For records preservation, Arkansas turns to the cloud
- By Amanda Ziadeh
- Aug 08, 2016
Think of archivists as guardians of the past? You can shelve that idea.
Although they are responsible for conserving and providing access to historic documents, public-sector work in a field whose shifting formats, evolving technologies and exponentially increasing number of digital artifacts make preservation a constantly changing job.
In Arkansas, one of the oldest archives in the country, more than 15,000-cubic feet of historic government records, governors’ papers, family histories, photographs, maps, folk music recordings, arts and artifacts, state newspapers sit side by side with born-digital records and a large digital collection. The archives’ current digital collections focus on the American Civil War and World War I, Historic Maps, Arkansas’s Women’s History and Multicultural Heritage, the History of African American Arkansans, Politics in Arkansas, Ozark Folk Music and more.
The state was looking to ingest, preserve and store its historic documents and resources, as well as build a statewide electronic records program. Currently, state agencies are responsible for managing own records, and tend to have electronic records on legacy file formats, little training in digital preservation and limited digital storage space. It was also important to provide public access, which increasingly means accomodating online visitors.
“Our challenge was greater given that we didn’t just need a digital preservation system to help safeguard historically valuable records, but also a partner to help us meet the records needs of our state agencies,” Mary Dunn, Arkansas’ archival manager for Technology and Access, said.
Arkansas is currently working with Preservica to support the complete cycle of managing its digital records strategy. It will use the company’s Cloud Edition for intake, processing, storage, management and providing access to electronic records.
The Arkansas State Archives will be using Preservica to ingest, process and preserve state records of long-term value, and is currently in the process of defining workflows and policies that will act as a model for the transfer of records from state agencies.
Similarily, Texas State Archives recently chose Preservica to support its Texas Digital Archive, a searchable repository to manage, preserve and provide access to its electronic records collection, GCN previously reported.
Other states using Preservica’s technology include Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee, South Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin.
Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.