeting minutes. Of course, if something strikes our fancy when it’s not our turn to write, we won’t let our schedule stop us– this is just to keep us honest and avoid content deserts.

I’m doing something really cool with records management (or read a cool new records book, attended an interesting conference, etc.), but I don’t want to wait until the newsletter comes out. Can I write a guest post for the blog?

Of course! Please send us an email with your post idea– we’d love to hear from you!

Anything else I should know about this blog?

If you’re new to blogs, there are a couple of ways to follow it so you don’t have to keep refreshing the site for updates. Way #1 is to click the “Follow” button on the right there– you’ll get an email notification when there’s a new post. Way #2 is to input this URL into your Feed Reader of choice (I like Google Reader), and most readers will automatically extract the RSS feed from WordPress sites for you (which is good, since there’s no Feed URL in sight on this template).

Happy reading! I must now scurry off and complete my presentation for next Friday (see below for details).