Skip to Content
Utah.gov
Archives Banner

< Previous | Newsletters | Next > 

December 2006
Volume 2 Number 2 

Archives completes court records inventory

Rosemary examines court recordsA State Archives committee (known as circuit riders) headed by records analyst Rosemary Cundiff has completed an inventory of all court records in the division’s collection and those being held in county courthouses throughout the state. Circuit riders noted records storage conditions and identified records at risk. By early October 2006, members of the State Archives staff had inventoried court records for each of the district courts statewide and compiled a list of historic court records, including criminal, civil, and probate case files from 1852 to 1955 and accompanying minute books, indexes, and registers of actions. Archives staff circuit riders have compared these lists to records in Archives’ holdings, and compiled worksheets to clearly identify what records exist and where they are located. Throughout the inventory Archives staff circuit riders also advised court clerks on records management, preservation, and access.

Higher education conference held

The Utah State Archives and the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board sponsored a conference for Higher Education Institutions in Utah. The first-ever of its kind conference was held at Utah Valley State College on November 17. The conference for administrative leaders focused on the importance of preserving the institutional record and provided training on how to accomplish this great task. Topics discuss included records management issues, how to preserve and capture the institutional record, records access issues and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) . A highlight of the conference was the luncheon speaker, Robert Spindler, from Arizona State University. He is an expert in electronic records and he spoke about electronic records strategies for higher education. The conference was well attended and we hope to have future conferences similar to this one.

Changes made to Utah State Records Committee

Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., made two appointments to the seven-member Utah State Records Committee (SRC) in July. The appointments were confirmed by the State Senate during the July 19 legislative interim session.

Carol Heales (Murray City Recorder) was appointed as the political subdivision elected official, replacing LuAnn Adams (Box Elder County Clerk/Recorder). Dixie Brunner (editor, Southern Utah News) was reappointed as the news media representative.

Continuing members include Carl R. Albrecht (general manager and CEO, Garkane Power Association, Inc.), citizen representative, and Scott Whittaker (vice president, File Center, Inc.), private sector records manager. Standing members include: Patricia Smith-Mansfield (State Archivist), Governor's designee, as committee chairman; Betsy Ross, State Auditor's designee; and Linda Thatcher, Division of State History designee. David Geary, Assistant Attorney General, serves as legal counsel to the Committee. Maren Jeppsen of the Utah State Archives serves as executive secretary.

The SRC meets at least quarterly to approve the retentions and dispositions of record series generated by state and local government entities. The committee also serves as an appeals board when access to records has been denied by the originating agency.

Utah State Records Committee hears appeals for records requests

Rosemary Cundiff

Access to government records is a constant issue for government agencies. How does government balance public right to access information with individual rights of privacy and government’s need to protect certain records? The legislature has provided guidelines for records classifications but leaves ultimate responsibility with creating agencies. When someone believes they have unjustly been denied access to a government record they can appeal to the State Records Committee.

This seven-member committee meets regularly at the Utah State Archives. Petitioner can explain why they believe they should have access to the requested records and government agency representatives defend their decision to deny access. After hearing both sides, the committee publicly deliberates and votes on a decision.

Collaboration at its best: The Local Governments Records Preservation Project

Maren Jeppson

Collaboration is the key to the successful Local Governments Records Preservation Project, better known as the Utah Millennial Project because of its year 2000 starting date. The Utah State Archives, in cooperation with the Regional Associations of Government and with the support from the legislature, counties, school districts, cities, and towns, is providing the necessary means to save important Utah historical records.

The project is designed to preserve the history of cities, towns, counties, school districts, cemetery, and special districts in the State of Utah. The focus is on preserving council and board minutes, city or town charters, resolutions and ordinances, annual reports, cemetery records and many other unique local historical records.

Not only are important records being preserved, but researchers will have convenient access to the records. Microfilm copies will be made available at the Utah State Archives (Utah History Research Center) and locally to regional repositories. Each agency will also maintain microfilm copies of their records.

Digital collections available online

The Utah State Archives began a comprehensive digital program in 2005-2006 with an appropriation from the Utah State Legislature to help purchase hardware and software. It is planned to fully integrate the digitization process into the regular work of preserving and making government records available. Online collections may be searched and viewed from http://historyresearch.utah.gov/digital/archives

Message from the Utah State Archivist

Digital collectionsGovernors' Records in Digital Collections at the Utah State Archives

Patricia Smith-Mansfield, Director

The Governor is the chief administrative officer of the state and the sole official entity of communication between the government of this state and the government of any other state and of the United States. As a result, Governors' papers are a valuable historical resource. They are biographical accounts of a Governor's term and a chronicle of statewide and national events. They shed light on Utah's involvement in and reaction to national issues and problems specific to Utah, with events and responses during the time of interest. In short, these series record Utah's history within the state and nation.

As such, the Utah State Archives is pleased to announce its new Governors of Utah Digital Collections (http://historyresearch.utah.gov/digital/archives.htm). The Archives’ Governors Digital Collections contains nearly 40,000 images of former Governors Michael O. Leavitt and Olene S. Walker.

In 2002 Utah hosted the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. It was an opportunity for the state to welcome visitors from all regions of the world to Utah to learn about the state’s recreational and cultural resources. The state’s preparations and celebrations can be found in 2K2 Program Records, 1999-2003 , capturing Olympic activity from the vantage point of the Utah Governor's Office.

These digital collections are part of the Archives’ vision to provide online access to significant historical events evidenced in Gubernatorial records. Future additions to the Governors Digital Collections will include such records as the constituent's correspondence in Governor Henry H. Blood's papers (1933-1941) that portray the losses suffered by Utah citizenry during the Depression and Governor Calvin L. Rampton's papers (1965-1977) that chronicle the battle for civil and women's rights in Utah and the nation.

By providing online access, the Archives participates in what the National Archives calls “Archives without walls.” Online resources provide access worldwide, giving patrons the ability to research any orldwide. This will be an invaluable resource to Utah history researchers, to educators and students, and to others interested in Utah government and history. The Archives is pleased to unveil its Governors of Utah Digital Collections in service and access to government records.

Preserving digital data: Like brushing your teeth

Susan Mumford

Most things on paper tend to stay around. A letter from Benedict Arnold recently was found in the attic of an old farmhouse. It had been kept in a cool, dry place for two hundred years. It was still readable. Could the same be said of our digital records? Will we have the ability to retrieve them in the future? Unless we go out of our way to renew and preserve it, information on a computer or on a disk or computer tape may quickly become unusable.

James Billington, the head of the Library of Congress, has said that the amount of digital information produced on all the world’s computers every fifteen minutes is equivalent to all the books in the Library of Congress. In the digital age it is easier than ever to store vast quantities of data but harder to be sure that the information will be available later on. As each new and improved storage system arrives, computers generally remain compatible with the immediate past system, but not with anything older. Any information stored more than six or eight years and not transferred to a more modern system is destined to become unusable.

For both laptop users and large institutions the solution is an active process. Digital files must be transferred from old tapes or disks to new ones as storage standards change. Information must be transferred from one program to another whenever software is changed. Backup files must also be rerecorded. The convenience of digital records is an obvious benefit but, according to James Fallows, writing in the technology section of the September, 2006, issue of Atlantic Monthly, in order to insure continuing usefulness of the records we keep, we need to recognize that preserving digital data will be an ongoing task, like brushing your teeth or taking out the trash.

2007 Records management training sessions scheduled

Utah State Archives records analysts are the liaisons between the Archives and records officers in state and local government offices throughout the state. Their job is to provide training and assistance to agencies on records issues. Training focuses on two main topics: records management and records access.

The Utah State Archives Records Analysis staff offers basic records management and Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) training at the new Archives Building. Training sessions will provide designated Records Officers, GRAMA officers, and other interested state employees with information on how to better manage the government records they create and comply with GRAMA. Times and places are posted on our website.

The State Archives holds regular training sessions for local government officials involved in records management or access issues. Separate sessions in records management are available for local government officials, law enforcement agencies, and school districts. Comprehensive basic training includes both records management and GRAMA. Times and places are posted on our website.

Registration is available on our website.

Records analysts are available for one-on-one consultation at any time and are also willing to set up additional training as needed. Archives records analysts have recently posted a new and revised Classification Worksheet to assist records officers in understanding classification issues.

Family history research guide available

A new online research guide highlighting collections useful to family historians using the resources of the Utah History Research Center has been prepared. The URL is http://historyresearch.utah.gov/guides/familyhistory.htm

New web site design

The Utah State Archives along with other agencies in the Department of Administrative Services unveiled re-designed web sites in September which offer a similar look and feel. Changes to the Archives home page include database search boxes for personal and agency names, an events calendar, training calendar, an organizational chart, and staff directory.

Utah Archives Month observed in October

Archives and records repositories throughout the Beehive State observed Utah Archives Month during October 2006. The theme was “A Gift of the Past: Exploring Utah’s Archives and Special Collections.” Events included historical lectures by prominent scholars; tours of participating repositories; and family history classes.

Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. again issued a declaration recognizing October as Archives Month in Utah.

The Utah State Archives and Utah State Historical Society jointly observed "Utah Archives Month" with a free lecture on Wednesday, October 25, and six free research classes on Friday, October 27.

“Wallace Stegner’s Utah Connection,” a paper by Bill Mulder, was presented Wednesday, October 25. The lecture originally was scheduled to be given at the annual meeting of the Utah State Historical Society on September 15.

A series of one-hour research classes was presented Friday, October 27. Morning classes familiarized researchers with resources available at the Utah History Research Center, which is operated jointly by the State Archives and Historical Society. Afternoon classes were presented by employees at the LDS Church Historical Department and focused on family history. The complete class schedule follows.

  • Legislative History research class presented by James Kichas and Brandon Metcalf, processing and reference archivists at the Utah State Archives.
  • Community History research class presented by Alan Barnett (Utah State Archives) and Doug Misner (Utah State Historical Society).
  • “Wake the Dead,” Family History research class, presented by James Kichas (Utah State Archives) and Melissa Ferguson (Utah State Historical Society).
  • “Family History Sources in the LDS Church Archives and How to Use Them” research class, presented by Jay Burrup (LDS Church Historical Department).
  • Tips and hints and doing oral histories research class presented by Matt Heiss (LDS Church Historical Department).
  • Tips and hints and how to write a journal class presented by Jeffery O. Johnson (LDS Church Historical Department).

Archives Month is an annual event sponsored by archives and special collections from across Utah. A schedule of Archives Month events statewide was posted on the Utah Archives Month web site, www.utaharchivesmonth.org. Tours of the Utah State Archives building and remodeled Rio Grande Depot and demonstrations of the archives building’s automated storage and retrieval system were also available.

Utah State Archives staff news

Tony Castro was hired as a reference archivist in May 2006. Tony originally was hired as a microfilm camera operator in August 2005.

Maren Jeppsen was hired June 3 as a records analyst and will also serve as executive secretary of the State Records Committee. Maren comes to the Archives from the Division of State History where she held positions in the Utah History Information Center and as an information specialist. Before coming to work for the state, she served as a senior reference librarian at the Family History Library for 19 years. She is also an Accredited Genealogistcm. Maren began her career as an educator in the Utah public school system and holds a current Utah K-12 teaching certificate.

Justin McFadden, a records analyst and executive secretary of the State Records Committee, resigned June 30, 2005 after one year at the archives. Justin has re-located to California where he is working for law firm.

Janell B. Tuttle, a records analyst, resigned as a full-time employee August 18 after two years with the archives. Janell and her husband and children have moved to Provo, Utah. Janell subsequently received a part-time appointment as an intern and will serve as secretary of the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board.

Susan Larson Mumford was added to the Archives staff as a records analyst July 17, 2006. Growing up in Eugene, Oregon, my family, the Larsons, explored the many lakes, streams, mountains, and the Oregon Coast. We fished, hiked, camped, and vacationed throughout the state. I took painting and creative writing courses at the University of Oregon, and lived a year in Mexico, attending the University of Mexico, D.F.

After graduating from BYU with a Spanish/English degree and a secondary teaching certificate, I taught for two years and then worked for the Community Action Program in Midvale. I married Lyle Mumford, raised two boys, and pursued art and editing from home. Then, with the boys in school, I owned and operated an Art and Frame store called Frameplace in Murray, Utah, for 16 years. After selling the shop, I returned to school and received my MLS degree from Emporia State University in December 2005. I have been working part-time for the Salt Lake County Library System and the Ephraim, Utah, library for the past four years. I have traveled to various countries in Europe and South America. I love to hike, paint and read and have restored a c. 1905 farmhouse in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. I find pleasure in following the exciting lives of my family. I am looking forward to being part of the important work of the Utah State Archives.

Darrel Pierce was hired as a microfilm camera operator on June 26, 2006. Darrel comes to the archives through the state employee reduction in force program. He has 12 years of service in E-Publishing. Darrel’s wife, Vicky, also works for the State of Utah at Medicaid. They have four children and two grandchildren. Darrel replaces Julie Talbot, who now works at the Archives Record Center.

Darrel Housley was hired as a temporary microfilm camera operator on July 25, 2006. Darrel will film the ongoing Governors’ papers project along with incoming work for outside agencies. Darrel began flying in 1982 and has flown for a charter company and as a corporate pilot. He also worked for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a pilot, aircraft accident investigator, flew with different airlines, and worked with military pilots. He has also been a SCUBA diving instructor. Darrel and his wife, Jean, have been married for 24 years. They have four children, all sons.

Brett Dowdle, a temporary microfilm camera operator hired in March 2006, returned to his studies at Brigham Young University after five months with the archives. Brian Carpenter, manager of the micrographics section, described Brett as “a good microfilmer and great person.”

Jim Kichas, processing and reference archivist, attended the 20th Western Archives Institute in San Diego, June 18-30.

Patricia Smith-Mansfield, director of State Archives; Brandon Metcalf, processing and reference archivist; and Rosemary Cundiff, records analyst, attended the 2006 Society of American Archivists (SAA) Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C., July 31-August 6. Metcalf passed the certified archivist exam earlier this summer while attending the conference.

Cheryl Coats was hired as a records analyst on November 6, 2006. Cheryl was born in Utah but grew up in Colorado. Upon graduating from high school she moved to Salt Lake City to attend Hollywood Beauty College. She returned to Colorado where she married and owned a salon for nine years. Cheryl taught and researched genealogy while raising her four children until they were teenagers when she began to work towards her B.A. degree. After living in several states and Canada she finished her B.A. in history at the University of Maine. After receiving her degree, she remained in Maine where she was contracted to Waldo County for the preservation of historical records and the creation of a county archives. Cheryl also contracted to write grant proposals for Waldo County. In August 2006 Cheryl and her husband, Milo, moved to West Jordan and are very happy to be living back in the west. Cheryl enjoys working for the Utah State Archives and appreciates the friendliness of the employees. She originally was hired as a temporary microfilm camera operator on September 18, 2006.

Elizabeth Perkes was recognized as the Utah State Archives’s “employee of the year” September 19, 2006, at the annual Department of Administrative Services (DAS) awards presentation and picnic. The DAS quality service awards are presented to those “displaying a commitment to quality customer service, creativity in identifying problems and solutions, and dedication to efficiency in government. Elizabeth has been with the Archives since September 1990. Elizabeth displayed great competence in the work she performed this past year as the Division of Archives and Records Service conducted an inventory of the State Records Center. The 18-month-long project began with a physical inventory of 127,000 cubic foot boxes of state and local government records stored in the State Records Center. After the physical inventory was completed, Elizabeth led a team that reconciled the Records Center database with the results of the physical inventory. Elizabeth gave this task the attention to detail that was necessary to correctly reconcile the database. The work included correcting data entry errors that have occurred over two decades. From her analysis, the Archives was able to identify a number of follow-up projects needed to improve and ensure the quality of systems. Some of these projects include identifying record series whose retentions had not been able to be calculated in our database because of incorrect data, reconciling the Archives (repository/HK) database and the State Records Center database, and identifying duplicate label entries. In addition to performing the tasks associated with the inventory project, she has competently continued with her other assigned, regular duties

DACSProcessing archivists from the Archives attended a one-day DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard) training on November 8, 2006 from the Society of American Archivists. 

This page was last updated August 1, 2008.