In this Issue:
FROM THE CHAIR by Jim Cassedy
Building the Archives of the Future by Adrienne M. Woods
MARAC Meeting in Richmond by Jim Cassedy
National Archives Assembly Panel Program on “The Charters of Freedom: An Interim Report” by Jim Cassedy
Fourth Annual Archives Fair by Jim Cassedy
DC Caucus “History Day” Workshops by Susan McElrath
“Ninety Years of Scurlock” Lecture by Susan Malbin
LINK TO UPCOMING EVENTS
Maryland Symposium Discusses the Fate of Book and Paper Materials in the Digital Age- March 1, 2001
Establishing and Managing Successful Records Management Programs - April 3, 2001
— FROM THE CHAIR —
December 19, 2001
It’s been four months since our last newsletter, and what a four months
it’s been. Your Representative has been remiss about organizing any
quarterly meetings, but there will be time enough in early 2002.
In the meantime, my fellow members have been taking up whatever slack I
may have let slip through my hands. DC Caucus members have organized a
remarkable “Archives Fair,” have led teacher and student workshops on
archives and archival materials, and have made great contributions to a
very successful MARAC Fall Meeting. In addition, many DC Caucus members
were active in the recent Society of American Archivists Conference
held in Washington in August 2001, and this meeting set new attendance
records for SAA.
There are other articles in this edition of the Quarterly detailing the
work of our colleagues, as well as photographs in which we try to
present the activities of the Caucus a bit more graphically.
We are pleased to publish an article by Adrienne Woods on the
Electronic Records Archives initiative of the National Archives and
Records Administration. Ms. Wood’s article continues the efforts of the
Quarterly to publish substantive articles on the archival work going on
here in Washington.
The next issue of the Mid-Atlantic Archivist (MAA) will be coming out
in early to mid-January as a combined Fall/Winter issue. The reason for
a combination issue lies principally with the New York City tragedy.
Many of our friends and colleagues were personally affected by this
awful event. Your Caucus Representative is still, truthfully, somewhat
uncertain as to what actions the Caucus might take in regards to the
events in New York City and at the Pentagon, beyond a token monetary
donation. I think there will be some discussion of the events in New
York and Arlington in the next issue of the MAA, and perhaps we can
garner some thoughts of what, if anything, we might do as a Caucus. I
am eager to hear all ideas.
MARAC, along with the Society of American Archivists, and other
organizations, has taken a strong stand against Executive Order 13233.
I am sure that there will be an article in the next MAA accounting for
MARAC’s position on this issue. For those of you following the fallout
from President Bush’s Executive Order 13233 (regarding the Presidential
Records Act) Steve Hensen, President of SAA, wrote an opinion piece
which appeared in Sunday’s (December 16, 2001) Washington Post Outlook
Section. You can read the online version at <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46716-2001Dec14.html>. MARAC wrote a letter that was placed in the official record of the Government Reform Committee’s hearing on E.O. 13233.
I also wish to commend to DC Caucus members a careful review of all
issues of the MAA. The Steering Committee is facing a number of issues
– the adequacy of the dues structure, the type of administrative
infrastructure we wish to employ, and the number of Meetings MARAC
should have every year. If you have any concerns or questions about
these issues, please contact me. The next Steering Committee meeting is
scheduled for February 1, 2002.
Finally, it is with deep regret that I announce Michele Lee’s
retirement as editor of the Quarterly. This is the last issue for which
she will be editor. Michele’s life is changing (marriage!) and she has
other items (wedding!) on her agenda. Although I am pleased to announce
that Ms. Sarah R. Demb, Assistant Archivist at the National Museum of
the American Indian, has agreed to serve as editor, I wish to thank
Michele for her wonderful stewardship of the Quarterly. And I want you
to thank her as well, at M-Lee@nga.gov.
The Very Best of The Season,
DC Caucus Representative
Building the Archives of the Future
1970, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) accepted
its first electronic records. Since then, they have successfully
accessioned, preserved, and made available nearly 42,000 data files
from more than 100 Federal agencies, bureaus, and departments. So far,
most of the electronic records scheduled for transfer to the National
Archives have been in the form of highly-structured data files and data
A Federal court case in the early 1990s
changed the electronic records picture for NARA. In that case, which
involved records of the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush
administrations from 1981 to 1993, the court held that printed copies
of emails and memoranda about them were qualitatively different than
the original email in electronic form. So the originals themselves had
to be managed as records.
The case has been closed for years, but it forced the Government, and
NARA in particular, to focus its attention on electronic records as
never before. At the end of President Clinton’s first term, using data
provided by the Executive Office of the President (EOP), NARA staff
estimated that, when Clinton left office, it would face the prospect of
receiving at least 10 million email messages from the EOP.
NARA determined that its electronic records efforts at the time would
be insufficient to deal with the complexity, diversity, and enormous
volume of Federal electronic records that were being created. For
example, in the last decade the capacity of NARA’s Electronic and
Special Media Records Services Division (formally known as the Center
for Electronic Records) to perform full archival processing of
electronic records has grown from hundreds of files to tens of
thousands of files annually. Now, NARA needs to expand annual capacity
to millions, and probably tens of millions, of digital files over the
next few years.
Such growth is not manageable with NARA’s current systems and
processes. Federal agencies’ output of electronic records now includes
vast quantities of email, geo-spatial data, digital images, World Wide
Web sites, and word processing documents. For example, in eight years,
the Clinton White House generated not 10 million, as once predicted,
but approximately 40 million email messages in only one of its systems.
The anticipated deluge of electronic records won’t come solely from the
White House. The State Department will soon begin transferring to NARA
millions of diplomatic messages annually in electronic form. Moreover,
the Pentagon anticipates sending annually more than 50 million scanned
page images from official military personnel files starting in 2005.
It’s conceivable that NARA may receive close to one billion files
annually by 2009.
To meet the challenge that electronic records pose to NARA’s mission,
in 1998 the Archivist established the Electronic Records Archives (ERA)
program, an initiative designed to research, plan, and develop a system
that can assemble, manage, preserve, and access the electronic records
produced by all branches of the Federal Government. Its goal is to give
NARA the capability to accession an enormous quantity of digital
archival materials in complex and ever-changing varieties of formats
and to preserve and provide access to these valuable materials
ERA’s early efforts have been driven by the recognition that, in
effect, no one in the world has yet produced a way to permanently
preserve electronic records. But they are on the leading edge of
efforts to do so. Over the last three years, they have joined various
research collaborations and partnerships with a network of experts in
the technical and archival infrastructure necessary to support
preservation of electronic records.
While most of the research partners have far greater computer
capabilities and expertise than NARA, they uniformly agree that we face
the most difficult problems in the digital arena. The reason is simple:
While the other Federal agencies they work with have to pursue its own
mission, NARA has to deal with the results of all those missions.
But NARA also needs to meet pressing needs related to the lifecycle
management of records. To address these needs, the ERA staff is working
with staff in other offices to develop a plan for “progressive
roll-outs.” These “roll-outs” will provide tools that NARA staff can
use in their work even before the ERA system is developed. The
“roll-outs” will eventually be folded into the ERA system.
Equipped with an understanding of the problem, the technological
partnerships and expertise, and a skilled team of Government staff and
expert contractors, NARA is well on its way to building the archives of
For more information about the Electronic Records Archives Program visit
their website at www.nara.gov/era.
—Adrienne M. Woods, Electronic Records Archives Communications
Specialist at National Archives and Records Administration
MARAC MEETING IN RICHMOND
DC Caucus Members were extremely active at MARAC’s Fall 2001 Meeting in
Richmond, Virginia. DC’s own listserve manager, Cheryl Stadel-Bevans
served as a co-chair of the Program Committee, and organized a program
which helped draw 256 people to the meeting. Other DC Caucus members
serving on the Program Committee included MARAC Chair Jeff Flannery,
Janice Goldblum, Greg LaMotta, Jennie Guilbaud, and Susan Malbin.
Ambacher and Fynnette Eaton presented a terrific program on managing
archives of electronic records at MARAC’s Fall meeting in Richmond.
This program was chaired by Mark Conrad.
Meeting of the DC Caucus in Richmond.
Becky Collier, Michael Hussey, Nancy Yeide, and Meg Melvin, participants in a panel on art looted by the Nazis.
addition, several of our Caucus members spoke at sessions. Patrice
Brown spoke on NARA records concerning the Pamana Canal. Jennie
Guilbaud and Frank Serene participated on a panel on documenting
population diversity. Marisa Keller chaired a panel on borrowing and
Greg Hunter. Maygene Daniels and Michael Miller at the MARAC session on intrinsic value.
MARAC Chairs Bruce Ambacher and Fynnette Eaton presented a brilliant
program on the planning for the Management of Electronic Records of
Enduring Value. MARAC Treasurer Becky Collier, Meg Melvin and Nancy
Yeide spoke at a panel on art looted by the Nazis, chaired by Michael
Hussey. Maygene Daniels presented a paper on the development of NARA’s
concept of ‘Intrinsic Value,” a session chaired by Dr. Michael Miller.
Kristine Kaske presented a paper on archives in museums. Susan Abbott
discussed U.S. Government photographers attempting to document the
Latino experience. David Anderson spoke on collecting faculty papers in
college and university archives.
Caucus members Greg LaMotta (obscuring himself), Judy Thorne, and Susan
Abbott contemplate the MARAC ice sculpture at a reception at the
Virginia Library. New York MARAC member John Celardo and Becky Ebert
from the Handley Library in Winchester, Virginia, round out this fine
DC Caucus Members Danna Bell Russel and Kristine Kaske, with
unidentified masher in the background.
Former MARAC Chairs Janet Linde, Jim Byers and Lucious Edwards
contemplate the melting MARAC ice sculpture in the hospitality suite.
Even Leonard Rapport, MARAC icon and DC Caucus member, cannot save the ice sculpture.
of these people did an outstanding job, and contributed to a great
program. Our Richmond meeting was a great success and we hope to see
you at our next MARAC meeting!
— Jim Cassedy, National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives Assembly Panel Program on “The Charters of Freedom: An Interim Report”
National Archives Assembly presented an Archives Week panel program
entitled, “The Charters of Freedom: An Interim Report.” The speakers
included Ms. Mary Lynne Ritzenthaler and Ms. Catherine Nicholson of
NARA’s Document Conservation Laboratory. This program was held on
Wednesday, October 10, 2001, in the Auditorium of the National Archives
at College Park. Ms. Jennie Guilbaud organized this program.
on the National Archives Assembly Program. Katherine Ludwig of the
Document Conservation Laboratory, National Archives and Records
Administration, organized this panel
In addition to ongoing presentations, the National Archives Assembly
has been vocal in expressing its’ concerns over issues of possible
dangers to archival holdings as the renovation of National Archives and
Records Administration Archives 1 proceeds. Many members of the DC
Caucus are also members of the Assembly.
— Jim Cassedy, National Archives and Records Administration
Fourth Annual Archives Fair
On October 11, 2001, over 150 people attended the DC Caucus 4th Annual
Archives Fair, held at the Ripley Center, Smithsonian Institution. Over
26 repositories actively participated, including the National Gallery
of Art Gallery Archives, the Library of Congress Manuscript Division,
National Air and Space Museum Archives, and Smithsonian Institution
Archives. The plenipotentiary speaker at the Fair was Ms. Nina Gilden
Seavey of the George Washington University’s Documentary Center. She
wrote, produced, and directed the Emmy Award winning documentary, A
PARALYZING FEAR: The Story of Polio in America. Many thanks to Kristine
Kaske and her colleagues for a job very well done.
— Jim Cassedy, National Archives and Records Administration
Some participants at the Archives Fair.
Felix Grant, founder of the Felix E. Grant JazzArchives at the
University of District of Columbia and Archivist Judith Korey.
Lowell, Deputy Assistant Archivist for Records Services, National
Archives and Records Administration, at NARA’s Exhibit Booth, Archives
DC Caucus “History Day” Workshops
The DC Caucus hosted two successful workshops this fall - one for
teachers and one for students working on History Day projects. The
teachers’ workshop, offered for a second year, featured a revised
roster of instructors. The newest additions were Gail Redmann, Edward
James Redmond, and Donna Wells. The instructors explained the
differences between primary and secondary resources, demonstrated a
variety of descriptive tools for archival collections, and offered
advice on how to locate primary source materials. The twenty teachers
who participated got an opportunity to work with historic maps and
photographs and learned how to evaluate Internet resources. The second
workshop featured the same roster of instructors but a slightly
modified program. We added a component on deciphering old handwriting
and using the census. Despite a small turnout, the workshop went well
for our first year and was enjoyed by all. We expect that next year
will prove to be bigger and better as it was with the teacher’s
Thanks to Danna Bell-Russel and the National Digital Library Learning
Center at the Library of Congress for serving as our host again this
year and the wonderful crew of instructors - Faye Haskins, Kristine
Kaske, Gail Redmann, Edward James Redmond, and Donna Wells. Last and
definitely not least, many thanks are owed Mychalene Giampaoli of the
Historical Society of Washington, DC for coordinating the workshops and
recruiting the students and teachers who participated. The DC Caucus
has established a great partnership the Historical Society and we hope
it will continue in the years to come.
— Susan McElrath, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
“Ninety Years of Scurlock” Lecture
Over seventy people John Fleckner’s slide talk about the Scurlock
Studio of Washington, D.C. attended at the Martin Luther King Memorial
Library auditorium on Wednesday, October, 11, 2001 at 6:30pm. Fleckner,
head of Archives Center at the National Museum of American History,
talked about the unique and historical importance of the Scurlock
Studio as documenting the growing African American Community in the
city. Fleckner gave the talk under the aegis of the Washingtoniana
Division, the Art Division and the Black Studies of the District’s
Public Library. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center of Howard University,
the Historical Society of D.C. and the Gelman Library Special
Collections cosponsored the event in honor of Archives Week. Many local
African-American photographers attended, most notably George Scurlock
(son of Addison, the studio’s founder.) The Scurlock Studio archives
are at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History Archives Center.
—Susan Malbin, Washingtoniana Division, DC Public Library
NEXT ISSUE OF THE QUARTERLY: March 2002
Please send articles and notices about upcoming events, people, and news in the DC area to Sarah Demb at: DembS@nmaicrc.si.edu.
Any suggestions for improving this newsletter (format or content)? All ideas welcome.
The Quarterly is a newsletter dedicated to keeping members of the DC
Caucus of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) aware
of the varied activities of the Caucus. The newsletter is generally
published four times a year and is electronically mailed to members and
interested parties. A hard copy of the newsletter is available on