Electronic Records Day

October 10, 2014 Leave a comment

October 10 is Electronic Records Day and this year the Utah State Archives is featuring several projects from archival institutions that are advancing the preservation and management of electronic records.

The North Carolina State Archives has been capturing web content since 2004. However, in 2012 they expanded into the realm of social media. In a partnership with ArchiveSocial, North Carolina State Archives is developing a searchable database of social media content created by state agencies. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube videos produced by North Carolina government agencies are available for public access. Although the searching function is still in beta testing, it is worth taking the time to explore their social media archive.

The State Library of Virginia is publishing the email of the 70th governor Timothy M. Kaine 2006-2010. Although the library is still processing the 167 gigabytes containing 1.3 million emails, they are being in batches for public access. All of the emails are searchable by text and organized by mailbox owner. The library’s goal is to create an experience where the user can assume the role of one of Kaine’s administrative officials and “approximate what they saw when they logged into their email accounts.”

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission(TSLAC) recently completed a project in which 26,000 audio tapes of Texas State Senate hearings from 1972-2006 were digitized and placed online for public access. These tapes were often the only record copy of the meetings and as such, reference use and duplication requests were frequent. Furthermore, regular patron usage and age deterioration threatened the future access and preservation efforts. Fortunately, an LSTA grant provided TSLAC with the resources to digitize the audio cassettes. The project resulted in a high quality record copy with easily reproducible copies for research use.

The Utah State Archives is integrating the locally developed new M-Disc in some of its electronic records projects. Unlike Compact Discs that use an organic polycarbonate layer, the M-Discs have an inorganic mineral composite layer on which to record information. Since they can last up to 1000 years, the M-Disc is an excellent medium for long term electronic records storage. Utah State Archives has begun to replace aging diazo microfilm with M-Disc copies as well as storing master images for projects in the digital archives. Furthermore, by storing those master images on M-Disc rather than a server, the archives is saving IT money and resources for other projects. Since adopting them, Utah State Archives has created over 700 M-Discs for record and reference copies for electronic records as well as storing master images.

A year ago, we here at Utah State Archives did an experiment. Could we store electronic records on microfilm? You may well ask how an electronic record could be stored on microfilm and still keep all of its digital attributes. The answer lies in the QR code. Yes, that same little black and white square symbol you can scan with your phone also contains digital information, and the symbol can be microfilmed. Our experiment was to transform an electronic data file into a QR Code, convert that QR Code to an analog storage medium such as microfilm, and then scan it back into an electronic format without losing data integrity.

We began by turning an electronic record into a binary file, uploading it to our server, and calculating its checksum. Then, we had our software convert the binary file to base64, which is a long string of alphanumeric characters. Once the file was in base64, we could chop that single data string into smaller strings and produce a QR code from each of the smaller string. Since the amount of data a QR code can hold is finite, a series of QR codes were needed to hold all the strings together. Once those strings were in a series of QR Codes, our software wrote the codes a PDF document, which was then microfilmed without being printed. After microfilming, we took the finished roll and scanned the frames to convert the QR codes back into digital form again. Since nine QR codes were captured per frame, the resulting image required some editing to make each QR code individually recognizable. Subsequently, we uploaded the QR codes back to our server and concatenated all the Base64 data strings contained within each QR Code back into one base64 string. This base64 string was then converted back into binary form. Finally we ran a checksum to ensure file integrity had not been compromised from all the data manipulation.

The experiment was both a success and a failure. We were able to create QR codes from binary data and transfer them to a PDF file. We were also able to extract data from QR code images and transform it back to binary. However, the project failed in the microfilming process. Our equipment was unable to film the QR codes with clearly defined edges, resulting in the inability to extract data from individual codes. The problem lay with how many QR codes per frame we were trying to microfilm and the inability of the filming equipment to zoom in on certain sections of the PDF document. We did not try to microfilm only a single QR code per frame, although that would likely have eliminated the fuzzy-edge problem. Although many were involved, Elizabeth Perkes was the mastermind behind our experiment.


Categories: Records Management

Electronic Records Conference Materials

October 3, 2014 1 comment

Thank you to everyone who attended the Electronic Records Conference. We had a great turnout and fantastic presenters! Thank you to Terry, Howard, Ron and Amy for sharing their experiences and expertise with us! You can now view the slides as well as Terry’s Technical Bulletin  on our website at: http://archives.utah.gov/recordsmanagement/training.html

Spotlight on Records Officers

October 2, 2014 3 comments



Jerrianne Kolby (left) and Anna Boynton (right) share feedback received from program directors in the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management.


Good work Jerrianne and Anna! We salute you.

Categories: Records Management

User Testing Slots Are Filled

October 1, 2014 Leave a comment

We had a great response to our request for volunteers for user testing! Our slots are now filled, so we are no longer accepting volunteers. We will be doing another round of user testing later this year.

Thank you, everyone, for your interest!

Categories: Records Management

New Employees

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

The Utah State Archives is pleased to welcome two new employees.  Cameron Mansen is the new local government records analyst and Nova Dubovik is the new administrator of the Open Records Website Administrator and executive secretary for the State Records Committee.

Nova Dubovik grew up in Wisconsin and has recently settled in Utah, with her family, after retiring with 23 years of active duty military service.  She has been stationed in Louisiana, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Virginia, Utah, Italy and back to Utah.   She ended her career as the Air Force Advanced Composite Office liaison to the field and commercial entities.  She holds degrees from the Community College of the Air Force and Wayland Baptist University and will graduate with her Masters in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University in December. As a new member of the Utah State Archives, Nova is the Open Records Website Administrator and State Records Committee executive secretary. 

Nova was hired to be part of the Transparency Website team that is building the infrastructure for the new Open Records Website, which is under development.  This website is being designed to provide the public with a one-stop shop to request access to public records using the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). Her responsibility, as the Open Records Website Administrator, is to ensure that the public can easily obtain both the appropriate information and forms. In addition to being the Open Records Website Administrator, Nova provides staff support to the State Records Committee (SRC) as the executive secretary. 

            Cameron Mansen grew up in Utah.  After graduating from high school, Cameron attended the University of Utah where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies with a Latin major.  While studying at the U, he worked for Salt Lake County Library Services as a shelver and clerk in the Holladay branch.   In 2011 he left Utah to pursue a Masters of Library and Information Science degree at Kent State University in Ohio where he found his passion for archives.  After returning to Utah, Cameron interned at the Division of State History, next door to State Archives in the Rio Grande building. He, with several other interns and staff members, inventoried and re-housed the Division’s artifacts collection which, has over 24,000 objects.  His final task, before coming to the Archives, was to help create the exhibit on Utah and Technology currently on display, which everyone should take time to visit.

            Here at the State Archives, Cameron is the new local government records analyst.  He works with local agencies understand the function and content of their records as well as help them to identify an appropriate retention schedule for them.   Cameron also assists local agencies in transferring records to the Archives and the records center.  Cameron supports local records officers by offering in-agency training, telephone and email consultation, as well as visits. Finally, Cameron will continue to foster healthy working relationships between State Archives and local agencies and help to identify and maintain contact information of chief administrative officers and appointed records officers

Cameron Mansen
State Archives Records Analyst
346 South Rio Grande St.
Salt Lake City UT 84101

Categories: Records Management

Volunteers Needed for User Testing

September 25, 2014 5 comments
The new Open Records Portal is coming, and we’re looking for a few people to try it out! The Open Records Portal is a central site from which a user may submit a records request (GRAMA request) to a governmental entity. The site is going live January 1st for executive state agencies; local governmental agencies will be implemented in the upcoming years.

We’ll be conducting tests here at the Archives on Friday, October 3, from noon to 1 pm and from 3–4 pm. If you are interested in helping us out, please let us know by replying to this post, or by emailing openrecordsportal@utah.gov

Testers will be compensated for their time with a delicious box lunch from Jimmy John’s.

Update: The user testing is one-on-one, and no qualifications are needed. We will be recording the computer screen and also the sound, but that’s it. We will introduce you to the website, give you a few tasks to do (one at a time), and watch how you do them. The purpose is for us to see how our website design and functionality needs to be altered to make the site more usable and useful to the average user. I estimate each session will last approximately 10-15 minutes.
Categories: Records Management

New GRAMA Forms Online

September 10, 2014 Leave a comment

We have forms online that agencies can use for GRAMA requests and responses. The newly-updated forms can be found at: http://archives.utah.gov/recordsmanagement/forms/forms-grama.html

What’s new about the forms:

  • Updated wording to better reflect the text of the law;
  • Added headers to indicate where the document came from (“Office of the Government Records Ombudsman”, plus a URL to the ombudsman webpage);
  • Added footers to indicate which form it is, as well as page numbers; plus
  • Every form now contains a field for the date.

If you click on a link to a form and don’t see the new form, try reloading the page, or clear the cache in your browser and try again.


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