Arkansas State Archives leads the way in digital preservation to protect state records and historic materials
Arkansas has just become the latest US State Archives to select Preservica to ensure the long-term protection and accessibility of important state records. Arkansas State Archives has chosen Preservica Cloud Edition for long term preservation and safe-keeping of its state’s significant electronic records of lasting value.
Arkansas joins 15 other states using Preservica’s digital preservation solution, including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
The Arkansas State Archives, one of the oldest state archives in the United States, has embarked on a pioneering program to ensure the preservation of state electronic records, as well as the digitization of historic documents, photographs, maps, and other resources, documenting the rich and multi-faceted history of Arkansas and its people. The Arkansas State Archives currently houses over 15,000 cubic feet of historic materials, and supports three research locations, one in the capital city of Little Rock, and one each in the historic towns of Washington and Powhatan, Arkansas.
The collections of the Arkansas State Archives are as varied as the state’s people, and reflect the archives’ mission to organize and maintain the history of Arkansas. These collections encompass: federal, state, and county records; military records; governors’ papers; the papers of significant Arkansas people, businesses, and organizations; Arkansas folk music recordings; a genealogical library; and the largest collection of Arkansas newspapers available anywhere. The archives’ current digital collections focus on the American Civil War and World War I, Historic Maps, Arkansas’s Women’s History and Multicultural Heritage, the History of African American Arkansans, Politics in Arkansas, Ozark Folk Music, and more.
Part of the archives’ mission is to ensure that the state’s history is available to the public, and that does not just include paper records or digitized materials, but born-digital records as well. Arkansas chose to partner with Preservica to support the complete cycle of managing its digital records strategy, choosing Preservica’s Cloud Edition for its ability to fulfill all requirements for best practices in the intake, processing, storage, management, and providing access to electronic records, as well as its ease in implementation. With Preservica, the Arkansas State Archives intends to build a state electronic records program that will best serve the public and Arkansas’s state agencies.
“At the Arkansas State Archives, our mission is to ensure that the past, its lessons and wisdom, are not forgotten. The records at risk are not just early state history or twentieth century papers, but history that is being made now,” said Mary Dunn, Archival Manager for Technology and Access. “Our challenge was greater given that we didn’t just need a digital preservation system to help safeguard historically valuable records, but also a partner to help us meet the records needs of our state agencies.”
“In Arkansas, state agencies have been largely left to manage their records on their own, and they are faced with the real challenge of managing important electronic records in short-lived file formats, often with little support or training for digital preservation, or enough digital storage space for the records they are creating. The Arkansas State Archives sought a comprehensive answer for the state agencies’ digital preservation difficulties, and chose Preservica. We weighed our agencies’ needs against what services Preservica could provide, and found it to be what we were looking for. We had heard of archivists from other archives reporting how Preservica had greatly accelerated their intake process, taking it from days down to a matter of minutes. We want the records preserved and accessible, but we also want the workflow to be easy for our state to adopt.”
“Arkansas State Archives is responsible for the safeguarding of long-term state electronic records from state agencies, as well as the deep and rich history of the state,” said Jon Tilbury, CEO at Preservica. “We are thrilled to partner with them on this project. To see Preservica entrusted with so many state archives across the US makes us immensely proud of the platform’s ability to serve the needs of the state archives community.”
The Arkansas State Archives will be using Preservica to ingest, process and preserve state records of long-term value, and is currently in the process of defining workflows and policies that will act as a model for the transfer of records from state agencies.
“It’s only been a couple of months since we’ve had access to Preservica, but we are already seeing a lot of interest in our electronic records program from many state agencies, which is great to see,” added Mary. “Given there has been no concrete mandate in Arkansas for the regulation of state records, we are building a process for the future, both learning and educating others as we go. It’s a very exciting time not just for the preservation of history, but for bringing these records to life.”