Category: News

The Beginning of History in Utah

In July of 1897 Utahns gathered to celebrate the Pioneer Jubilee. This was not the first time people had celebrated the anniversary of the Mormon Pioneers entering the Great Salt Lake Valley.

 Anniversary events reportedly had been happening for years. Yet, it was the first time that Utahns began to look at the event as a celebration of history rather than an anniversary.

For the first time, the organizers worked to put on an event that would not only celebrate pioneers, but would tell the story of what was finally being recognized as history.  The original pioneers were declining rapidly in numbers and taking their stories with them. Events that had seemed contemporary in the previous decades, were becoming hazy memories to older generations, or just hearsay to newer generations. If the original pioneers were to have an official place in the halls of history, the generation of 1897 was going to provide it. The Jubilee was an opportunity to celebrate pioneer heritage while capturing evidence of the events that had formed society throughout the inter-mountain region.

Organizers intended the Pioneer Jubilee to celebrate, memorialize, and preserve history.  Parades, concerts, and baseball games celebrated the anniversary. Unveiling of the Pioneer Monument memorialized the pioneers. Photographing the surviving pioneers, gathering and displaying artifacts, and creating the Book of the Pioneers captured evidence of the pioneer story.

For the first time Utahns began to look at and document their own history and, today, we still see the effects of that Pioneer Jubilee celebration held 120 years ago. The current State Historical Society and the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers organization both were a result of increasing historical awareness that was so evident at the Pioneer Jubilee. Many Utahns are familiar with the annual Days of ‘47 parade that takes over Salt Lake City and many other towns throughout the state on July 24th. That celebration and others can trace their roots to the Pioneer Jubilee. This was just our first steps along the path of understanding our larger history. This step led to exploration into the fields of mining history, Native American history, military history, and so many more.

Come celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Pioneer Jubilee with us. Visit our short digital exhibit which examines the documents of Utah’s Pioneer Jubilee Celebration, the Book of the Pioneers, and the founding of the State Historical Society. Understanding that first celebration can help us understand the evolution of the way we view the pioneers and our state’s founders and even our larger history.

Newly Processed: May 2017

With the new website design, the publication of online series inventories was delayed. We’ll be highlighting all the new ones a month at time over the next week.

All public records at the Utah State Archives are accessible through the Research Center. However, once processed the records are easier to use with proper storage and fuller descriptions, including online series inventories. The following list includes record series that were processed during the month of May 2017:

Newly Processed: April 2017

With the new website design, the publication of online series inventories was delayed. We’ll be highlighting all the new ones a month at a time over the next week.

All public records at the Utah State Archives are accessible through the Research Center. However, once processed the records are easier to use with proper storage and fuller descriptions, including online series inventories. The following list includes record series that were processed during the month of April 2017:

Newly Processed: March 2017

With the new website design, the publication of online series inventories was delayed. We’ll be highlighting all the new ones a month at a time over the next week.

All public records at the Utah State Archives are accessible through the Research Center. However, once processed the records are easier to use with proper storage and fuller descriptions, including online series inventories. The following list includes record series that were processed during the month of March 2017:

Newly Processed: February 2017

With the new website design, the publication of online series inventories was delayed. We’ll be highlighting all the new ones a month at a time over the next week.

All public records at the Utah State Archives are accessible through the Research Center. However, once processed the records are easier to use with proper storage and fuller descriptions, including online series inventories. The following list includes record series that were processed during the month of February 2017:

Public Service Recognition Week: Meet the Reformatting Team

Meet the Reformatting Team

By Brian Carpenter

As part of Utah’s Public Service Recognition Week, we want to honor the men and women of the Utah State Archives and Records Service who work to ensure the management and preservation of and access to our governmental records.

The preservation/reformatting section is responsible for a variety of reformatting processes  used for the long-term preservation and easy access of essential documents or images. Our section microfilms documents for preservation, scans images, and duplicates rolls of microfilm for access. We also oversee the climate controlled vault for the 120,000 master microfilm rolls in our permanent collection.

Reformatting Team (left to right) Front Row: Julie Talbot-Maestas, Melody Yearsley, Back Row: Brian Carpenter, Nathan Gardner, James (Jim) V. Duke

Nathan Gardner, BFA Photography.

Hired October 2001

I digitize microfilm, microfiche, and sleeved microfilm for outside agencies as well as for the Archives. These images are used for worldwide online access and by individual patrons and governmental agencies. They are also used by various archives staff to make information of historic value and interest available to the public.  I assist as supervisor, as needed, and I oversee the maintenance of the equipment within the micrographics/reformatting section.

 Melody Yearsley

Hired May 10, 2000

I started out as a micrographic section filmer.  I prepped and filmed case files for 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City, UT.  However, I filmed only for a short time.  I was moved over from filming to the accessioning area of the micrographic/reformatting section.  The process of accessioning the rolls of microfilm is to put the information from the roll of film into the Archives database.  This process assigns the roll a unique tracking number.  With the unique accession number assigned to the roll of film, an agency or the public has easy access to a roll of film.  I also assist in the micrographics lab by making diazo film copies of the master film.  I also barcode master microfilm, which provides an inventory control of our microfilm collection and allows easier access to the rolls for public use.  Filming, duplication, accessioning, barcoding, and our other responsibilities help preserve the historic documents, and ensure that the records are available for the public to use.

Julie Talbot-Maestas

Hired July 1987

I am an Archival Technician and have worked mostly in the Micrographics Section, with a few years spent at our Records Center.  I have worked in all of the areas of the micrographics section, including microfilming, processing film in the lab, film duplication, and now data entry.

I learned how to digitize microfiche and roll film and I look forward to doing that again in the near future.  Currently I am barcoding our master microfilm rolls to accession them into the Archives permanent collection.

James V. Duke

Hired January 2017

I started at the Archives in January 2016 as a volunteer because I wanted to use my Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree and I knew the archives was a great place with many great people. In January 2017 I was hired as an Archival Technician and I am lucky to work on a few fun and interesting filming jobs.  Mainly I film documents or books for state agencies or from the Archives permanent collection. Filming is a new adventure.  My other duties include making digital masters of TIFF images and transferring those images to Blu-ray discs, which are used in our Research Center.  I also help process images for the website.  I do various jobs and am always look for new ways to help and new things to learn, which is essential to our micrographics team.  I am very fortunate to be paid for what I enjoy doing and working with many great men and women.

I am grateful for the hard work these four individuals do on a daily bases.  They all are good at their individual jobs and are great representatives of the Utah State Archives.  Everyone is very willing to help each other out from time to time, if assistance is needed.  They all work very hard to produce the highest quality product possible and always in a timely manner.  These four make up a great work force.

Join the State Archives in recognizing them along with other employees in blog posts throughout the week, both here and on our Recordskeepers Blog.

Public Service Recognition Week: Meet the Reference Staff and the Regional Program Staff

As the manager of two programs at the Archives, I want to highlight the dedicated employees who work with me in our Research Center and with our Regional Coordination Program.

The Archives reference team is made up of individuals  assigned the task of assisting the public in our Research Center. They greet patrons with a friendly smile and do their best to help them locate records in the Archives collection. They also respond to phone and email requests for information.Tony Castro

Tony Castro started at the State Archives in 2005, working in our reformatting program. He came to the Archives with solid experience in assisting the public at the USGS and the Carson City Public Library and soon transferred to working in our Research Center in 2006.

Heidi Stringham

 

 

Heidi Stringham began her life at the Archives in 2008.  She also had good customer service qualifications, having worked as a travel agent and in libraries. At the Archives she worked on a GIS project collecting geographical data to be linked to the Archives holdings. She also took on the role of managing the Public Notice Website for a time before taking on her current role in the Research Center in 2010.

Currently, Susan Mumford, Rae Gifford, and Alan Barnett all serve as back-up members of our reference team

Transparency Open Records Team
Janell Tuttle
is a key member of our Regional Coordination Team, working with local governments and cultural institutions throughout the state. She worked as the Reference Manager for the Utah State Historical Society before coming to the State Archives in 2003. At the Archives she has worked as a records analyst and secretary to the State Records Committee. Currently her primary role is that of executive secretary for the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board (USHRAB). In that role she coordinates activities of the Board, including its grant program for assisting institutions in the state to preserve and provide access to the records they hold.

The Regional Coordination Team also includes Lorianne Ouderkirk and Alan Barnett.

These employees are all committed to preserving Utah’s history and making it available to the public. Sometimes government gets a bad name, but I think these are the kind of employees that help make public service the primary goal of government in Utah.

Public Service Recognition Week: Meet the Archives and Patron Services Section

As part of Utah’s Public Service Recognition Week, we want to honor the men and women of the Utah State Archives and Records Service who work to ensure the management and preservation of and access to our governmental records.

The Archives and Patron Services section of the State Archives is tasked with ensuring that the permanent records of state government are preserved and accessible to the public. To meet this critical mandate, the section has developed several different programs that are administered by a group of extremely talented and committed archivists.

RaeRae Gifford has been with the State Archives since 2015, and currently serves as the administrator of the State Archives Outreach and Advocacy Program. In this role, Rae oversees the coordination of outreach efforts for our entire institution, including the planning of events such as Utah Archives Month (held annually in October). In addition to this important work, Rae also processes and preserves the records of government, and assists patrons in the Research Center.

CurtCurt Kelley has been with the State Archives since 2016. In his time at the State Archives Curt has spent time processing records and working on a variety of projects in the State Archives permanent repository. This includes conducting a complete inventory of
the repository space (containing over 47,000 individual items!), as well as overseeing a project that has resulted in over 1000 non-permanent boxes being identified and removed from the permanent collection (and returned to the State Records Center in Clearfield).

SusanSusan Mumford has been with the State Archives since 2006, and currently serves as the administrator of the State Archives Volunteer and Intern Program. In this role, Susan manages a program that actively recruits volunteers and interns who, in turn, provide invaluable assistance to our institution through their work on a wide variety of processing and indexing projects. Volunteers work with members of the Archives staff who mentor them on the professional duties and expectations that come with being an archivist. Many members of our staff are former volunteers or interns who “graduated” from the program!

GinaGina Strack has been with the State Archives since 2002 and currently serves as the administrator of the State Archives Digital Archives Program. In this role, Gina is responsible for the ongoing coordination and management of digitization projects that result in collections being put online. Thanks to her efforts, the State Archives now has over 1 million digital images available for 24/7 access. In addition to this important work, Gina serves on our Web Committee, which is tasked with maintaining the State Archives website. Gina also serves on committees tasked with continually improving the description and access to the wide variety of records held in the State Archives permanent collection.

RodRod Swaner has been with the State Archives since 2005 and currently performs a wide variety of tasks associated with the preservation of permanent government records held in the State Archives permanent collection. This includes processing paper records as well as assisting with digitization projects and initiatives. In addition to this important archival work, Rod also helps oversee the preservation of digital assets created and managed by the State Archives.

Thanks to the talents and commitment of these archivists, the State Archives is able to successfully meet its important role as steward of the permanent records repository for Utah government. Please join us throughout the week as we post additional blogs (both here and on our Records Keeper blog) celebrating the hard work and dedication of State Archives staff as part of Public Service Recognition Week.

PSRW_logo_300x134

Public Service Recognition Week

Governor Gary Herbert has declared May 7-13 to be “Public Service Recognition Week.” Here at the Utah State Archives and Records Service we wanted to honor the men and women who work diligently to assist Utah governmental agencies in the efficient management of their records, to preserve those records of enduring value, and to provide quality access to public information.

This week, we will have a number of blog posts highlighting our employees and their contributions to our institution’s mission.

We truly appreciate those that dedicate their lives to assisting our governmental agencies in the management and preservation of our history for the generations to come.

Patricia Smith-Mansfield

State Archivist/Director

                        Logo provided by publicservicerecognitionweek.org

 

Choose Privacy Week: The Archivist’s Perspective

Often in this day and age the public feels, sometimes rightly so, that their information is too readily available online. To help combat that fear, the American Library Association has created Choose Privacy Week, an “annual, week-long event that promotes the importance of individual privacy rights and celebrates libraries and librarians’’ unique role in protecting privacy in the library and in society as a whole.” [1] While archivists are not often working directly in the libraries, nor are we librarians, we do understand the similar role we play in preserving archival information and providing access to that  information to the public. We understand the importance of a user’s privacy. Our need to honor privacy while remaining transparent as we preserve governmental records can be a tricky balancing act.
We have invited two member of our Transparency Team (Nova Dubovik, the State Records Committee Executive Secretary, and Rosemary Cundiff, the GRAMA Ombudsman, to help explain the laws that we follow when providing access to information here in our Research Center.

 

The Archivist’s Perspective

By Nova Dubovik and Rosemary Cundiff

The Utah State Division of Archives and Records Service (“Archives”) staff members go to great lengths to protect the privacy rights of citizens by preventing unauthorized access and balancing that with government transparency.   

Alan Barnett, reference Archivist at Utah State Archives, expressed that “[m]aintaining both governmental transparency and individual privacy is key to preserving our democratic system.”  He references the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA), which is Utah’s records access law, and remarked on “the need for a balance between these two demands.”  Alan pointed out that, “the State Archives works to keep that balance between making government transparent to citizens, while protecting private information about individuals.”  

GRAMA provides the guidelines to determine the proper classification of records.  It is the basis for determining whether to restrict or not restrict access to a record based on the content of the information, and the context of the request. At the Archives, when a researcher requests material, to prevent the unintentional release of sensitive information, the staff reviews the holding classification and content.  If necessary, the information is segregated and redacted before granting access.  For the Archives a particularly relevant section of GRAMA is the section which states that restricted classification is not permanent, and that after 75 years a “records shall be presumed to be public.” (Utah Code Section 62G-2-310). This section of the GRAMA defines how privacy interests diminish over time. For example, a telephone number from a 50-year-old phone book would not have the same privacy concern as a current personal phone number.

Another interesting example of diminishing privacy over time is an Archives collection about the Castle Gate Relief Fund Committee. These records document the needs of families in the aftermath of the Castle Gate mining disaster, as well as amounts of relief funds provided to each family. When records relating to adults in this collection were requested in the past, they were restricted as private records, however, today they have become public records documenting Utah’s rich history. It is of note, that the records in this collection related to children will continue to remain private until the records are 100 years old to protect the children’s privacy. 

As indicated by Alan, there is a balance between preserving individual privacy and government transparency and documenting our history. The Archives is quintessential in balancing all to promote a democratic system for future citizens.  

 

Endnotes

[1] “Why Privacy?”,   American Library Association, accessed May 1, 2017, https://chooseprivacyweek.org/why-privacy/.