|SHRAB Minutes - June 11, 2008|
Nevada State Historical Records Advisory Board Meeting
Meeting called to order at 8:40am Mountain Time.
Information Item: Welcome and Introductions:
Board Members Absent:
Action Item: Approval of February 6, 2008 Meeting Minutes:
Information Item: SHRAB 2008 Operating Grant Update – Jeff Kintop:
Information Item: State Budget Reductions – Daphne DeLeon:
David Millman: The Division of Museums and History addressed the 1.68% reduction by taking half the money from the State Museums and the other half from the Historical Society budget (the Historical Society had to give up some microfilming projects). Also, advertising and publicity were cut and future cuts may prevent the museum from moving into their new home $50 million project though no official word has come out on the subject; this will also cause the loss of about ten positions, mostly security and administrative. Building construction is ahead of schedule and mothballing the project could cause some negative publicity for the department. The state could lose the Lorenzi Park building to the City of Las Vegas if it were to be left vacant so that could factor in to the decision about whether or not the move will happen.
Jacque Sundstrand: The Nevada Board of Regents is allowing each of the university campuses to decide how best to meet the reduction figure and the University of Nevada, Reno decided to proceed with the move into the new library building, as well as hiring for the twenty-two positions necessary for staffing, including eleven professional library-related jobs (nine library faculty, two administrative librarian, and ten classified). Other parts of the campus have been reorganized with projects absorbed into bigger centers/schools/colleges, but the new library building will be open on August 11th.
Peter Michel: The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has also been somewhat insulated from the first round of budget cuts and the campus library faced only a 2% cut, but the upcoming potential 14% cut is more worrisome. The University is absorbing most of the cuts by delaying building maintenance and using fewer part-time instructors. Declining enrollment is another troublesome factor for UNLV and the loss of part-time instructors could lead to a further decline and increased economic difficulty since funding is based on student numbers. The preservation librarian for special collections retired and her assistant (Michael Frasier) was transferred up into the lab to replace her, but this meant the loss of a faculty position.
Daphne DeLeon: NSLA gave up an electronic publications librarian position due to the potential for future funding cuts. The library can no longer hire students to fill positions that handle book shelving for them as well as shredding in records management. Also, the three positions that would have staffed the move to the Lorenzi Park building have also been lost.
Sabrina Mercadante: The City of Henderson is facing a change of staffing due to upcoming elections for mayor and two council members. The city’s general budget is doing okay; no cuts, but no funding increases, either. Henderson is faced with doing more work with the same amount of money, not less, so the archives is forced to compete with fire, police and public works for what little is available. The development side, which is on an enterprise fund, has seen a decrease in activity so they’re determining whether new positions need to be filled or whether large purchases should be made. A lot of contracted work is done on the development side so this doesn’t affect the regular employees. The building of a new city facility in West Henderson has been cut due to the economy, but the building of a new substation and some new parks are progressing.
Information Item: Statewide Digital Plan – Daphne DeLeon:
Idaho is moving forward with their digital archives by partnering with Washington State Archives and by being involved in the Library of Congress demonstration project that ends in January of 2010; the project wants to test the ability of Washington State’s infrastructure (hardware, software, and the knowledge available at their site in Cheney) so it can be leveraged out to other states as a cost-effective model. The Idaho representative is from the library side and deals with electronic publications. NSLA has been approached and has agreed to participate and the UNLV library will also partner with NSLA and will serve as a test site for online delivery. One of the interesting parts of this project is that a system is already working and each participant’s materials will be taken into that system and they will provide an online access point during the test period. A similar project out of Arizona is using different technology and is building from the bottom up. Nevada’s involvement will be a boon for the state in terms of determining what will be necessary in terms of staffing, knowledge and time, and the real costs associated with the project. The groups involved will come together after the end of the project in January of 2010 and will then determine whether the costs are worthwhile. Nevada will then be able to determine whether they can afford to be involved in the consortium based on the costs to ramp up to a point where our system can be created.
The Nevada Electronic Records Committee (NERC), a subcommittee of the State Records Committee, has been dissolved. A decision was made that forming a new group under Ms. DeLeon’s office would be more efficient since that office has the authority to promulgate rules and regulations regarding electronic records. A new Nevada Electronic Records Working Group is being created and Ms. DeLeon would like a representative of SHRAB to attend the monthly meetings and be engaged in reading standards and to think about how they might be applied to Nevada; the SHRAB member should serve as a representative for potential users since they have ties to entities other than the government that deal with digital issues. The new group should discuss projects, things that need to be addressed, whether PDF-A(?) is going to be examined and what it means, and also to have an online delivery point for people who want information on what Nevada is doing and who they should contact.
Information Item: Conference of State Archivists Disaster Planning and Recovery Workshops – IPER - Jeff Kintop:
Ms. DeLeon was discussing the inability of another state to get their emergency response group to appoint someone to attend the meeting. That state’s archives got permission for an archives staff member who knew disaster recovery to go in their place so the state would have their three attendees. In Nevada, the Archives staff member who knows the most about disaster recovery is Mr. Kintop and he’s already attending. Emergency management was contacted regarding the possibility of someone attending but no response has yet been received from them despite the fact that the cost of attending the summit will be covered by other sources. A discussion was held about who else might be approached about attending, including the possibility of a representative from southern Nevada, so the open position would not be lost to some other state that might want to send another attendee.
So far WESTPAS training has been well-attended, but registration for the Elko dates has been a slow so information has been sent out again. A request has been made for grant applications for a second round of training, but that doesn’t seem necessary so Ms. DeLeon wondered if it might be possible to pass up the funding and just send a letter of support indicating that the training was helpful in Nevada and that further training should be made available to larger states.
Mr. Kintop mentioned that the Pioche Courthouse had some problems with water damage to old records they had stored in the basement; contractors were hired to help with the recovery and Mr. Kintop sent an inventory that was created during a re-grant project fifteen years ago. The courts initially contacted Mr. Kintop about the possibility of having damaged records digitized and the court system was found to have some money that may be available to help them with that project. Mr. Smith requested that the SHRAB invite representatives of the insurance company that covers most local governments to a future meeting to learn more about how they handle the financial side of disaster recovery.
Information Item: Preservation of American Historical Records (PAHR) – Guy Rocha:
Mr. Rocha called for a break.
The meeting reconvened and action items were moved forward on the agenda due to Mr. Smith’s need to leave early.
Action Item: Review and make recommendations on Nevada Proposals submitted to NHPRC – Board Members:
The City of Las Vegas proposes digitization of 1,500 documents and a check of the veracity of the metadata, but they also mention project planning and the identification of the tools necessary to complete the project. NHPRC is looking for innovative projects to leverage what is already available so they won’t be willing to fund indexing, but they would approve of indexing being repurposed to improve access that already exists and the City of Las Vegas is proposing something that isn’t quite at that point yet. The Las Vegas proposal is unclear and the application seems to be a compilation of two combined grant requests so a clarification of the parameters of the records that they propose to digitize would be helpful. More background information should also be included. The grant announcement has bullet points that should serve as a guideline to help gauge the scope and success of the proposed project. As it stands, the application would not be competitive with others that will be submitted to NHPRC. Based on the evaluation form and discussion the SHRAB is not rejecting the idea outright, but requests that the City of Las Vegas make corrections before resubmitting the form.
Storey County’s grant proposal deals with the digitization of records that were microfilmed during the 1970s and 1980s so the information can be put online: deeds, marriages, burials, mine locations, powers of attorney, etc. This collection may contain some of the most-viewed records in the state and Storey County wants to take the next step to make the information more easily available to the public. Original copies of the microfilm have been reviewed and are stored in the vault at the State Archives. This application is more specific about the project, including the existence of a current index, but doesn’t address how the project will enhance access. The price quote also includes an explanation about this being a manual process with someone entering a keyword which is not a very innovative idea; a better way to handle the project might be to rescan the original documents and to have them re-indexed. This application also needs to address a more innovative idea than just digitizing documents to make them more easily available for public access.
Local agencies really need to contact the SHRAB to find out if they are approaching these grants in a proper manner instead of wasting valuable time creating proposals that will ultimately be unsuccessful. In future, entities might be invited to attend a SHRAB meeting to discuss their ideas before they get too far into the grant-writing process. A board member in the local area might be asked to make a one-on-one site visit to an agency interested in applying for a grant and the board member might then introduce the agency and their proposal to the board at large to help ease the process. In order to do this in an effective way, the SHRAB really needs the funding to hire a dedicated staff member instead of using the support of people who are already employed full-time.
The basic misunderstanding is between what the grantees want and what is considered to be innovative since they don’t have the expertise to know the difference. Professionals can be called in to help explain how to set up a project, but the grantee won’t always agree with their methods since they only know that they want to, for example, digitize all available records instead of ones that might have the most historic significance. The best way to handle these projects might be to have local agencies apply to the board for regrant monies that the SHRAB would receive from a national organization.
Action Item: Strategic plan review and update – review, discuss and action – Board Members:
History Day – Jeff Kintop: This is just an update, not an actual action item for this meeting. History Day is further along with an appropriation bill than PAHR and they’ve requested $5 million to fund National History Day. The money will be divided up between training programs and online resources. At least $50,000 will go to each state to provide infrastructure support and that money would allow Nevada to hire a part-time person to run the state History Day program. Nevada’s current infrastructure consists of a person from the Department of Education, Mr. Kintop, and two social studies coordinators – one each from Clark and Washoe Counties – and the Washoe County Historical Society serves as the fiscal agent due to limitations in funding certain things through State channels. Southern Nevada holds their own contest and Mr. Kintop is informed of the winners so prizes may be sent to them, but the public schools in Clark County seem less interested in the program than the private ones. The State Library has been home to History Day for a majority its existence though the State Museum has hosted a few times as well. This year’s event will probably be held at the Nevada State Library and Archives. Mr. Kintop will send out updates regarding the History Day bill as it becomes available. A planning meeting for History Day will be held on Monday, August 11th, and the Washoe County School District office and the southern Nevada person will be in attendance; SHRAB members are invited to attend.
Archives Month Activities and fund raiser – Subcommittee (Ms. Mercadante, Ms. Del Cohen, Ms. Harvey, Mr. Watson): A teleconference was held to discuss some events. The main focus was on the fund-raiser to be held at the Thunderbird Lodge in October 2008, proposed by Mr. Watson; 120 guests would be invited to view a collection of never-before-seen or displayed materials from around the state at the Lodge. Foundation 36 will donate the catering (food and drinks) and any money raised would be gifted to SHRAB for the preservation of Nevada Archives and documentary heritage. In order to put on the event, several committees need to be formed: the Foundation 36 dinner, funding, planning the event, generating and distributing invitations, and a treasures committee to identify items for display. Suggested items include fossils, Native American, rock art, territorial period pieces, 1840 to current (maybe two items from each decade), and state and local governments. Potential donors and attendees were discussed. The fund-raising committee could also be tasked with coming up with other event ideas; Mr. Watson suggested asking Fred Holabird to donate vintage Nevada mining stock certificates to sell at the auction to raise funds, and the committee could also submit grant proposals to E.L. Cord and other Nevada foundations to help underwrite the cost of attendance for government employees, archivists and other professionals and local dignitaries for whom the price of admission would be burdensome since the admission suggested by Mr. Watson was $500 per person (or per couple). Public relations will be needed to generate press releases, request and publish a Governor’s proclamation, and to post information on a web site. Once the event is over, the exhibit might be shown to the general public – once in the south and once in the north. Archives Month should still include other things such as the Nevada treasure map and trivia to raise awareness as well as the potential 36 treasures event.
NRS 378A states that the SHRAB may accept monetary gifts and grants and that the board has the authority to establish a fund for the preservation of historical records; money from any source may be deposited into that account, but must be used specifically for historic records preservation. Raising funds will allow for regrant opportunities and can also be used as matching funds for outside grant opportunities. The SHRAB needs to decide if they want to proceed with the event, the actual ticket cost, and whether the Governor should be asked to chair the event. Another teleconference could be held to determine exact details.
Mr. Smith left the meeting.
Mr. Michel and Mr. Millman agreed to serve as a subcommittee for the setup of an exhibit in Southern Nevada. The remaining members of the SHRAB aired various reservations about the potential success of this event and Ms. DeLeon stated her view that, considering the level of support from Mr. Watson and the Thunderbird Lodge, this is a one-time opportunity to test whether the idea will work out. SHRAB members requested that Mr. Watson provide a list of 200 potential invitees, as well as clarification of details and who will be called upon to carry out the various duties. Mr. Rocha asked Mr. Kintop to make those requests of Mr. Watson.
Gap in tape.
Information Item: Reports from Members – Other: