Butch Cassidy Indicted

digital_crime-butchAs a preview to a brand new online collection called “Crime in Utah,” the grand jury indictment of the notorious Butch Cassidy from 1897 is now online. He and several others were accused of robbing the payroll from the Pleasant Valley Coal Company in Castle Gate, Utah.

The case file is from the Seventh District Court for Carbon County.

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.


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.  



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




MayDay, MayDay!

Every year on May 1st, the Society of American Archivists focuses on how institutions can plan to preserve their collections in the event of an emergency. This year, the Utah State Archives and Records Service was able to participate in this nationwide campaign in a variety of ways.

On April 20, 2017, Archives Staff participated in Utah’s annual earthquake drill (Great Utah ShakeOut) and reevaluated our red “go bags.” During the drill, staff huddled under desks and tables until the “shaking” stopped. We then quickly and efficiently moved to our designated safe location until it was deemed safe to return to work. Staff were asked to determine the successes and failures of the drill to be discussed at a later time.

For our actual MayDay events this morning, staff gathered for a large re-appraisal project.

One of the core concepts of collection survival is to ensure that records are identified and maintained according to their appraised value. This allows for records to be destroyed or preserved in accordance with their approved retention schedules. As part of a larger cleanup and inventory project, a number of boxes were identified in our permanent repository that had been marked for destruction. Yet, some of the boxes appeared to have intrinsic historic value. These boxes needed to be reviewed and reappraised to determine if the records should be destroyed according to their retention schedules, or if the retention schedule should updated to allow the records to be incorporated into the permanent repository collection and maintained. As the old adage states, many hands make light work. In a few short hours we were able to correctly appraise all of the record series, many of which were slated for permanent preservation.

With the re-appraisal project finished, the staff gathered in the afternoon to discuss disaster preparedness and recovery. A video discussing the 2011 and 2016 earthquakes in New Zealand was introduced to open a discussion about planning for our response to such an event here in Utah. (The Wasatch Fault here in the state is an active fault that could cause serious damage).

The discussion also included a followup to our Great Utah ShakeOut drills and how we can improve our policies to better protect our staff and the records in our care.

As our preservationist, Alan Barnett, mentioned last week, preserving the records of Utah’s government for future generations is a core part of our job. A key component of that preservation is to ensure that the records will survive in the event of a disaster. Each year MayDay allows us to set aside some time to plan and prepare for the worst case scenario. This ensures that those future generations will have the records they need to understand our present and past.

Personal Digital Archiving

Photo by Open Minder / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / https://flic.kr/p/cB6m9J

As part of Preservation Week, we wanted to share information on how you can preserve one of the more difficult forms of records both for institutions like the Utah State Archives and in our personal lives: digital and electronic.

Why Digital is Special

Paper is one of the more stable forms on which people have recorded information throughout history, using it to “…make our laws, conduct our business, correspond with our loved ones, decorate our walls, and establish our identities.” 1 And then came the Digital Revolution. Advances in electronics, devices, and communication have radically changed how we save and record information. While the new abilities are amazing and useful, they also introduce new problems for the long-term.

Digital formats (word processing documents, spreadsheets, web pages, texts) and media (hard drives, thumb drives, CDs, the “cloud”) are surprisingly fragile in their own ways. Documents become corrupt or get left behind in software upgrades, hard drives have a terrible habit of failing without warning, and anything portable can be easily lost. Also, with the extension in capacity comes that many more items to manage and preserve.

Selection and Organization

Do we just save everything just in case? Unfortunately this is a poor method of having anything valuable survive into the future. There are costs associated with storing more than you need, from the payment to a cloud service based on size to the increased failure of some of the largest hard drives. 2 These costs may drive short-term decisions in the wrong direction with terrible results. It will take time, but out of the many files created in a digital life, only some should be selected for caretaking. These might include:

  • family photographs
  • email
  • important documents and vital records
  • financial information
  • genealogy
  • audio and video recordings

Any organization system will work as long as you use it. Key points include using enough details for someone else to understand (who is “Aunt May”?) and using filenames to sort for you. For example, use the most important detail at the beginning, if it’s the date lead a filename with YYYYMMDD to stay in chronological order.

Clutter can thrive just as well on your computer as in the hall closet. Schedule a regular time to go through files, whether when you add them–as in downloading photographs from your phone, or a time of year like tax season. 3 Even if your “backlog” is large, you can start good habits now to keep it from growing in the meantime. Unlike that back of the closet, forgetting about digital files means they may disappear long before you get around to it again, so aim for yearly check-ups at the very least.


Learn more about Preservation Week April 23-29, 2017

There is no single method for digital preservation, it’s a complex issue that is being tackled by archives and library professionals around the world. A few things to get you started:

  1. Diversity your storage – much like your investment portfolio it’s a good idea to use different media and locations for storage. Spread your files around by function, form, or what works best for you. 4
  2. Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe (LOCKSS) – used by libraries to plan multiple copies in multiple locations to guard against media failure and even natural disasters. 5 Depending on how you set it up, a computer backup may be a good duplicate copy, but don’t rely on automation you don’t fully understand.
  3. The “3-2-1” rule – an easy to remember way to figure out your copies and storage solutions. 6
    • Make 3 copies
    • Save at least 2 copies on different types of media
    • Save 1 in a location different from where you live or work

Preserving your digital life may be hard, but it’s not impossible. Understanding the risks and taking a few starting steps will go a long way toward being able to have photographs, letters (email), video, and more for the next generation.

Additional Resources

[1] Nicholas Basbanes, On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History (New York: Vintage Books, 2013), xii.
[2] Backblaze, “Annualized Hard Drive Failure Rates,” https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-failure-rates-q2-2016/ (accessed April 27, 2017).
[3] Smithsonian Institute Archives, “Clean Sweep in the New Year: Organizing Digital Photos,” https://siarchives.si.edu/blog/clean-sweep-new-year-organizing-digital-photos (accessed April 27, 2017).
[4] Library of Congress, “Why Digital Preservation is Important for You,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWkPufGDA6o (accessed April 27, 2017).
[5] LOCKSS, “Preservation Principles,” https://www.lockss.org/about/principles/ (accessed April 27, 2017).
[6] Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflows, “Backup Overview,” American Society of Media Photographers, http://www.dpbestflow.org/backup/backup-overview (accessed April 27, 2017).

Preserving Your Historical Family Records

SLC Fire Department photos, Series 23526


This week has been designated as Preservation Week by the American Library Association. This designation is a chance to highlight the importance of preserving items worthy of passing on to future generations. These items are held in thousands of museums, libraries and archival institutions, as well as in many family collections.

Here at the State Archives it is a core part of our job to preserve the records of government in Utah for the future. While we work with a large and diverse collection of government records, the basic principles of preserving these historical records are the same as those for preserving the historic family records you may have. The key to preserving any historic records is recognizing the threats that may damage or destroy them, and taking steps to reduce the risk from those threats. The major threats to our historical records include water, heat, light, dirt, pests, and handling. Here are a few tips to help preserve your priceless family documents:

  1. Gather all your historic family photos and documents together, organize them, and make an inventory. Many family records are lost simply because we don’t keep track of what we have.
  2. Put your family records in protective enclosures. Acid free archival boxes and folders are ideal for this. These enclosures can provide protection from water, dirt, and light and keep things from getting scattered.
  3. Store your records in a climate controlled space. Wide swings in temperature and humidity will damage materials over time. Don’t store records in a shed or in the attic where temperatures can reach extremes. Avoid storing items under water pipes and if you store them in the basement, keep them at least six inches off the floor, in case of flooding.
  4. Don’t wear out your priceless family heirlooms with use. Make sure your hands are clean when you handle them. Wear cotton or nitrile gloves to handle photographs. Make copies of things for hanging on the wall or for regular use. Don’t paste originals in scrapbooks or albums. Keep the original pristine for future generations. If you want to save your grandmother’s cookbook, copy the information and quit using the original. Digitize items to distribute copies among the family. Put the original away where it won’t get handled to death.
  5. If you are worried about your ability to properly care for your family records or don’t have someone to pass them on to who will care for them, consider donating them to a professional institution where they can be preserved and available for the entire extended family for years to come. There are a variety of institutions throughout Utah that can be repositories to preserve your historic records. The  Utah Manuscripts Association provides a list of most of the major archives in Utah.

By taking steps to protect the records that tell the story of our families, we can insure that the family legacy we have collected will live on to tell that story to future generations.

For more information on Preservation Week and additional information on preserving your family heirlooms go to http://www.ala.org/alcts/preservationweek/resources .