Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Robert A. Caro in conversation with Harold Holzer, Albany, N.Y., 5 December 2011

Next Monday, the New York State Archives Partnership Trust will host an evening's conversation between Robert A. Caro and Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer. Caro is the biographer of President Lyndon Johnson (The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power, Means of Ascent, and Master of the Senate) and of urban planner Robert Moses (The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York).

The Power Broker is widely regarded not only as a compelling (and not particularly flattering) biography of Moses but also a carefully researched history of modern New York City. Several scholars have concluded that Caro did not appreciate the extent of Moses' decline in power in the 1960s, and a number of twenty-first century New York politicians frustrated by legislative and procedural gridlock have come to see Moses's unparalleled ability to transform the built environment in a positive light, but no one contests Caro's assessment of Moses' impact:
It is impossible to say that New York would have been a better city if Robert Moses had never lived. It is possible to say only that it would have been a different city.
This event will take place on Monday, 5 December 2011, from 7:30-8:30pm at The Egg (Center for the Performing Arts) at the Empire State Plaza, in Albany, New York. Tickets, which are $10.00 apiece, may be purchased by calling The Egg's box office (518-473-1845) or visiting The Egg's Web site.

Image: Robert Moses speaks at the dedication of Bethpage State Park near Farmingdale, N.Y., 1933. From New York State Archives, New York (State). Conservation Dept. Photographic Prints and Negatives, [ca. 1904-1949], 14297-87_4232. Image courtesy of the New York State Archives. Click here for a magnifiable version of this image.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Freedom of information laws throughout the world

Things are going to be quiet around here this week: my modem abruptly ceased working on Sunday afternoon. Owing to the holiday I expect that the new one won't arrive until Friday at the earliest and that the coffeeshop in which I'm writing this post and all of my other usual wifi hotspots will be closed.

However, I wanted to draw your attention to a recent Associated Press article highlighting the results of its first-ever test of freedom of information laws throughout the world. At present, 105 countries have such laws, but the experience of the AP, which submitted requests for information to all of these nations and to the European Union, reveals that the extent to which these laws are observed varied widely.
  • Only 14 countries supplied all the information requested within the time frame specified in their laws, and 38 more eventually complied. More than half ignored the AP's requests altogether.
  • Newer democracies often complied more swiftly than mature democracies. Moreover, newer democracies' laws, which tend to reflect the existence of the Internet, are often better suited to today's world than the laws that mature democracies enacted decades ago, when the overwhelming majority of records were created on paper and the Xerox machine was the height of technological sophistication.
  • Many countries adopted freedom of information laws as a condition of securing foreign assistance, and most of these countries ignore or seek to circumscribe these laws as quickly as possible.
  • In some countries, citizens who file freedom of information requests may be targeted for retaliation. In India, where activists are using such requests to expose and combat entrenched governmental corruption, at least a dozen people who have filed freedom of information requests have been killed and dozens more have been violently attacked.
It's an interesting, thought-provoking piece, and it bears close reading.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

State government electronic records in the news

Two stories relating to the management and continued accessibility of state government records popped up on my radar screen earlier today. Both of them warrant watching; it doesn't seem as if either situation will be resolved any time soon.

The first involves gubernatorial records, an ever-present matter of interest and concern. Earlier today, the Boston Globe reported that during the last days of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's tenure as governor of Massachusetts, eleven of his high-ranking staffers used personal funds to purchase their state-supplied hard drives and laptops, staff replaced all of the other computers in the governor's office, and all Romney-era e-mail was deleted from the office's e-mail servers. When Deval Patrick, a Democrat, took office, he and his staffers found an electronic blank slate.

Romney's position is that staffers who purchased hardware did so openly and that he and his staffers complied with all records laws. It does seem that the Romney administration did transfer a substantial body of records to the Massachusetts Archives: according to the Globe, the the repository holds 700-800 boxes of paper records documenting the Romney administration. However, it's not clear whether these records include print copies of the e-mails. The Globe doesn't provide detailed information about them, and the Massachusetts Archives doesn't have an online catalog or detailed online finding aids.

Secretary of State Bill Galvin, who oversees the Massachusetts Archives, told the Globe that the hardware purchases strike him as odd and that the gubernatorial e-mail should have come to the archives: "Electronic records are held to the same standard as paper records. There’s no question. They’re not in some lesser standard."

Romney's campaign manager asserts that the Patrick administration is making a stink about the hardware purchases, computer replacement, and e-mail deletion because it is acting as "an opposition research arm of the Obama reelection campaign." After the Globe story appeared this morning, he filed a state Freedom of Information Act request seeking "all email correspondence, phone logs, and visitor logs" documenting contacts between Patrick administration staffers and prominent Obama political advisers David Plouffe, David Axelrod, and Jim Messina. Governor Patrick’s chief legal counsel has stated that staff will "be happy to fulfill" this request.

I'm not an expert on Massachusetts records laws, so I'm going to have wait for the experts to weigh in on whether the actions of Governor Romney and his staff were legal. Do I wish that the e-mail had been preserved? Of course I do. I'm an archivist, and my job is to preserve records of enduring value and to provide access to them. Gubernatorial correspondence and internal memoranda, regardless of format, do have enduring value. Do I think that Governor Romney should be pilloried for destroying the e-mail? If he violated the law, I hope he gets what's coming to him. If he didn't, I hope that Governor Patrick and other Massachusetts politicians focus on strengthening laws concerning the retention and disposition of gubernatorial records.

Do I think that Governor Patrick brought up these issues in an effort to give President Obama a boost? I don't know. Patrick and Obama are close allies, so it's possible. However, I'm also under the impression that Governor Patrick has his own reasons for disliking Governor Romney, and I'm open to the possibility that he and his staffers are discussing the matter because they keep getting freedom of information requests for Romney-era records. I must admit that I am curious as to how well the Patrick administration is managing its own records.

The second relates to an outrage. As anyone who's been paying even the slightest attention to the American news media knows, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was recently arrested on charges that he sexually molested eight young boys. Two university administrators have been charged with perjury, and the university's president and football coach have lost their jobs.

Questions as to precisely what the president, the coach, and other university administrators knew about Sandusky and when they knew it are rampant. However, Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law, which was extensively revised in 2008, explicitly exempts most records created by Penn State, Lincoln University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University. As a result, there is a distinct possibility that only those e-mails, phone records, and other Penn State records introduced in open court will be disclosed to the public -- unless, as the New York Times urged earlier today, the Pennsylvania legislature and governor move to lift this exemption.

Publicly funded universities in many other states -- New York included -- are subject to freedom of information laws. For what it's worth, I really don't see why Penn State, Pitt, Temple, and Lincoln should be granted such sweeping exemptions, and I hope that Pennsylvania's law changes. At the very least, I hope that Penn State's new administrators recognize that openness and honesty are essential to restoring the university's good name and start releasing records of their own accord as soon as prosecutors permit them to do so.

Yes, I know that Penn State is going to be hit with civil lawsuit after civil lawsuit and that its lawyers would probably jump for joy if a fire or flood destroyed a ton of university records. However, the lawsuits will come and the cost of settling them will be staggeringly high no matter what the university does.

Of course, Penn State is not the only entity that has relevant records: Sandusky met the boys he is accused of sexually assaulting through The Second Mile, a charitable organization that he founded. However, earlier today, the New York Times reported that investigators have yet to locate some important Second Mile records:
Officials at the Second Mile . . . reported that several years of the organization’s records were missing and had perhaps been stolen. The missing files, investigators worry, may limit their ability to determine if Sandusky used charity resources — expense accounts, travel, gifts — to recruit new victims, or even buy their silence . . . .

Much of the [charity's] older paperwork was stored at an off-site records facility. The travel and expense records, for instance, had been sent over several years earlier. But select members of the charity’s board of directors were alarmed to learn recently that when the records facility went to retrieve them, some of those records — from about 2000 to 2003 — were missing.

. . . . Subsequently, the [Second Mile] foundation located apparently misfiled records from one of the years, but the rest seem to have disappeared.
As awful as the Sandusky-Penn State situation currently appears, I can't help but think that we've seen only the tip of the iceberg. All the more reason to be as honest and as open as possible. The sooner the truth comes out, the sooner the victims can focus on rebuilding their lives and the sooner Penn State can focus on rebuilding itself.

Monday, November 14, 2011

BPE 2011: building digital repositories

Still playing catch-up re: the 2011 Best Practices Exchange (BPE). After the BPE ended, I spent a few days in Ohio with my parents, came back to Albany, prepped for and gave a presentation on salvaging and recovering data from electronic media, got sick, got well, got sick again, and got well again. Now I’m barreling through all kinds of personal and professional backlogs.

I took decent notes, but three weeks have elapsed. If you were there and your memory differs from mine, please let me know. I’ll update/correct as needed.

One of the most interesting BPE sessions I attended featured two speakers who focused on the creation of digital repositories. The first, Mitch Brodsky of the New York Philharmonic, discussed the creation and evolution of the Philharmonic’s repository. At present,staff are digitizing the organization’s international era (1943-1970) and will result in the digitization of 3,200 programs, 72 scrapbooks, 4,200 glass lantern slides (older but easy to do), 8,500 photographs, 8,000 business record folders. By the end of 2012, 1.3 million pages of paper records will be digitized and the repository will house 15 terabytes of data. Digitization of audiovisual materials will add another 2 TB of data to the system. However, the organization also plans to add materials created during the first 98 years of the Philharmonic’s existence (1842-1940) and to incorporate late 20th and 21st century electronic records into the repository.

The project’s larger goals are equally impressive:
  • Accurate representation of originals. The Philharmonic’s archivists want the digital repository experience to match the research room experience as closely as possible. They don’t want to flatten curled records, disassemble bound volumes, or do anything else that would make the digital surrogates noticeably different from the originals. As a result, they’re using a digital camera (and the photographer who produced the digital surrogates of the Dead Sea Scrolls) to capture the originals, and many of the digital surrogates have a three-dimensional look. (Click here for an example.)
  • Comprehensiveness. Staff are sensitive to privacy concerns, but want the digital repository to be as complete as possible.
  • Easy and free accessibility. The Philharmonic expects that its digital repository Web site will be the public access mechanism for its archives.
  • A new, sharable model for digitizing large collections.
As you might expect, the repository’s technical infrastructure is pretty sophisticated -- and entirely open source:
  • ImageMagick is used to convert images delivered by the photographer into various formats and sizes.
  • OpenMigrate is used to channel data into and out of Alfresco.
  • Alfresco, the open source content management system, serves as the repository’s core. (At present, the New York Philharmonic may be the only institution using it to build a repository of archival materials, so this project really bears watching.)
  • Alfresco is not yet developed enough to meet the Philharmonic’s data entry standards, and as a result it enters metadata into homegrown databases and then ingests the metadata into Alfresco.
  • The repository’s search functionality is handled by Solr, Apache’s search server.
  • The repository’s viewer component is a Javascript tool developed by the Internet Archive.
  • A suggested materials component based upon end user suggestions ties together related materials of different types and other end user input will be added via phpList.
  • Vanilla forums will promote end user discussions.
Brodsky also shared a number of lessons learned. As far as I’m concerned, anyone thinking of undertaking any sort of large systems development project should devote a substantial amount of thought to each of them:
  • You don’t know what you don’t know. Brodsky never expected that he would learn PHP, become a bugtracker, or proof code. However, he’s an on-the-ground project manager, and the Philharmonic had problems with its vendor.
  • Do it manually before you automate. The Philharmonic started out doing a lot of manual review and dragging and dropping. However, doing lots of hands-on work before setting up an automated system revealed where errors pop up and enabled Brodsky to figure out how to correct them. Deep and intricate understanding of every phase of your project is a must.
  • Vendors need to earn it. Do not be laid back. The vendor is there to do right by you, and it’s their job to convince you that they can be trusted. (Hear, hear! Managing vendor relationships and retaining or taking control of projects on which vendors work was a recurring BPE 2011 theme).
  • Archivists who develop systems are product developers. As Brodsky put it: “You are not the same sort of archivist you were before you went digital.” People are actively accessing your online resources from all over the world, and they expect that your system will be reliable.
John Sarnowski of the ResCarta Foundation then gave a demonstration of the ResCarta Toolkit, an open source, platform independent bundle of tools that enables institutions to create digital collections that range from the very small to the very large.

The toolkit contains a variety of useful, easy-to-use tools:
  • Metadata creation: assigns institutional identifier, adds directory organization with aggregator/root identifiers, adds metadata to image files using forms, and writes Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) XML files to root directory.
  • Data conversion: converts JPEG, PDF, TIFF, or existing ResCarta data to TIFF with embedded metadata, writes a final object metadata.xml file with checksum. Archives and libraries have the option of using preconfigured METS XML (ResCarta metadata schemas are registered METS profiles) or apply a custom metadata template to all of the files in a given directory or tree.
  • Textual metadata editor: enables viewing and editing of OCR metadata and addition of descriptive metadata.
  • Collection manager: creates collections, manages digital objects, allows editing or augmenting object metadata, outputs METS collection level XML file, and can output Dublin Core or Open Archives Initiative_Dublin Core data from the collection-level metadata.
  • Indexer: creates a Lucene index of collection contents, indexes the collection level metadata, indexes all textual metadata from each TIFF, rebuild and optimize options.
  • Checksum verification: creates a checksum and verifies against the original checksum.
A separate ResCarta Web Application facilitates Web publishing of ResCarta digital collections. Simply download the application and drop your ResCarta data directory into the application.

Libraries and archives can also use ResCarta to create metadata before adding objects to CONTENTdm, and the ResCarta Foundation is thinking of creating a tool that will enable METS and Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS) metadata to be moved into CONTENTdm in a streamlined, easy fashion.

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to play around with ResCarta --I just bought a new computer, but haven’t had the chance to get the thing hooked up to the Internet or do miscellaneous software installs -- but I was pretty intrigued and impressed. I’ll report back after I get the chance to play around with it a little bit.

I would be remiss if I did not point out that ResCarta may not be an appropriate solution for everyone: at present, only images and textual files can be added to ResCarta repositories: the ResCarta Foundation is, understandably, waiting for the emergence of good, widely accepted metadata standards for audiovisual materials. However, if you want to build a simple digital repository to house digital images and textual records, by all means check ResCarta out.

Image: Mary Todd Lincoln Home, Lexington, Kentucky, 22 October 2011. William Palmateer built this two-story brick, late Georgian house, which originally served as an inn, in 1803-1806. It was soon purchased by Robert Smith Todd, one of Lexington's most affluent men, and became a home for the growing Todd family. Mary Todd Lincoln was born in 1818 and resided in this home, which is a stone's throw away from the hotel at which the BPE was held, until she married Abraham Lincoln in 1842.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A day in Oneonta, New York

Yesterday was Veteran's Day, and as a result all New York State offices were closed and I had the day off work. On a lark, I accompanied my friend Ron, who lives in Albany but teaches at the State University of New York at Oneonta, to Oneonta for the day.

Oneonta, which is about 80 miles to the southwest of Albany, is a community of approximately 14,000 nestled in the rolling hills of the Susquehanna River valley. It's a college town, and it has the lively, slightly off-kilter charm that one often finds in such communities.

The land now occupied by the City of Oneonta was originally settled by the Algonquin and the Iroquois. The first Europeans to move into the area were Dutch and Palatine German settlers who moved out of the Schoharie and Mohawk valleys shortly before the American Revolution. The city experienced a boom with the coming of the Delaware and Hudson railroad during the late 19th century and during the early 20th century was home to the largest railroad roundhouse in the world.

The roundhouse was demolished long ago, and the city's economy now centers around higher education (the State University of New York at Oneonta and Hartwick College sit on the hillsides that overlook downtown Oneonta), health care, and retail; Oneonta may have only 14,000 residents, but it's surrounded by numerous small towns and villages whose inhabitants come to Oneonta to shop, eat in restaurants, see movies, and attend concerts and other cultural events.

Oneonta's late 19th century boom is manifest in its architecture, much of which dates from that era. The Wilber Mansion at 11 Ford Street is an excellent example. It was built by George I. Wilber, who was the son of the founder of the nearby Wilber National Bank and who served as president of the bank from 1890-1923. The mansion's inner core was built in 1875, and the porches, turret, port-cochere, and high Victorian decorative elements were added during an 1890 renovation. Since 1999, the Wilber Mansion has served as the headquarters of the Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts.

The Chapin Memorial Church at 12 Ford Street is directly across the street from the Wilber Mansion. The church, which was dedicated in 1894, is home to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta. It is the second house of worship that the congregation has built at this site. A 1941 lightning strike destroyed its steeple, which was never rebuilt, and, sadly, most of the congregation's historical records.

Main Street is, as its name implies, Oneonta's main thoroughfare. Two- and three-story commercial buildings dominate the streetscape, and the image above should give you a sense of what Oneonta's downtown looks like. My friend Ron and I had a leisurely brunch at the always awesome Autumn Cafe at 244 Main Street (look for the red awning). If you're ever in Oneonta, this is the place to eat.

After brunch, we headed to the State University of New York at Oneonta campus so that my friend could teach a trio of courses. While he was in class, I took in the exhibits at the Martin-Mullen Art Gallery in the Fine Arts Building (and highly recommend Recent Work: Faculty Art Exhibition, which will be open until 16 December) and spent a little time pondering Joseph Kurhajec's Twisting Force (2005), which occupies a prominent position in the courtyard of the Fine Arts Building.

I then headed over to the James M. Milne Library, where I spent a couple of hours working on an upcoming presentation on disaster recovery and electronic records (posts on this subject are forthcoming), then stopped by the adjacent Jazzman's Cafe for a cup of coffee.

It started snowing while I was at Milne Library and continued snowing as I made my way back to the Fine Arts Building to meet Ron. A few minutes after I took this picture, snow stopped falling in the courtyard and the sun started coming out. However, snow continued to fall on the western side of the Fine Arts Building for at least ten minutes afterward. The SUNY Oneonta campus is no stranger to this sort of highly localized precipitation.

After doing a little shopping, Ron and I headed back to the Autumn Cafe for dinner. We sat in one of my favorite spots, a very Maxfield Parrish-ish elevated alcove, to which has been added a tree full of crows and the Wicked Witch of the West.

On our way back to the car, we took a few minutes to contemplate the Municipal Building at 238-242 Main Street, next to the Autumn Cafe. This Beaux Arts structure was built in the early 20th century and was originally the Oneonta City Hall. It now serves as an Otsego County satellite office building.

I haven't been able to find much information about Oneonta's current City Hall, which sits at 252 Main Street, but I suspect that it was built in the 1930s and that it was a Works Progress Administration project.

The above images are only a taste of what this fun, funky little community has to offer. If you ever get the chance to spend a little time in Oneonta, by all means take the opportunity to do so.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Landau-Savedoff indictment and Savedoff plea

Sorry about the seemingly nonstop focus on the Landau-Savedoff case as of late -- this blog will return to its customary focus on electronic records very, very soon -- but I now have a Public Access to Electronic Court Records (PACER) account, which, for a nominal fee, allows me to access federal court documents, and have pulled up some of the records relating to the case.

It costs $.08 per page to view and download PACER records, but the documents themselves can be freely distributed. I've uploaded a copy of the July 2011 indictment against Barry H. Landau and Jason James Savedoff and a copy of Savedoff's plea agreement to Scribd so that anyone else who is interested in reading them may do so at no cost.
Savedoff Landau Indictment

These documents don't contain much information that hasn't been reported in the media, but there are a few small details that may be of interest. Most notably, Landau's plea agreement, which was signed on 20 September 2011 but not introduced in court until 27 October, includes a (very) partial list of the documents found in the Manhattan apartment that Landau and Savedoff shared.

Savedoff Plea

Savedoff will be sentenced on 10 February 2012. He faces a maximum of five years imprisonment for conspiring to steal documents and a maximum of ten years imprisonment for actually stealing them.

The case against Landau is still ongoing. According to a 4 November 2011 memorandum to Landau's counsel that is available in PACER, his trial is currently scheduled to begin on 13 February 2012 and is expected to last 5-6 days.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jason Savedoff pleads guilty

Last Thursday, Jason James Savedoff, one of the two men caught attempting to steal documents from the Maryland Historical Society on 9 July 2011, pled guilty to charges of conspiring to steal materials from the Maryland Historical Society, the Connecticut Historical Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library. He will be sentenced on 10 February 2012. He faces a maximum of sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000.

Savedoff's plea agreement states that his criminal misdeeds were performed "solely at the direction of" Barry Landau, the prominent collector with whom he was apprehended. Landau has pled not guilty to all of the charges lodged against him, and his lawyer insists that Savedoff masterminded the theft of the mass of materials found in the Manhattan apartment the two men shared and pled guilty in an effort "to save his own hide." Landau's lawyer went on to assert that prosecutors had no evidence proving any "misappropriation of documents before Mr. Savedoff came into his life a year and a half ago."

Forgive my skepticism of this claim. First, investigators found approximately 10,000 documents in Landau's apartment. Busy as Landau and Savedoff seem to have been, it just doesn't seem likely that they amassed this volume of material in a mere eighteen months. Second, as evidenced by articles in the Washington Post and the Daily Beast, Landau has long had, to put it charitably, a most flexible relationship with the truth.

In the meantime, the Federal Bureau of Investigation press release summarizing Savedoff's plea agreement (the full text of which I'm having difficulty accessing via PACER) contains details about his and Landau's activities that should make archivists, manuscript curators, and other cultural heritage professionals sit up and pay attention:
  • "Savedoff, under the direction of his co-conspirator, conducted research, including via the Internet, to identify collections containing valuable documents, which, when located, were targeted for theft." Making finding aids accessible via the Internet has many, many pluses, but those of us who hold materials that have market value should also be keenly aware that may also increase security risks.
  • "Savedoff and his co-conspirator visited numerous museums posing as researchers; accessed collections of documents which they had determined to be of significant value; reviewed the documents from the collections; and used various techniques to steal them. These techniques included concealing documents inside sports coats and other outerwear which had been modified to contain hidden pockets, as well as distracting museum curators to disguise their actions." Some repositories simply bar researchers from wearing sport coats and like garments while in their research rooms, but many women's suit coats are designed to be worn without a blouse underneath. In other instances, research rooms are so cold that rules concerning sport or suit coats or even outerwear can't be reasonably enforced. The overwhelming majority of researchers who wear sport or suit coats or other garments with pockets are decent, honest people, but all of them should be monitored closely.
  • "A checklist was prepared for each stolen document which identified the author and date of the document; the collection from which it was stolen; whether the museum card catalogue had been collected; whether there existed any microfilm or other 'finding aid' for the document at the museum; the nature of any markings on the document: and whether any museum markings had been removed from the document." Wow. I'm simultaneously impressed by the strength of the recordkeeping urge, praying that these checklists are now in the hands of prosecutors, and agog at the monumental hubris and stupidity that prompted the creation of these records.
  • "In an effort to conceal the theft, Savedoff and his co-conspirator often took the card catalogue entries and other “finding aids,” making it difficult for the museum to discover that an item was missing." And here's the plus side of putting finding aids and other access tools online: it's a lot easier to swipe a paper finding aid or catalog card than to destroy every electronic copy of a descriptive resource. Those of us who still have lots of single-copy, paper-based finding aids need to think seriously about devoting some time to converting finding aids that make mention of valuable materials to electronic form -- even quick-and-dirty scans to PDF, TIFF, or JPEG format should be sufficient to document ownership of an item in the event that both the item and the finding aid disappear.
Finally, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration's Office of the Inspector General, which is leading the effort to identify the approximately 10,000 documents found in Landau's apartment and return them to the repositories from which they were stolen. Tricia Bishop of the Baltimore Sun recently wrote a great article highlighting the work being done by Office of the Inspector General staff and the scant attention and resources that American law enforcement agencies typically give to crimes involving cultural heritage materials. It's fascinating and, all too often, frustrating reading. Let's hope that the amount of media attention focusing on what is, in all likelihood, the largest archival theft in United States history changes this state of affairs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ARMA International and San Jose State records management Web events

If you're searching for low-cost professional development opportunities, trying to figure out how to manage and preserve social media content, or seeking to develop workable records management policies, check out these upcoming online events.

First, Dr. Patricia C. Franks, coordinator of the Master of Archives and Records Administration (MARA) degree program at the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), will facilitate an ARMA International webinar, Records Management Policies in a Social Media World, later this month, that will focus on practical tools and strategies for managing social media records. Those who complete this webinar will be able to:
  • Analyze the impact of various social media technologies on records management
  • Apply current records retention schedules to records residing in social networking sites
  • Identify and use existing tools to capture and manage social media records.
This webinar will be available online from 14-29 November 2011 and is free to both ARMA International members and non-members alike, but you must register no later than 25 November 2011 in order to access it.

I heard Dr. Franks speak about strategies for managing social media records at an ARMA Central New York meeting in October 2010, and I was really, really impressed. I refrained from blogging about it only because I was coming down with what turned out to be a really rotten cold; by the time I recovered, I wasn't 100 percent sure that my notes and memories were complete and accurate. I'm really looking forward to this webinar, and I hope that you check it out as well.

Second, SLIS itself is making an upcoming MARA guest lecture available live via the Web. On 14 November 2011 at 1:00 PM PST, Fred Diers, vice president and general manager of GRM's Solutions Group, will discuss "How to Create a Credible Retention and Information Governance Package." Mr. Diers will discuss:
  • Proven steps to develop a retention schedule that is realistic and sustainable
  • How to reduce the risk of litigation, government investigations, and audits
Instructions for viewing this lecture online via Elluminate (and for accessing recorded Webcasts of past SILS events) are available here.