Tag Archives: records management

Electronic Records Day – Text Messages as Public Records

This entry is cross-posted from the G.S. 132 Files, the official Records Management blog of the State Archives of North Carolina.

In recognition of Electronic Records Day 2017, sponsored by the Council of State Archivists (CoSA), the State Archives of North Carolina presents the short film “The Texting Club.” This video was created for educational purposes only.

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Sunshine Week 2017: Text and Instant Messaging Guidelines Update

Visit our records management blog for an update on text and instant messaging guidance.

The G.S. 132 Files

The State Archives of North Carolina has released an update to its Best Practices for Electronic Communications Usage in North Carolina: Text and Instant Message document. Released in February 2017, this document is an update to the 2012 guidance document for state agencies using text and instant messages in the workplace, including employee responsibilities according to general statutes and records retention and disposition schedules.

IM and texting are methods of communication that can make communication fast and easy regardless of when or where the participants in a conversation are. They can be quick exchanges to arrange meeting for lunch, or they can be long exchanges about complex topics. But while IM and text messaging can make day-to-day communications easier, when they are used in the conducting of public business—and therefore the creation of public records—they can also make records management more complicated. GS 132 defines public records by content, not…

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Disaster Preparations

[This post is cross-posted from our records management blog, G.S. 132 Files.]

Hurricane Matthew is expected to move north along the east coast of the U.S. later this week and into the weekend. Even if the eye of the storm remains offshore, hurricane or tropical force conditions could still impact North Carolina. Those in the storm’s path should prepare for possible wind and water damage.

We are encouraging all agencies to stabilize your records storage areas before the storm hits, while also making sure that your response contact lists and resources are ready to use should your records be impacted.

  • Ensure that records are 3-6 inches off the floor, if possible. Consider relocating records out of the bottom drawers of filing cabinets, away from windows, and out of basement and attic areas.
  • Compile some recovery supplies, including plastic to cover cabinets, records boxes, and bookshelves.
  • Compile information on disaster recovery vendors.

In the event that your records do get impacted, please contact the State Archives immediately.

Becky McGee-Lankford (Government Records Section Chief) 919-807-7353

Sarah Koonts (State Archivist) 919-807-7339

Jennifer Blomberg (Head of Collections Management) 919-807-7308

Below are initial steps to take in the event that records are damaged by water:

Sample Inventory Control Forms

Initial Steps Before Recovery of Wet Records

Selected List of Disaster Recovery Services

How Did We Move a Warehouse Full of Records?

[This blog post is cross-posted from the G.S. 132 Files, the records management blog of the Government Records Section of the State Archives of North Carolina. The original post was written by section head Becky McGee-Lankford.]

How Did We Move a Warehouse Full of Records?

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Moving into the new warehouse.

One of the primary functions of the Government Records Section, Division of Archives and History (State Archives of North Carolina) is to provide state agencies with storage facilities for their inactive records.  We operate three storage facilities to accomplish this goal.  Due the term of the lease ending with one of our storage facilities (BSA), the staff of the Division of Archives and Records has engaged in a massive storage facility relocation project that took place from May 2014 to March 2015.

This project started almost a year ago in April 2014 when we began to work with the State Property Office to seek new leased space.  Once the bid process was completed and the proper contracts were signed we obtained a new leased space in September 2014.

The staff of the State Archives worked in three phases to transition the records from the former storage facility (BSA) to the new warehouse (Front Street). Phase 1: Preparation and Planning; Phase 2: Removal of Records and Disassembly and Reassembly of Shelves; and Phase 3:  Re-shelving of Records.

shelving_2

Setting up the shelving


Phase 1: Preparation and Planning

During the preparation stage we worked to minimize the cost of moving the records from one facility to the new warehouse.  From May – October 2014 we:

  • Destroyed 18,229.55 cu. ft. of materials scheduled for destruction.
  • Moved 8,776 cu. ft. of records from the BSA to one of our other two storage facilities.
  • Hired a structural engineer to design a shelving plan for the new warehouse facility.
  • Prepared the Scope of Work and received bids from contractors to 1) remove the records from the warehouse; 2) Store the records in a temporary location; 3) Move the shelving from the first warehouse and rebuild the shelves in the new facility; and 4) Return the records to the shelves in the new facility. The contractor was secured in early November 2014.
  • Developed workflow for records relocation. We also developed documentation to track the movement of the boxes from the shelf to the pallet, the pallet storage in the temporary location, and placement of the boxes in their new location at the new facility. Detailed documentation of individual series of records (including which pallet they were stored) was important to capture, since the clear chain of custody for the records needed to be identifiable through all stages of the process.

Phase 2: Removal of Records and Disassembly and Reassembly of Shelves

  • November – December 2014 contract workers and Division staff worked to palletize and remove records from the storage facility. Record pulls were completed in 15 days.
  • Late December 2014 – February 2015 contract workers disassembled and reassembled the shelving at the new storage facility.
  • Hired lighting engineer to design a supplemental lighting plan for the storage facility.

Phase 3: Re-shelving of Records and Lighting

  • March 2015 contract workers and Division staff re-shelved records in the new warehouse. The final boxes were placed on the shelves on March 16th, meaning that work was completed in 10 ½ days.
  • Lighting contractor is scheduled to install additional lighting.

Now that the hard part is done we will focus our attention on ensuring that all box locations in our box tracking database have been updated to reflect their new location.  This should take a minimal amount of time since we did a majority of the data entry in real time as the boxes were being placed on the shelves.

The State Records Center has resumed normal operations.  We are now servicing records requests for records stored in all three of our facilities, destroying records that have met retention requirements, and picking up records from agencies for storage at the State Records Center.  After almost 11 months it is nice to get back to routine operations.

Final Results:

We moved 37,116 cu. ft. of records on 696 pallets from the BSA to the Front Street facility.  We had a handful of boxes that were damaged in transport, but for the most part the boxes arrived in their new home in good condition.

In total we touched approximately 64,122 cu. ft. of records during this project.  As a result of all the planning and preparation work done in the first phase of the move, as well as the relocation and destruction of records stored at the BSA, the overall cost of the project was reduced. This project was a major undertaking requiring the commitment of all State Archives staff to complete.  All members of the Archives staff worked tireless to transition the records to the new storage facility.  The result is a fully operational storage facility.

Labor Day, New Finding Aids, and Blockade Runners

The State Archives of North Carolina will be closed August 30 – September 1 for the Labor Day holiday. Even though the building will be closed, our website is always open to you. Here are some new items that you may find interesting.

New in Government Records

New digital records guidelines are available for:

New Finding Aids

Several new finding aids are available on the State Archives of North Carolina website.

Audio Visual Materials

Century Film Productions Motion Picture Films Collection (pdf)
Century Film Productions (AKA Century Studios; Century Films) was a Raleigh-based film studio owned and operated by O.B. (Ollie) and Lynn Garris. O.B. – while also a cameraman for WRAL-TV – was the primary cinematographer, and his wife, Lynne, played a variety of roles from set designer to director, editing and sound to production assistant. The Century Film Productions catalog spans from the late 1950s through the early 1980s, and including completed films, production elements, and outtakes – all but two in 16mm format – numbers over 200 items. A few highlights include sponsored films for Carolina Power & Light, Occoneechee Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the North Carolina Department of Transportation with R.J. Reynolds, the U.S. Navy, and the North Carolina Police Information Network; a North Carolina State University football game; commercials for Mt. Olive Pickles and Record Bar; short films and television spots for the political ad campaigns of state governors Dan K. Moore, Terry Sanford, and Robert W. Scott, United States Representative Jim Gardner, and others. There are also important events in North Carolina history that are captured on film such as a Ku Klux Klan march from circa 1965, the Pullen Hall fire at North Carolina State University in 1965, the inauguration of James E. Holshouser, Jr., and more. (204 items)

Governors Papers

  • David S. Reid, (in office January 1, 1851-December 5, 1854)
  • Daniel L. Russell (in office January 12, 1897-January 14, 1901)
  • Alfred M. Scales (in office January 21, 1885-January 16, 1889)
  • Richard D. Spaight (in office December 14, 1792-November 18, 1795)
  • James Turner (in office December 6, 1802-December 9, 1805)
  • Zebulon B. Vance, 1st Administration (in office September 8, 1862-May 28, 1865)
  • Zebulon B. Vance, 2nd Administration (January 1, 1877-February 4, 1879)

Private Collections

Cunningham, Josiah H. and William A., Letters, 1861-1865 (pdf)
Josiah H. Cunningham (ca. 1841-1863) and William Alexander Cunningham (ca. 1843-1904) were sons of George Washington (ca. 1807-1872) and Susan Turner Rives Cunningham (ca. 1817-1901), Granville County. On 8 June, 1861, the two brothers enlisted as privates, trained at a school of cavalry instruction at Camp Beauregard, Ridgeway, Warren County. It was there that the 9th Regiment N.C. State Troops (1st Regiment N. C. Cavalry) was formed on 12 August 1861. William survived the war, but Josiah was wounded 15 October 1863 near Manassas Junction, Va., and died the following day. Consists of fifty-six letters, the majority of which were written by the Cunningham brothers to family at home. Of these, a small quantity were written by Daniel B. Duke, company bugler, and by Robert D. Grisham/ Grissom, a private, both from Granville County, and one by Turner, probably a kinsman. Most of the letters consisted of references to life in the camps, with news that would be of interest to family at home, and did not dwell on the dangers and horrors of war. A couple of letters after Josiah’s death provide a few scant details to the grieving family. (1 box)

New on YouTube

If you missed the Civil War 150 talk “The Blockade and Blockade Running in North Carolina, 1861-1865” by Andrew Duppstadt on August 11, 2014, the video of the talk is now available on the Department of Cultural Resources YouTube channel.

New Blog Posts

Everyone’s Favorite Time of Year: Inventory

[This blog post was written by Becky McGee-Lankford, head of the Government Records Section. ]

A row of fibredex boxes in the State Records Center. One of our standard records storage cartons equals 1 cubic foot and one of the archival fibredex or Hollinger boxes equals 0.4 cu. ft.

One of our standard records storage cartons equals 1 cubic foot and one of the archival fibredex or Hollinger boxes equals 0.4 cu. ft.

It’s that time of year again. Every January the staff of the State Archives of North Carolina devotes three days (January 13-15) to inventorying our various collections.  This year we confirmed the location of approximately 29,700 cu. ft. of state agency, local, and organizational records in three of our storage facilities. While this is not the entirety of our holdings, the records inventoried this year consisted of the most frequently referenced series by researchers in our Search Room.  In addition to verifying the locations of our collections, we also utilized staff resources to work on several additional projects, including barcoding records stored in the State Records Center, and processing two local record series.

Recently barcoded boxes in the State Records Center

Recently barcoded boxes in the State Records Center.

In the past year the State Records Center integrated barcoding into the process of storing inactive records for state agencies. We are currently barcoding records as the boxes are transferred by agencies to the records center for storage.  We have also been working towards barcoding all records currently stored in our various storage facilities to more efficiently  allocate available storage space.  During inventory staff barcoded approximately 16,086 cu. ft. of records stored on the second floor of the State Records Center which is a substantial accomplishment in comparison to the 13,079 cu. ft. completed in November and December.  It proves that when you concentrate your efforts you can accomplish great things.

Finally staff processed (flattened, foldered, and data entry) for 17 cu. ft. of Durham County Wills, 1881-1966.  Out of the 17 cu. ft. staff created 4,314 files (120 fibredex boxes).   This project needs additional work before being integrated into the Archives collection.  Once the processing of this series is complete, it will be available for researchers to access through the Search Room. In addition, staff continued data entry of the New Hanover County Estates, 1747-1939 adding 358 files (10 fibredex boxes) to the container list. Click here for completed county records container lists.  Follow our blogs for progress reports on these collections.

I hope this blog post has given you some insight into part of the routine operations of the State Archives of North Carolina as we work to ensure the continued accessibility of North Carolina’s permanently valuable records.

Franklin County Records

[Below is a letter from Sarah Koonts, Director of the Division of Archives and Records.]

Dear Friends and Partners:

You may have heard about the recent destruction of local records stored in Franklin County’s courthouse basement. I can assure you that no one cares more about the history of this state or its documentary records than staff of the Division of Archives and Records.  We work hard every day with our partners to provide guidance and assistance to state and local officials concerning the routine management, preservation and disposition of their records.

If records are deemed to have permanent legal, evidentiary or historical value, the Archives is responsible for the long-term preservation of these records. In order to better understand how we interacted with Franklin County officials to provide this advice and guidance once they discovered a collection of water and mold damaged records in the courthouse basement, we are providing additional information on this chain of events. We hope this clears up misconceptions about the role of the Division of Archives and Records in this specific situation and others regarding the proper maintenance and destruction of public records.

The State Archives does not mandate destruction of records. In some instances, after consultation with the State Archives, local records creators can continue to maintain non-permanent records or transfer them to other entities (historical societies, public libraries, etc.).  Based on the professional opinion from the safety and health officer from the Administrative Office of the Courts, the mold situation in Franklin County made options such as these difficult. Ultimately, however, the local governmental agencies make the final decision on whether records not preserved by the State Archives are retained locally or destroyed.

In 2013 the Division of Archives and Records was notified by Franklin County representatives that government records dating from the 1880s through 1969 had been stored in the courthouse basement where a leaking air conditioner caused water damage to some of the records and exacerbated mold growth in the room. At the request of county officials, Division staff visited the Franklin County Courthouse August 21, 2013, to discuss the potential disposition of the records stored in the basement.

As is standard practice when government officials want to transfer or destroy inactive public records, we ask the custodial office to consult their approved records schedule. If they have additional questions or want to destroy records not identified on the records schedule, we require a full inventory. Based on the October 11, 2013 inventory submitted to our office by the Clerk of Superior Court, it was determined that a majority of the documents in the basement were financial records that were decades past the recommended period of retention. The remaining records fell under the custodianship of several local county offices including the County Manager, the Register of Deeds, and the Clerk of Superior Court. A substantial quantity of the remaining records contained confidential information, including personally identifiable and medical information.

Many of the records in question have been eligible for destruction since the 1960s and have routinely been destroyed in other counties in the state in accordance with the schedule. For example, records mentioned in several blog posts, such as the delayed birth certificate applications and the old marriage license health certificates have been routinely destroyed by schedule as the information is duplicated in other records or non-archival. Furthermore, the confidential information contained in these records mean that only the custodial agency could retain them. They could never be given to a local historical society or library. Again, based on information given to our office, we verified the appropriate retention period for all records on the list provided. The State Archives took custody of 15 cubic feet of civil and criminal case files, 4 volumes of justice dockets, Criminal Court (1960s), and 1 volume of Records of Magistrates (1880s) with the permission of the Clerk of Superior Court and the Administrative Office of the Courts. Since these records were exposed to active mold we are taking every precaution recommended prior to reformatting these materials. We also asked that if additional archival records were discovered in the basement that we be notified so that we could assume custody. The final decision of the date and method of destruction for the remaining records lies with the local officials, and questions about the actual destruction should be relayed to them.

Not every piece of paper can be saved from every government office in North Carolina without creating an undue burden on government offices and taxpayers. That is the nature of records management – to work under professional standards with records creators to determine overarching series of records that document the actions of governments, protect the legal rights of citizens, and inform the history of our state.

The State Archives of NC has been preserving North Carolina history for more than 110 years.  We have one of, if not the most, comprehensive collections of state and local government records in any state of the country, including a substantial collection of permanently valuable Franklin County records that are available for public access, such as 101 volumes, 176 fibredex boxes and 1,066 microfilm reels of records. We are proud to continue this tradition of preservation and access to the permanently valuable records of the state.

The State Archives of North Carolina remains committed to preserving our state’s records.

Sincerely,

Sarah Koonts
Director, Division of Archives and Records
N.C. Department of Cultural Resources