Author Archive

We’re Back!

The Records Center (RC) completed its relocation to the new Freeport Center location in Clearfield. Effective Wednesday, March 28, 2012 the RC will begin accepting records retrieval requests and records transfer requests. The process for requesting and transferring records remains the same. You can view an informative training video on how to transfer records to the RC on the Archives’ website.

The Records Center’s new telephone number is: (801) 525-3045; and our new fax number is: (801) 825-3293.

The Records Center’s mailing address has not changed. It is:

Utah State Records Center

PO Box 141029

Salt Lake City, UT 84114-1029

The new street address is:

Utah State Records Center

Building C-6

5th St &C St

Clearfield, Utah

Thank you for your patience and understanding during the transition. Our staff looks forward to working with you and continuing to provide quality records management and offsite storage services.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last Week to Register for RIMM 2012

Registration for the Utah State Archives Electronic Records Management Conference will be closing Friday, March 23th. The conference will be held on April 26th, 2012 at the State Office Building Auditorium at the Utah State Capitol Campus.

For registration and more information please see the 2012 RIMM Event tab on this blog. The conference will focus on electronic records with presentations on discovery, technological judgement, information governance, and manage in place solutions.

In January we announced two session speakers, Kenneth Thibodeau and Philip Favro. We are pleased to announce our afternoon keynote, Tad C. Howington.

Tad Howington has nearly 30 years of experience in various aspects of records and information management. He has managed and directed enterprise-wide records and information management programs at LCRA and ERCOT in Austin, Tarrant County in Fort Worth, and most recently at Center Point Energy in Houston.

Tad received his Bachelor of Arts (BA) in History/English from the University of New Mexico. He also holds a Master of Arts (MA) in History/Archival Administration from the University of Texas and a Master of Library and Information Sciences (MLS) from the University of North Texas. He is both a Certified Records Manager and a Certified Archivist.

A member of ARMA for 25+ years, Tad has served in numerous leadership positions on the Local, Regional and International levels. Highlights of his local ARMA involvement include two terms as President of the Fort Worth Chapter and seven years on the Austin Chapter Board of Directors where he served at various times as Chairman of the Program and Seminar Committees and Editor of the Chapter’s newsletter. He is currently the Executive Vice President of the Houston Chapter.

Throughout his ARMA experience Tad has had the opportunity to serve on various International Committees, including Standards and Development, Membership, Strategic Planning and Finance. He served three years as the Southwest Region’s Director, representing the region on ARMA International’s Board of Directors. From 1999-2000, Tad served with distinction as President of ARMA International.

Tad received ARMA International’s Distinguished Service Award in 2001 and was inducted into ARMA’s Company of Fellows in 2002 for his continued service to both the Association and to the profession of records and information management.

Tad has taught records and information management courses at Dallas County Community College, Austin Community College and in the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences at the University of North Texas. He has also served as an Adjunct Instructor of Records Management in the Graduate School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition he has conducted over 90 seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand.

Register today!

Utah State Records Center Move Update

The Utah State Records Center (RC) is still in the process of moving. On February 6th movers began to transfer boxes from the current Decker Lake records center location in West Valley City to the new location in Clearfield. Although this was not the start of the move, as planning and box preparation began previously, this date represents the moment that boxes actually began to move up the I-15 corridor to their new home at the Freeport Center in Clearfield. The center currently warehouses 115,440 boxes of records from local, county, and state agencies. 5,200 boxes, or approximately 4.5 percent of the RC’s total holdings, are being moved daily. At this rate all of the records contained in the RC will have been relocated to the new facility in March. The next step in the move process will be scanning the bar code label on each box and associating it with a specific shelf in the center so that the box can later be located and retrieved. The RC will begin to respond to and pull requested boxes and accept deliveries once all the boxes are scanned and assigned a box location number in the new facility. The Utah State Archives and Records Service expects that date to be on or before April 1st — and that is no joke.

The Archives will be hosting an open house of the new facility in June. Watch the blog for more details about the open house and tours of this normally closed facility.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Why Effective Records Management Matters in a Democracy

Typically, the justification for a records management (RM) program is tied to cost cutting, efficiency, and managing risk. While certainly important pieces of records management, for government records managers there is an additional and significant reason for a RM program. 

Government archivists and records managers typically are guided by mission statements that focus on preserving and documenting government institutions. One of three elements of the Utah State Archives and Records Service mission is to preserve records of enduring value. The National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) mission statement states that one of its goals is “safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government” so that citizens have access to the records that document their rights. These missions are partly outward facing and concerned with providing sufficient evidence of government actions so that citizens can access and understand the decisions of government officials. Records document actions taken by the government. Keeping records in democratic governments matters because the government must be accountable to its citizens. Records are neutral; they can be used in a variety of ways — Some positive, and some negative. For example, the records collected in Paraguay’s Archives of Terror demonstrate that the same set of records might be used to oppress or, ultimately, to seek justice and reconciliation.   

According to NARA 1-3 percent of the records created by federal agencies have long-term legal or historical value. The Utah State Archives estimates that approximately 5 percent of the records created by state, county, and municipal agencies are retained permanently as part of the state’s historical record. It is the responsibility of government records managers to create and follow retention schedules that will determine how long records are kept. As retention schedules are applied records managers sift through and reduce a government’s records, leaving behind the materials that will become the entity’s documentary heritage. Records managers are actively involved in ensuring that records that need to be kept are kept, while those that need to be destroyed are destroyed. By reducing the records static – those records that have temporary value – records managers help clarify and focus the historic record that remains. This is not a task to be taken lightly, and it is one that cannot be avoided as each decision to keep or destroy a record represents a privileging of the stories that can be told from that record.  

Verne Harris argues that all records are essentially tied up in storytelling. He writes, “Telling stories of our past is a quintessentially human activity. Story is crucial to our construction of meaning and is carried by our dream of the impossible. Without story we are without soul.”[1] As records managers we are a part of the records making process. We have a role to play in shaping the story that will be told about the institutions we serve and, in the end, about ourselves.

[1] Verne Harris, “Postmodernism and Archival Appraisal: Seven Theses,” in Archives and Justice: A South African Perspective (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2007), 102.

Utah State Archives RIMM 2012 Records Management Conference

The Archives is pleased to announce its morning keynote speaker for the Utah State Archives Electronic Records Management Conference 2012 will be Kenneth Thibodeau.

Ken Thibodeau is a records and information management professional recognized around the world as a leading expert on electronic records and digital preservation. He has spoken at more than 150 conferences, published over 30 articles and chapters, appeared on televison, documentary film, and radio, and lectured at universities in the U.S., Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Hungary. In three decades in the federal government, as records officer of the National Institutes of Health he produced the first comprehensive records retention schedule for this, the largest biomedical research institution in the world; as Director of the Center for Electronic Records at the National Archives, he lead the modernization of NARA’s processes for electronic records, leading to over 100% improvements in productivity and in the quantity of electronic records preserved in the National Archives; as Director of the Department of Defense’s Records Management Task Force, he led the updating of DoD’s records management policy to address electronic records and led the development of the DoD 5015.2 Standard for records management software; as Director of NARA’s Electronic Records Archives Program, he initiated and led the development of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) system. Among other things, the ERA system enabled NARA to successfully ingest — in 8 months — some 300,000,000 electronic records from the George W. Bush White House, identifying 65,000,000 problems with those records and resolving more than 99% of them, and enabling archivists to respond to pressing requests for access from the Congress, the courts, and the current and former Presidents.

His accomplishments have been recognized in numerous awards, including the Emmett Leahy Award, the Archivist of the United States’ Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Society of American Archivists’ Fellow. Ken retired from the National Archives in 2011, but remains active professionally, including serving as senior guest scientist in the Information Technology Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he is engaged in research on the preservation of digital multimedia and electronic health records.[1]

Kenneth will be exploring the topic of technological judgment. The conference will be held April 26th, 2012 in the auditorium of the Utah State Capitol Office Building. Seating is limited, so be sure to register soon.

[1] Provided by speaker.

Keeping Everything? Applying General Retention Schedules

Utah has general retention schedules designed to assist governmental agencies in managing their records. These schedules provide a description of the records, a suggested GRAMA classification (public, private, protected, controlled, or exempt), a length of time that they must be kept (retention), and a final disposition for the records. The disposition of records falls into two categories: 1) destroy the records, or 2) maintain them permanently, which might include sending them to the Utah State Archives and Records Service. The challenge of applying these schedules comes when it is time to assess an entity’s records and then, ultimately, decide what to do with them.

One question when managing records is: how many copies of a record does an agency need to keep? The Utah Public Records Mangement Act only addresses one record copy. This law does not specify a format. So, unless specified in another statute the record copy can be electronic, on microfilm, paper, a video cassette, compact disc, or etched into stone. The key is that one copy is designated as the record copy, and then managed according to the State Records Committee (SRC) approved retention schedules.

There are good reasons to keep duplicate copies. One reason is as a backup to protect against loss of the record copy. Essential records may need to be protected by layers of redundancy. Another reason is to provide easier or wider access. Sometimes several governmental entities use and share the same records. Duplicate copies should be purposefully created and managed, even though they are not required to be kept according to a state schedule. Duplicate copies can be kept for as long as an agency decides and can be disposed of once their administrative need ends.

Once the record copy has met its retention it should be disposed of according to the approved schedule, unless there is an identifiable reason to keep it. This means that even duplicate copies ought to be destroyed if the disposition of the record copy is “destroy”. If a record copy has met its retention and has been destroyed, but duplicate copies still exist, an agency is still responsible for the duplicate copies. Duplicate copies are discoverable if litigation should occur even if the record copy no longer exists. Duplicate copies take up space, may increase an agency’s risk, and unless they are well managed, may ultimately make it harder to locate records that are needed.

Another question that ties to records disposition is: does an agency need to keep copies of records created by another agency? For example, the Archives might send another agency a copy of the SRC’s meeting minutes for reference. The retention period for meeting minutes is permanent (State General Schedule 1-51). How long does the agency that received the copy need to keep the meeting minutes? Do they need to keep them in accordance with the general retention schedule? The answer is that they do not need to keep them at all. The record copy is usually designated and held by the agency that created the records or by the agency that requested or required the record to be created. In the above example, the Archives, as the creating agency, is responsible for keeping the meeting minutes; and anyone else holding copies of the minutes has no responsibility to maintain them. Duplicate copies of records maintained by another agency should be kept only for as long as they are needed, and then should be returned to the creating agency or destroyed. Additionally, if an agency receives a GRAMA request for records created or maintained by another agency, the agency that receives the request should redirect the request to the agency that maintains the record [UCA 63G-2-204(2)].

Records Center Move

December 2, 2011 Comments off

The Utah State Archives and Records Service will relocate the State Records Center from the warehouse in West Valley (Decker Lake) to a new State owned facility in Clearfield. This move is scheduled to begin on February 1, 2012 and will take an estimated 4 weeks to complete.


In order to facilitate this move, some services will be temporarily suspended as follows:


State Records Center Restriction Effective date Date lifted
No deliveries over 100 boxes Monday, Dec 5, 2011 TBD (approx. Mar. 12, 2012)
No deliveries over 20 boxes Monday, Dec. 12, 2011 TBD (approx. Mar. 12, 2012) 
No deliveries accepted Monday, Jan. 2, 2012 TBD (approx. Mar. 12, 2012) 
No records retrieval requests processed Monday, Jan. 15, 2012 TBD (approx. Mar. 12, 2012)

The Records Center (RC) is used to store records that remain in agency custody. By storing records at a secure off-site facility, entities can use valuable office space more efficiently and reduce building and storage costs. Additionally, the Records Center assists agencies in managing their records by tracking records retention and notifying records custodians when records have met their retention and are ready to be destroyed. Some records get transferred from the Records Center to the Archives, which houses records that have historical value and are no longer in the agency’s custody. Both Records Center and Archives facilities are part of the Department of Administrative Services, Division of State Archives and Records Service. The division’s mission is: “to assist government agencies in the efficient management of their records, to preserve those records of enduring value, and to provide quality access to public information.”

The State Records Center has been at the Decker Lake facility in West Valley City since 1974. Currently the Records Center manages over 120,000 boxes for state and local agencies. The Decker Lake warehouse is 45,000 square feet, but the new facility will have 80,000 square feet with the possibility of expanding into an additional 40,000 square feet. The new building, located in the Freeport Center in Clearfield, will have a number of benefits for agencies and Archives’ staff. The new building is owned by the state and will cost less to occupy than the current leased space. New shelving will be only  one box deep compared to the two-deep shelving at Decker Lake. This will make accessing records more efficient and reduce the risk of injury. The Clearfield facility will also include climate controlled storage for microfilm. Finally, at the current rate of growth the Archives will soon out-grow the Decker Lake space. The Clearfield facility will have plenty of room to accommodate growth.

The Utah State Archives is pleased to make this move which will enable better service to agencies and local governments throughout the state. We hope to limit any inconvenience the move may cause. We appreciate your advance planning and patience as we make this transition.

If you have any questions, concerns or emergency requests please place a call as soon as possible to:

Mark Dalton, Manager – Utah State Records Center   (801) 975-4016

Rosemary Cundiff, Utah State Archives Records Analyst  (801) 531-3866

The address of the new location is:

Utah State Records Center

Building C-6

5th St & C St

Clearfield, UT 84015  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.