Archives News, August 2007
NHRPC awards grant for court records project
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHRPC) has announced the award of a grant to the Utah State Archives to help fund the Judicial Records Preservation and Access Project. Grant funds will allow the Archives to hire three temporary employees to microfilm and create finding aids for the historic records of Utah’s Fifth District Court (Washington, Iron, and Beaver Counties) from statehood in 1896 to 1955 and for the Territorial Second District Court which was seated in Beaver County from 1870 to 1896.
Court records frequently are requested by researchers. Records involved in this project will include probate, civil, and criminal case files, as well as court registers of actions, minutes, and judgment books. This project will make these records available on microfilm at Dixie College and Southern Utah University as well as at the Utah State Archives. The records include information about the administration of estates, divorces, and other civil actions as well as the records of criminal cases brought before the court. Criminal records for Territorial Second District seated in Beaver include the trial of John D. Lee (1875-1876) for his involvement in the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre.Regional repository grants and training program funded
The Utah State Archives received $200,000 from the 2007 Utah State Legislature General Session for a regional repository training and development program. The program funds were initiated and supported by Representative Wayne A. Harper, a member of Utah’s State Historical Records Advisory Board with an interest in the preservation and public access of Utah’s historical documentary materials. The funding initiative will assist the state’s regional and local repositories and become available in FY2008 as a three-year training and development program.
Regional repositories hold historical document collections that are specific to regions within Utah. By preserving these materials at a local level, the public can access these records within their region rather than travel to Salt Lake City for access. As part of the program, regional repositories will develop outreach programs in their respective areas and training will be provided in such areas as appraisal, archival processing, disaster preparedness, and preservation of records.
In addition to training opportunities, there will be a grants program available for the next three years to institutions that hold historic records. These grants will assist in preserving historic documents in Utah.
Utah Public Notice Website Created
In the 2007 General Session, the Utah State Legislature passed HB 222S04 Open and Public Meetings--Electronic Notice (http://le.utah.gov/~2007/bills/hbillenr/hb0222.htm). HB222 authorized the creation of the Utah Public Notice Website to assist the public to find, search, and subscribe to posted public notices of any public body in the state. The website will be administered by the Utah State Archives.
The website will consist of a database of public hearing notices, agendas, and minutes of public bodies in state and local governments, with robust searching capabilities. The website will provide a subscription service wherein citizens or media can subscribe for notification of various public body meetings. It will need to be a tool that will be easy to access and use for public bodies to be able to post their public meetings.
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).
Robert D. “Robbie” Robertson (Murray City Council) was appointed as the political subdivision elected official, replacing Carol Heales (Murray City Recorder). John (“Lex”) Hemphill (retired Salt Lake Tribune sports writer) was appointed as the news media representative replacing Dixie Brunner (editor, Southern Utah News).
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. Susan Mumford 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.
State Archives to Celebrate Archives Month in October
Archives and records repositories throughout the Beehive State will observe Utah Archives Month during October 2007. The theme is “Documenting Utah: Our Past Deserves a Future.” Events include historical lectures by prominent scholars; tours of participating repositories; and family history classes.
The Utah State Archives will host “Research at Noon” brown bag lectures each Wednesday and Friday throughout October. Building tours and demonstrations of the automated storage and retrieval system are also planned.
Retention schedules available through web
Agency records officers throughout Utah now have access to current general retention schedules directly from the Utah State Archives and Records Service web site. The up-to-date electronic versions replace out-dated static electronic and printed forms.
Utah State Archives staff news
Rodney Swaner was hired as an archivist April 23. Swaner previously was a part-time, temporary employee at the Archives and was responsible for the digitization, scanning, and entering metadata for the records of former three-term Governor Michael O. Leavitt (1993-2003). He received a B.S degree in geography with an emphasis in GIS and GPS from the University of Utah in May 2006. He also has a B.S. degree and background in archaeology. Swaner worked as a GIS/Archaeology intern for the BLM and USFS/Ashley Forest. Next he worked for the State Historical Preservation Office in the Antiquities department as a GIS intern. Then he went onto work for AGRC as a GPS/GIS intern before initially coming to Archives in October 2005.