Tag: digital

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.

Preservation

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).

1909 Birth Certificates Available in Online Name Index

Manfred Martin Murray, born March 29, 1909.

Birth certificates issued by the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics in 1909 are now online and freely available to the public. The searchable index and digital images may be accessed from the Utah Birth Certificate Index. As all birth certificates at least 100 years old are public, browse 1910-1915 online.

In addition to identity and proof of citizenship, the registration of births assists with monitoring public health issues and the programs created to alleviate them. The original permanent records were transferred from Vital Records to the Utah State Archives and Records Service in 2006, prompted by the Inspection of Vital Records Act passed in 1998 making historical records public. The name index is a collaborative effort of the staff of Vital Records,  volunteers and staff of the State Archives, and includes the child’s full name, parents’ full names, date of birth, sex and county.

The Utah State Digital Archives provides over a million images of historical records online and free to the public, including death certificates from 1904-1961. With worldwide online access, patrons have the ability to do research from anywhere while the State Archives efficiently fulfills its mission “to provide quality access to public information.”

1907 Birth Certificates Available in Online Name Index

Birth CertificatesBirth certificates issued by the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics in 1907 are now online and freely available to the public. The searchable index and digital images may be accessed from archives.utah.gov/research/indexes/81443.htm.

In addition to identity and proof of citizenship, the registration of births assists with monitoring public health issues and the programs created to alleviate them. The original permanent records were transferred from Vital Records to the Utah State Archives and Records Service in 2006, prompted by the Inspection of Vital Records Act passed in 1998 making historical records public. The name index is a collaborative effort of the staff of Vital Records,  volunteers and staff of the State Archives, and includes the child’s full name, parents’ full names, date of birth, sex and county. FamilySearch captured digital images of the original paper records.

The Utah State Digital Archives provides over a million images of historical records online and free to the public, including death certificates from 1904-1961. With worldwide online access, patrons have the ability to do research from anywhere while the State Archives efficiently fulfills its mission “to provide quality access to public information.”

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

1906 Birth Certificates Available in Online Name Index

Birth CertificatesBirth certificates issued by the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics in 1905 are now online and freely available to the public. The searchable index and digital images may be accessed from archives.utah.gov/research/indexes/81443.htm.

In addition to identity and proof of citizenship, the registration of births assists with monitoring public health issues and the programs created to alleviate them. The original permanent records were transferred from Vital Records to the Utah State Archives and Records Service in 2006, prompted by the Inspection of Vital Records Act passed in 1998 making historical records public. The name index is a collaborative effort of the staff of Vital Records,  volunteers and staff of the State Archives, and includes the child’s full name, parents’ full names, date of birth, sex and county. FamilySearch captured digital images of the original paper records.

The Utah State Digital Archives provides close to a million images of historical records online and free to the public, including death certificates from 1904-1961. With worldwide online access, patrons have the ability to do research from anywhere while the State Archives efficiently fulfills its mission “to provide quality access to public information.”

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through family history centers in 132 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

21st Amendment Ratification Records Online

Did you know that Utah was the state that fulfilled the constitutional requirement to ratify the 21st amendment to end prohibition? This amendment is also the only one thus far ratified by state conventions rather than state legislatures [Wikipedia]. The records of the Convention to Ratify the 21st Amendment for Utah are now online.

The 72nd Congress of the United States proposed the 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution, repealing the 18th amendment and once again legalizing the manufacture and use of liquor. On October 10, 1933, Governor Henry H. Blood called for the election of delegates to a constitutional convention for the purpose of ratifying or rejecting the 21st amendment. The election was held on November 7, and the elected delegates met December 5. The amendment became effective with the ratification of 36 states; Utah was the 36th state to ratify. These records document the activities of the convention.

Convention to Ratify the 21st Amendment (1933)

Governor Huntsman Press Releases Online

This series contains press releases and media advisories from the office of Governor Jon Huntsman given to media sources to publicize the governor’s activities and opinions. The records contain information on the appointment of judges and state officials, announcements of new businesses in Utah, legislative announcements and official decrees recognizing and celebrating significant individuals and events.

The documents online are searchable by keyword.

Dept. of Transportation Photograph Index Online

The Community Relations Office of the Department of Transportation created an index to their official photographs. The office assigned a job number to each set of photographs taken or adopted by the office as official photographs. The job number provides access to all photographic material in the official photographs collection. Job numbers include a three-part number series. For each job number the index minimally identifies the subject of the photos and the date or dates on which they were taken.

The photographs that indexed here number in the hundreds of thousands–a true treasure unexpectedly found within government records. Find an interesting job in the index? Visit the Research Center to access the photographs from some of these series:

Earliest Utah Birth Certificates Free Online

Birth certificates issued by the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics beginning in 1905 are now online and freely available to the public. The searchable index and digital images created in partnership with FamilySearch may be accessed from archives.utah.gov/research/indexes/81443.htm.

In addition to identity and proof of citizenship, the registration of births assists with monitoring public health issues and the programs created to alleviate them. The original permanent records were transferred from Vital Records to the Utah State Archives and Records Service in 2006, prompted by the Inspection of Vital Records Act passed in 1998 making historical records public. The name index is a collaborative effort of the staff of Vital Records and volunteers and staff of the State Archives, and includes the child’s full name, parents’ full names, and date of birth, sex and county. FamilySearch captured digital images of the original paper records and plans to publish both the images and index at FamilySearch.org. Subsequent years of historical certificates are currently being indexed, and in the meantime may be accessed in the Research Center of the Utah State Archives and Utah State History.

“Many stories emerge from these births registered over a century ago,” says Gina Strack, an archivist with the Utah State Archives. “A couple originally from Japan, for example, registered the birth of not only their son in 1905 (though born in early 1904), but also a set of twins just born. According to death certificates also online however, the twins would both die within the year.” (More about this story)

The Utah State Digital Archives provides over half a million images of historical records online and free to the public, including death certificates from 1904-1959. With worldwide online access, patrons have the ability to do research from anywhere while the State Archives efficiently fulfills its mission “to provide quality access to public information.”

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Indian War Service Affidavits Online

The Indian War Service Affidavits from the Commissioner of Indian War Records is now online. In 1909 the legislature passed a law creating a Board of Commissioners of Indian War Records. Their duties were to ascertain the names of the persons who were members of any organization performing military duties during Indian wars or expeditions against the Indians during territorial years. Veterans completed affidavits of service; two witnesses also completed affidavits supporting the facts. The affidavits were then filed in the office of the chairman of the board, the Adjutant General of the State.

The soldier’s affidavit consists of a preprinted form with blanks for the name of the county in which he was making his oath, the individual’s name, his residence, length of residence, age, date of enrollment, type of company (infantry, cavalry, etc.), his captain, residence at the time, age at the time, length of service, transfer dates and type of company served in following transfer with its captain’s name up to the final organization served with, and date of release. Then there is space for the description of duties and engagements participated in while in each company. The witnesses are named and an oath taken that the information provided was accurate. If the soldier was deceased, the widow or a child could complete a similar affidavit. The accompanying two witness affidavits reiterated the information with an oath that in the belief of the witnesses, the service rendered by the soldier was “honest and faithful.”

FamilySearch created digital images from the original paper records and Utah State Archives staff Rod Swaner matched the images to an existing name index.

Related records (not online):