News From Region 1 of the New York State Archives

Newsletter No. 5 of 2008
2008-2009 LGRMIF Grant Applications:

I know that many of you are wondering about the status of your 2008-2009 grant application. Here is where we are now: The first step in the review process, the formal evaluation by outside reviewers and staff members, was recently completed. All reviewers had to evaluate and score each proposal assigned to them and return it to the State Archives by April 18th. This information is now being compiled and shared with the other Members of each panel. Those panels, which are organized by grant category, meet on May 14th to make final recommendations on funding to be forwarded to the Commissioner of Education, who by state law authorizes all grant awards.

Applicants whose proposals were not funded will be notified in early June so, if you do not receive one of these letters, you know that your proposal will receive at least some funding, but not how much. Final award letters are due to be sent out by the end of June, if the awards have also been approved by the Division of the Budget and the Office of the State Comptroller. As many of you know from past experience, these additional approvals sometimes require more time. Although time-consuming, our process goes to great lengths to be fair, impartial and to make the best possible use of available grant funds.


(Please note that workshops have been scheduled beginning March 2008 through July 2008. While the post-April workshops are listed here for your information, please hold off sending in your registrations because our newly-updated registration module can only accept registrations through June)

“All workshops are open to all who are interested in attending. To register, go to and click on “Workshops” on the left. Send Miki Torres an e-mail with your name, affiliation, phone number, and email address with the title and date of the workshop. We will contact you to confirm and complete the registration. Directions will be sent in the mail within a week of the workshop date. Contact> if you have questions about our workshops. Stay tuned for the full spring workshop schedule coming to our website in March 2008.”

Disaster Planning & Response for Records Management Wednesday, May 21, 2008 from 9 AM to 1PM at 55 Hanson Place, 1st Floor Conference Room,
Brooklyn, NY. Disasters are all too common in New York State. Each year, records are damaged and information is lost as a result of floods, arson, fires, collapsed roofs, or computer viruses. This workshop will focus on:

• How to analyze your organization’s risk of experiencing a disaster • How to reduce the chances that a disaster will destroy your records • How to prepare your organization for a disaster • How to respond to a disaster safely and effectively
Conducting a Needs Assessment or Business Process Analysis Thursday, June 19, 2008 from 9 AM to 1 PM at 55 Hanson Place, Room 346, Brooklyn, NY. A successful records management program functions under the well-founded belief that strong controls, if thoughtfully designed, can save money and time. One of the essential controls is careful planning of any system prior to implementation. This workshop will focus on the necessary steps to establish any new records management system, from inactive storage facilities to complex electronic recordkeeping systems. Issues to be examined include:

• The difference between a needs assessment and a business process analysis (BPA)
• How to decide whether to do a needs assessment or a BPA, and when • The essential principles behind both needs assessments and BPA’s • Steps to follow when conducting a needs assessment or BPA • Steps to follow to implement the changes recommended by a needs assessment or BPA
Managing Maps & Plans Wednesday, July 16, from 9 AM to 1 PM at MTA: Office of the Inspector General, 111 West 40th Street, 5th Floor Conference Room Manhattan, NY. Many organizations have difficulty dealing with large-format records, such as maps and architectural plans. The storage and retrieval of these records can be very difficult, yet many of them have long retention periods and are essential to the management of the organization. This workshop will focus on:

• Analysis of issues involving the management of maps and plans • Solutions to common problems associated with these records • Storage techniques; ways to improve access and retrieval; and preservation
11th Annual NYC FOIL Session: Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government, New York State Department of State, and well-known Freedom of Information Legislation (FOIL) expert, will conduct the session on Monday, June 23rd, from 1 to 4 PM at the conference room of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, 110 William Street, 4th floor, Manhattan.

I highly recommend that Records Management Officers and FOIL Officers attend the FOIL sessions because FOIL and records management issues are frequently very closely related. Response to FOIL requests requires efficient access to the records requested. Further, New York State FOIL legislation requires that agencies maintain a “FOIL listing” of records; the records retention and disposition schedules that the Records Management Officer is required to work with can easily serve this requirement.

News from the State Archives:
State Archives Supports 2008 MayDay Initiative: The New York State Archives supports the preservation community’s MayDay Call to Action. In 2006 the Society of American Archivists established this annual event to help remind institutions – and individuals – to develop and update our emergency preparedness plans.
We urge families to:
• Begin developing an emergency plan. Your family may not be together should disaster strike, so plan how you would contact one another.

• Conduct a drill to ensure that everyone understands the plan.
• Make sure that there are sufficient supplies on hand for emergencies: food, water, bedding; batteries, self-powered lights and radios; spare batteries.
For your personal family collections:
• Consider which items have the greatest value, either monetary or sentimental.
• Which of these may have been stored in a basement vulnerable to seasonal flooding, or in a rented storage unit? Are there alternatives available?
• Consider storing your precious items in boxes, a simple step which can provide a good measure of protection.
Many additional measures are suggested at SAA’s web site And for the Council of State Archivists’ excellent manual entitled “Rescuing Family Records: A Disaster Planning Guide”, see this website
After Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Rita and our own recent regional flooding and ice storms, we know we must be ready for the unexpected. Please join the State Archives in taking just one or two steps to better protect ourselves and our personal collections.

New York City Records Management Conference
New York City Records Managers Brown Bag Lunches: In keeping with the city-wide philosophy that directs the work currently managed by Fred Grevin at the New York City Department of Records, I am very pleased to announce a related project. You are all invited to Brown Bag Lunches to be held at 31 Chambers Street, Room 209 on a monthly basis. You bring your own lunch and we will either focus on a specific topic (such as the current draft e-mail guidelines the State Archives is developing) or any other topic or speaker. This is a wide-open opportunity to bring your ideas, experiences, questions, etc. to a welcoming forum where we all share dialogue.

Miki will send out the first notices – hopefully within the next few weeks – to invite you to the first session. Anyone with questions, ideas, etc., etc., and so forth (as the Yul Brenner used to say in that wonderful film, The King & I) please do not hesitate to contact Brenda or Miki.

Preserving the American Historical Record needs your help! The Partnership for the American Historical Record Task Force is seeking calls and letters to members of the House of Representatives to urge them to sign on to the “Preserving the American Historical Record” legislation, which will be introduced soon by Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY, 22nd district). The Congressman would like to have as many co-sponsors as possible before introducing the bill.
Current sponsors are: Jerrold Nadler (D-NY 8th), John McHugh (R- NY 23rd), Sanford Bishop (D-GA 2nd), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY 14th), and Edolphus Towns (D-NY 10th).

This legislation is essential to the continued funding of the many cultural and historical programs that enrich our cultural heritage.

It is critical that we work now to enlist as many Members of Congress as possible to sign on to the bill – and that the co-sponsors represent a diversity of states and both parties. (The current list of sponsors is heavily weighted to the East Coast and the Democratic party.)

It is essential that House members know that this bill is of concern to their constituents so that they WILL sign on. Your efforts will ensure that your Congressperson has this bill on his or her “radar.”

Here’s how you can help:

Contact the members of Congress who represent your region and tell them how important this bill will be to your state. Please encourage others to do so as well. Genealogists, local government officials, researchers of all kinds, teachers, veterans, and even your favorite aunt can make the case.

To facilitate this, we have posted a number of items on the Web at

The preservation of paper collections and related formats.

THE COURSE IS ACCESSIBLE FREE OF CHARGE at, and is intended to benefit professionals who are responsible for the preservation of library and archival materials. Participants will learn how to put preservation basics to work in the context of small and moderately- sized collections – how to identify deteriorated materials, how to care for collections, and how to set priorities for preservation.

THE NORTHEAST DOCUMENT CONSERVATION CENTER is a nonprofit, regional conservation center specializing in the preservation and conservation of paper-based materials for libraries, archives, museums, and other collections-holding institutions.

For more information about NEDCC and its extensive online resources on preservation, visit:

Professional Organizations

Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York: April meeting not yet listed. For information go to

ARMA, NYC Metro Chapter ARMA, NYC Metro Chapter’s next meeting will be on Wednesday, May 14th, from 5:30 to 8 PM at the Harvard Club, 35 West 44th Street, Manhattan. The speaker, Don Oppenheimer, will trace of evolution of records management from the days of “hard copy” through today’s collaborative workspace. You will take away a better understanding of the value of Wiki’s, Blogs, and Web 2.0 technology. For more information contact Frank LaSorsa at
News for Educators
Curate Your Own Exhibition at The New York Public Library, July 22 – July 25, 2008:

Learning at the Library, K-12 education outreach at the New York Public Library, will be offering $1,000 stipends to eight New York City area K-12 teachers to curate online exhibitions this summer, using materials from the NYPL Digital Gallery. Working with NYPL staff, educators will select images and research and create their own exhibitions. Participants will use a web-based publishing system to mount their exhibitions.

This work will unfold over the course of a week-long residency from July 22 – July 25, 2008. A portion of this time will be devoted to curator talks, collection visits and hands-on training for

teachers on conducting research in the Library. During the remainder of the time, participants will have the free use of our computer classrooms. Library staff will be available for consultation during this time for research assistance. Participants are also welcome to conduct research at any one of the four Research Libraries – The Humanities and Social Sciences Library, the Library for the Performing Arts, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Sciences, Industry and Business Library. The week will culminate with a presentation of individual exhibitions on Friday.

The guidelines for the exhibition are as follows. The show must:
Incorporate at least forty items, each with museum labels of approximately two hundred words,
Contextualize the forty items with museum or chat labels of at least five hundred words,
Be supported with at least three pages (one thousand words) of support our guide copy, and
Support some aspect of the New York State Learning Standards.

We also hope that this seminar will be a starting point for participants’ future research; that participating teachers will continue to use our collections and these projects to spawn new work, and that participants will continue to call upon the Library and our staff throughout their teaching career.

To apply, please send an informal, one-page proposal including your contact information, position, school and topic by Friday, May 30 at 5:00 PM to Samantha Seeley, Education Outreach Assistant, The Research Libraries, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, New York, NY 10018. (212) 930-0086

Stay tooned!

Anyone wishing further information – you know where to find us!

718-923-4300 for Brenda 718-923-4301 For Miki
New York State Archives Web Site:
Archives Partnership Trust Web Site:

Download Your Free Screensaver from the Archives: Enjoy historic images from the Archives’ outstanding collection of photographs. Go to:

Contact Information