Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Micrographics: From Digital to Film and Back Again

July 22, 2013 Comments off

Utah State Archives Micrographic Services

From Digital to Film and Back Again

Part 1 of 3

The micrographics department at the Utah State Archives is a full service microfilm department, meaning micrographics can develop, duplicate, and store both 16mm and 35mm films. Micrographics can also capture digital images to microfilm as well as produce digital images from microfilm and microfiche. The following post is part 1 of a 3 part series on the services available by the micrographics department.

Digital to Film

In May of 2008, fourteen counties formed an agreement with the Archives to assist in obtaining the digital film converter; the counties  purchased rolls of film in advance and the funds from the advanced purchases were used to buy the digital film converter. The fourteen counties received credit and are able to use that credit to have digital images put on microfilm. Twelve additional agencies have also used this service to date.

The digital film converter creates high quality images in digital format to microfilm by running the images through a monitor and onto a camera which then creates the master microfilm (either on 16 mm or 35 mm). From July 2012 to date, micrographics ran over 12,000 rolls of film and 500,000 images through the digital film converter. The whole process is a huge benefit to both the agency and the Archives. The agency has the images in a digital format that both they and their patrons can access, and the Archives acquires a roll of microfilm for long term preservation storage.

Digital Film Converter

Digital Film Converter

Film to Digital

Another piece of equipment, purchased in 2012, is the Mekel Mach VII microfiche scanner. The microfiche scanner can produce images from microfiche cards to multiple digital formats including TIFF, TIFF group 4, TIFF uncompressed, JPEG, JPEG 2000, and PDF compressed. After scanning is completed the digital copy is saved on a CD, DVD, flash drive, or external hard drive, according to the agency’s request. Another piece of equipment, the Mekel Mach V machine performs the same function as the VII but instead digitizes images from microfilm. Since July 2012 micrographics has digitized almost 500 rolls of film and over 600,000 images.

Mekel Mach VII: Microfiche to Digital

Mekel Mach VII: Microfiche to Digital

Mekel Mach V: Microfilm to Digital

Mekel Mach V: Microfilm to Digital

Mini-Grant Applications Accepted until December 19th

December 11, 2012 Comments off

The Utah State Archives and Records Service under the auspices of the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board has grant funding available to non-profit organizations and local governments for historical records preservation projects. Funding can be used to help repositories statewide preserve at-risk, historic records and to provide access to important collections. Historical records preservation projects might include purchasing archival supplies to house historical records, processing or organizing historical records, purchasing disaster recovery supplies, or performing a records inventory. Grant funds are not available for digitization projects.

These mini-grants are intended for short-term projects and the maximum award is $750. All grants require a one-to-one in-kind and/or cash match. Grants must be completed with reimbursement forms submitted by June 14, 2013. Grant funding comes from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Applications are required and must be received by December 19, 2012. Grant projects cannot begin before February 15, 2013. We require each grant applicant to have a Dunn & Bradstreet Number (DUNS) before submitting an application. The grant guidelines and application are available at For further information, contact Janell Tuttle at

Mini-grant guidelines Dec 2012

Mini-grant application Dec 2012

Still Time to RSVP for Unique Opportunity

November 27, 2012 6 comments

Unique Opportunity

Tour State Records Center

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The State Records Center will open its doors this Thursday, November 29th for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Open House. The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. with an Open House and tours of the facility following from 2:20 p.m. until 3:40 p.m. The State Records Center is usually closed to the public so this event provides a unique opportunity for state and local employees as well as the general public to tour the 80,000 square foot facility.

For nearly 40 years, the Utah State Archives leased warehouse space in West Valley City. Having reached its storage capacity, the State Records Center had outgrown the facility. When the U.S. government transferred ownership of three federal buildings at the Freeport Center to the state of Utah in 2010, state officials determined that relocating the State Records Center to the Clearfield facility would result in significant cost savings for the state.

Please join the Utah State Archives as we celebrate the opening of this new, renovated facility. We look forward to seeing you!


Utah State Records Center (map)
Building C-6
5th St & C St
Clearfield, Utah

At exit 332 on I-15, take ramp right and and turn left onto UT-108 / W Antelope Dr. (1700 S). Turn right onto 300 W. Turn right onto C St and then turn onto 5th St to access Building C-6.

Keeping the Lights On

November 9, 2012 Comments off

 “These are the people who helped keep the lights on. They should not be forgotten,” Robert Kirby said.

Kirby was speaking to a group of archivists at a workshop for regional repositories held November 1, 2012,  at the Utah State Archives.  His topic was how records keepers can serve researchers in accessing  records in various collections throughout the state.  Kirby, a former Springville, Utah, police officer and a long-time humor columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune, is a serious man when he speaks about his research.

His book, END OF WATCH: Utah’s Murdered Police Officers, 1853-2003 (University of Utah Press, February, 2004), is the product of many hours, many years of research. He is devastated, he said, when he finds a fallen officer that was missed in his research. “They should all be accounted for and remembered.”

Robert Kirby and the Utah State Archives have collaborated on a project targeted at saving Utah’s historic law enforcement records. The project began in October 2011 at an Archives Month event at which former and current law enforcement officials were encouraged to visit the Utah State Archives and learn about methods and opportunities for the long-term preservation of their unique and important history.

Following that Archives Month event the Utah Highway Patrol, the Division of Wildlife Resources, the Board of Pardons, and the Peace Officers Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Academy have all participated in preserving their history. The agencies have worked to identify historic records held within their offices and to transfer materials that document each agency’s history into the permanent collection of the Utah State Archives. A collection of the P.O.S.T. Academy graduating class photos has been digitized and will soon be available to search online!

On November 6, 2012, another event was held at the State Archives. It included important men and women volunteering their time and working to make sure law enforcement officers are not forgotten. A large array of photographs of law enforcement officers and events was spread out on tables in the Archives conference room.  Former and current Utah Highway Patrol troopers went to work with published year books and their collective memories to identify the people represented in the photographs. Without this kind of  item-by-item identification a  photograph collection is not usable. Jim Kichas, an Archives staff member, worked with Kirby to arrange the event. Over fifteen law enforcement veterans volunteered their time to the effort. In addition to organizing this event,  Kichas represented the Utah State Archives at the annual Utah Sheriff’s Convention held in September 2012 in St. George. The important work of preserving history is everyone’s business.

This article  is a shameless promotional advertisement  for the volunteer program at the Utah State Archives. If you have four hours a week to spare and want to be involved, call or email:

Susan Mumford, 801-531-3861,

The ten-hour day

January 5, 2012 Comments off

Most government offices in Utah are now open from 8-5 Monday through Friday. Though some state employees have retained an option to work four ten-hour days, staff members at the Archives look back with nostalgia at the three-day weekend. Others think a ten-hour day is way too long. With diminished budgets and staff, government offices are attempting to do more with less. At the Archives, a successful volunteer program has helped.

The mission of the Archives 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. During the last year, volunteers contributed more than 6,000 hours, the equivalent of about three full-time employees. Much of their time was devoted to processing, scanning, and indexing historic records so that they can be made available online.

Court records from around the state have been coming to the Archives where they are housed in the temperature and humidity controlled core of the Archives Building. They can be requested through the History Research Room. The sheer volume of court records has slowed the process of making them available to the public.

The first step in processing the records is to remove any metal staples, pins, rivets, or clips and to unfold and flatten them. Then the records are put in acid free folders and boxes for storage. Handling the records with this amount of scrutiny, a volunteer came across interesting details on a receipt in a probate case file from Summit County.

Back to the topic of the ten hour day… this accounting record from 1908:

Due for labor:
5 days and two hours
@ $3.00 a day=$15.60
1 day for extra man= $3.00
+ Whiskey= $.50
total = $19.10
As I calculate, that is 30 cents an hour, ten-hour days, and strong incentive to drink on the job. More research on the topic could include: wage history as it relates to type of work, working conditions, benefits for workers, the price of whiskey, and the cost of living in 1908. The answers to all these questions and more await you through records preserved and accessible at the Utah State Archives. Contact the Archives at

Unusual Records from Ogden City Police Department

December 8, 2010 1 comment

The first Monday of each month, the staff and volunteers for the Utah State Archives and Utah State History get together for what we call a “Lunch & Learn.”  On Monday, December 6, 2010, Alan Barnett gave an intriguing presentation concerning photographic glass negatives from the Ogden City Police Department dating from 1911. Alan shared images captured on the negatives that he discovered in the course of his work. “The Tall & Short Man” is a tale of extortion, deceit, robbery, and crime. The story involves crimes against the highest echelon of Ogden society by a shadowy figure under multiple names that eluded the police for eight years. The letters “copied” on the negatives—well before the ubiquitous copy machine–threatened to harm family members if payment to him was not made in solid gold coins. Others offer to buy back stolen family jewels if the victim of the theft would send money with a representative to a certain road near the bridge at midnight and not tell the police. This fragmented investigative report is all we have and leaves many unanswered questions. Where do the records fit into the Archives collection? Should they be kept permanently along with other historical records? Alan asked those in attendance to speculate on the questions raised by the records in a collaborative discussion. The record series will next be archivally processed including a finding aid online.

Related Resources:

Federal Records Management Audited

November 3, 2010 Comments off

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit completed in October shows that nearly 80% of government agencies are at risk of illegally destroying public records and that there are hefty volumes of records needing preservation and care before they are permanently lost or damaged.

Prompted by the loss of the Wright brothers’ original patent, as well as maps for atomic bomb missions in Japan, the GAO report finds some of the nation’s prized historical documents are in danger of being lost forever, including Civil War telegrams from Abraham Lincoln, Eli Whitney‘s cotton gin patent, and some NASA photographs on the moon.  The audit  found many U.S. agencies do not follow proper rules for disposing and storing public records.

“Officials at the National Archives, which houses the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and other treasured documents at its Washington rotunda, had no immediate comment Tuesday on the findings,” said National Public Radio (NPR).

The report comes more than a year after news reports of key items missing at the nation’s record keeping agency. While some of the items have been missing for decades, their absence has recently become widely known.

According to NPR, “The patent file for the Wright Brothers flying machine was last seen in 1980 after passing around multiple Archives offices, the Patents and Trademarks Office and the National Air and Space Museum. As for maps for the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, military representatives checked them out in 1962, and they’ve been missing ever since.”