The National Archives Hosts Industry Day Focused on Electronic Messages: The Next Phase of the Federal Electronic Records Modernization Initiative (FERMI)

ABOUT:  FERMI is the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) effort to provide a government-wide, modern, cost-effective, standardized, and interoperable set of records management solutions and services to Federal agencies. NARA has identified the common, core requirements all agencies need to support their records management programs.

VANTAGE: Federal agencies have different missions, structures, and resources, as well as lack common needs for managing their electronic records. Agencies need to manage their records in compliance with NARA’s statutes, regulations, and guidance. FERMI emerged from the Automated Electronic Records Management Plan, to support the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18). NARA serves as the Records Management Standards Lead for the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Unified Shared Services Management (USSM) office’s Business Standards Council.

On Monday, AUGUST 6, 2018: In conjunction with GSA, NARA held an Industry Day in the McGowan Theater and streamed the event live on NARA’s YouTube channel.  NARA and GSA publicized how vendors listed on GSA Schedule 36, Special Item Number 51-600, Electronic Records Management would have the opportunity to create demos based on the draft “Use Cases for Electronic Messages.” The Use Cases are modeled after the ERM Federal Integrated Business Framework (ERM-FIBF), and describe how to manage electronic messages.

Further, NARA and GSA detailed demos must express the following three scenarios from the Use Cases:

  • Determine if the electronic message can be placed under records management control. (ERM.010.L1.02)
  • Manage the metadata of an electronic message record throughout the lifecycle. (ERM.020.L1.02)
  • Dispose of approved electronic message records. (ERM.030.L1.02)

Vendors were asked to develop demos of how their solutions could meet these three scenarios. GSA said it would work with vendors to make the demos available to agencies through the Acquisitions Gateway.  Agencies can use these demos as market research to evaluate how well solutions manage electronic messages.

The PIDB is encouraged by NARA and GSA’s combined efforts to improve the management of electronic records through smarter business practices and acquisition improvement.

The Members support NARA’s endeavor to foster solutions for access to electronic information.

The Search for Male Graduates of Florida State College for Women

The University Historian at the University of Florida recently contacted us with an interesting research request regarding Florida State College for Women. In his research, the University Historian found evidence that a woman, Mary Alexander Daiger, graduated from the University of Florida in 1920. This is odd because, in 1905, Florida passed the Buckman Act, which designated UF as the state university for male students. The same act designated FSU’s predecessor institution, Florida State College for Women, as the state university for female students. It wasn’t until 1947 that both schools became fully coeducation. Daiger was able to graduate from UF pre-coeducation because of the Summer School Act, which in 1913, brought summer courses under the control of the state university system. By design, these courses were coeducational and allowed for men and women to attend either university during the summer.

Given the shared history and similar circumstances of UF and FSU, the University Historian wondered if there was ever a male graduate of Florida State College of Women.

Flambeau 6-22-1940_pg2_1
Excerpt from the Florida Flambeau, June 22, 1940, pg 2.

Heritage & University Archives staff began looking through summer issues of the student newspaper, the Florida Flambeau. While reading the articles, it became apparent that male students were definitely taking advantage of the classes offered. Staff members of the Flambeau reported on how many male students were on campus, where they were located after they were allowed to stay in the dorms and any humorous encounters that resulted from their presence. But for the most part, names of the male students weren’t listed in those articles.

Flambeau 6-27-1930
From the Florida Flambeau, June 27, 1930

During the summer issues for several years, the Flambeau listed all of the students eligible for graduation for that semester. Unfortunately, we ran into a major problem at this juncture, because the Flambeau did not list whether the student was male or female. We chose, based on name, the most likely students to be male and sent the names along to the Office of the Registrar to see if any of them did, in fact, graduate.

Flambeau 7-29-38_pg4
Clarence Priest listed as a candidate for graduation in the Florida Flambeau, July 29, 1938

When the Registrar replied, we learned that our process for selecting names was as inaccurate as we thought. Some of the candidates had sorority affiliations listed on their records and so were crossed off our list. More often, the candidate for graduation did not actually graduate. However, we were able to confirm that there was at least one male graduate of Florida State College for Women: Clarence Patrick Priest. Priest earned his Masters of Arts in Education in 1938 from Florida State College for Women. He stayed on to teach at the school after his graduation.

Know of any other men who graduated from Florida State College for Women? We’d love to know about any of our other graduates. You can contact the Heritage & University Archivist at

Continuity of care: the William Simpson’s Asylum Archive

In early 2014 the University Archives was contacted by William Simpsons, a care home in Plean which provides residential care along with respite and day care facilities. William Simpsons has been providing care at this site for almost two hundred years, originally opening in 1832 as the William Simpson’s Asylum, an institution which provided care and support for former soldiers and sailors.

Building work had unearthed a collection of historical material consisting of four large metal trunks of documents and 38 volumes and ledgers. Upon inspection the material revealed itself as a comprehensive collection of nineteenth century records which provide a detailed account of the management and administration of both the William Simpson’s Asylum and the surrounding Plean Estate. The material complimented the historical records of NHS Forth Valley, held in the University Archives and it was transferred to the University Of Stirling.

Metal trunk, containing bundles of 19th century documents relating to William Simpson’s Asylum and the Plean Estate.

Volume recording ‘note of furnishing clothes to men’ from 1857 which included pressed leaf between pages.

Today we are engaged in an exciting project which is opening up the collection for the first time. This work follows an initial survey of the material carried out with the support of the Wellcome Trust in 2016 which highlighted the value of the collection for the study of both medical and local history. The survey also revealed links between the William Simpson’s Asylum and Stirling District Asylum, with evidence being discovered of regular contact between the two institutions.

With the assistance of a team of student volunteers we are cleaning, flattening and repacking the thousands of nineteenth century documents which are crammed, in tightly packed bundles, into the four metal trunks. The contents of these trunks were examined as part of the Wellcome Trust survey which has provided us with a useful overview of the range of material present.

A bundle of papers being cleaned. Smoke sponges are used to remove dirt and dust from the documents – note the difference in the sponges before (left) and after (right) cleaning.

Our current project will enable these documents to be used by researchers in our archives reading room, while the unpacking of the bundles will allow more detailed cataloguing of their contents which will provide further information on the collection.

The project has already revealed some interesting material, including the following documents:

Extract from ‘Descriptive list of inmates of Wm. Simpsons Asylum, ordered by Sir Thos. Livingstone to be prepared for the House Governor for the inspection of Trustees at their meeting in November 1837.’

This list provides a detailed account of the first ‘inmates’ of the asylum, recording their names, ages, place of birth, army service and trade. Additional remarks on their character and behaviour are also recorded as are details of burials for patients who died in the asylum.

House Regulations of William Simpson’s Asylum, as revised November 1855.

This document is one of a set of regularly revised and updated versions of the House Regulations, which would have been prominently displayed in the asylum. The 1855 version stretches to 13 rules governing all aspects of life in the asylum. Smoking was ‘not allowed within the House.’ However, ‘one bottle of beer will be allowed to each man for two days – that is, half a bottle to each per day.’

For further information and updates on this project please contact the University Archives.

The WNYC Commissions Volume One

Original CD liner notes published in 2002.

Writing music seems a straightforward enough proposition: you have an idea for a piece, you write it, and then some musicians play it. But few things are as simple as they seem. The birth of a piece of classical music usually requires a midwife – the person or organization who commissions the work. In the old days, this meant a local prince or wealthy patron paying a composer to write a work for his court ensemble or for a group of musicians he supported. The 20th century, with its relative paucity of princes, saw the rise of the private foundations as a leading source of commissions. In Europe, state-run radio stations often commissioned works; the BBC in particular has a notable history of requesting works from a who’s who of English composers. In American radio, however, that idea was almost completely unheard of.

WNYC has bucked that trend by trying to be proactive, instead of reactive. American classical radio stations have traditionally reacted to music, by waiting to see what is performed or recorded and then, after due consideration of the music’s timeliness and potential importance to its audience, ditching it in favor of another recording of The Four Seasons. WNYC, though, has a long heritage of supporting living composers and live music, and a wide view of what the words “classical music” might mean. And so, for the 50th anniversary of WNYC’s FM station in June of 1994, we decided to embark on a program of commissioning music from diverse American composers to celebrate the occasion. Acting on a terrific idea from composer John Corigliano, we asked the noted poet John Ashbery for a poem, and then sent it to 12 composers. Their instructions were simple: write a piece based on the poem –it did not have to be a typical voice-with-piano setting; it could use some of the text, or none of the text. 

But there’s another part to commissioning music: finding performers to premiere it. This was quite a chore when juggling twelve different pieces at once. Fortunately, the event was one the music community in New York was eager to embrace, and in the end, a splendid concert took place on June 13, 1994, when thirteen pieces by the twelve composers (the explanation for the discrepancy is below) had their world premieres at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and live on the air at WNYC 93.9 FM.

Morton Gould

Morton Gould was an obvious choice when WNYC began commissioning music. A versatile musician, a tireless champion of other American composers, and a native New York mensch, Gould was a longtime friend of WNYC: one of his most popular pieces, Spirituals For Orchestra was premiered on WNYC’s annual American Music Festival in 1941. Gould’s Anniversary Rag, for WNYC was the only one of the WNYC FM anniversary pieces that did not use the John Ashbery poem, No Longer Very Clear. It’s not that Morton Gould couldn’t follow directions: he dutifully set the poem in the classic voice/piano combo.  But weeks before our anniversary concert in June of ’94, he sent an additional work – along with a letter saying he’d written it as a sort of anniversary gift. “I hope you’ll let me play it,” he wrote; “I’ve been practicing like mad.” Well of course we let him play it. And he charmed the Lincoln Center crowd with a performance that used both hands and feet.

Anniversary Rag, for WNYC. Morton Gould, piano and foot stomps. World premiere June 13, 1994, Alice Tully Hall, Engineers: Edward Haber (technical director & mix engineer), Christine Bronder, George Wellington, Miles B. Smith.

Philip Glass

Philip Glass is arguably the most popular composer alive today. And we knew him way back when… Glass’s music has long been part of WNYC’s programming- sometimes a very controversial part, especially in the late 1970s/early 80’s, when we began playing his works frequently. Now So Long After That Time is a piano solo whose title comes from the John Ashbery poem, No Longer Very Clear. A New York Times review of the piece at its world premiere performance in June of 1994 likened it to the piano music of Rachmanioff – an unusual comparison, to be sure; but not, surprisingly, as crazy as it might seem… Pianist Christopher O’Riley’s effortless performance convinced us to commission a bigger work from him later; the result was the Ralph Towner piece listed below. This piece, by the way, has gone on to a second life as the Etude #6 for Solo Piano, part of Glass’s two decade long process of composing two books of piano etudes. It has been recorded under that title numerous times.

Now So Long After That Time. Christopher O’Riley, piano. World premiere June 13, 1994, Alice Tully Hall, Engineers: Edward Haber (technical director & mix engineer), Christine Bronder, Goerge Wellington, Miles B. Smith.

Richard Einhorn

Richard Einhorn took over two years to write A Carnival of Miracles, and if the group Anonymous 4 had taken another two years to learn it, you could hardly blame them. The piece, scored for four female voices and two cellos, uses texts in English, German, French, Polish, Italian, and ancient Coptic. In Richard Einhorn’s marvelous oratorio, Voices of Light, written to accompany the classic silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc, the “voice” of Joan is sung collectively by Anonymous 4, so when we began exploring composers to work with, Einhorn seemed a good choice. His piece, the longest WNYC has yet commissioned, is in six parts, each dealing with a specific kind of freedom. Einhorn provided the following notes:

Enigma (religious freedoms) is extracted from an extremely strange incantation found in the Nag Hammadi codices from the 3rd century.

The Scientist (scientific freedoms) is a single sentence which Galileo is said to have murmured after he was forced by Church authorities to deny that the Earth traveled around the Sun.

The Genius (artistic freedoms) is drawn from Beethoven’s asinine response to criticism of his string writing.

The Court (freedom of speech) is taken from writings by Supreme Court justices, and tries to answer the hoary question, “Does freedom of speech give anyone the right to shout ‘Fire!’ in public?”

Mrs. Satan and the Divine Marquis (sexual freedoms) combines texts by Victoria Woodhull, a 19th century feminist, with some remarkably similar (and characteristic) excerpts from the 18th century libertine, the Marquis de Sade.

Miracle Fair is taken from the 1986 poem of the same name by the Nobel Laureate Wizslawa Szymborska.

The texts often drive the music; Galileo’s “and yet, it moves” is sung in unison at first, but then the four voices steadily move away from each other while repeating the line. The text for The Court is a collage of words from various important Supreme Court decisions, and coincidentally, one of those words is “fire,” given great prominence in the music. “Eloquence may set fire to reason, but we have staked upon it our all,” wrote the Court. It’s a sentiment worth remembering, and it’s the only complete sentence to emerge from this particular text collage. (Complete texts at

Carnival of Miracles. Anonymous 4, vocals; Christine Gummere and Julie Green, cellos. World premiere November 19, 1999, The Arts At St. Ann’s. This recording, revised version, June 26, 2001, Corpus Christi Church, Engiineers: George Wellington (technical director and mix engineer), Scott Strickland.

Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson was perhaps the most unconventional composer in our 50th anniversary concert. Her works are as much stories as songs, and those stories revolve around her own texts. In this case, though, she was working with the John Ashbery poem, No Longer Very Clear. Like Philip Glass, she took a line from the poem for her title; unlike Glass, though, she set the entire text, delivering it in her unmistakable style. Ashbery’s work is an oblique, evocative meditation on memory, perception, and darkness. But it is shot through with color, and that provided the inspiration for Anderson’s This House of Blues. It is a tape piece: the accompanying music consists of instrumental tracks produced by Laurie Anderson and Brian Eno.

This House of Blues. Laurie Anderson, vocals and keyboards; Cyro Baptista, percussion; Joey Baron; drums; Greg Cohen, bass; Brian Eno, drum treatments. World premiere June 13, 1994, Alice Tully Hall. Recorded by Laurie Anderson.

Ralph Towner

Ralph Towner has amassed a worldwide following over the past 30-plus years. He is best-known for his work with the group Oregon, which began blurring the borders between classical, jazz, and non-Western music in the early 1970s. He also wrote the Paul Winter Consort’s most famous song, Icarus; has made dozens of solo recordings as a guitarist and occasionally as pianist; and has worked with jazz greats and symphony orchestra. Simulacrum is essentially a one-movement piano sonata, with a rhapsodic, almost improvised sound (it is, however, fully notated), and a modal flight in the third section that gives Christopher O’Riley ample opportunity to display his keyboard chops.

Simulacrum. Christopher O’Riley, piano. World premiere May 20, 1999, Miller Theatre. Engineers: Edward Haber (technical director and mix engineer), Irene Trudel, George Wellington, Wayne Shulmister.

Steve Reich

Steve Reich is not only one of the most important and influential composers of our time, he’s also a neighbor. Living literally a block away from the WNYC studios, he has been a regular visitor. Anonymous 4, whose albums of medieval music have all been best-sellers, has been performing in the WNYC studios almost since its inception. As a result, this commission practically fell into our laps. Know What is Above You is a short piece, a setting of the old admonition to “know what is above you: an eye that sees, an ear that hears, and all your deeds recorded in a book.” Far from the Big Brother aspect that one might read into this statement, Reich interprets it as a reminder that someone is watching over us, and that our actions, however, insignificant they might seem, have repercussions that are noted. As with his larger piece called Proverb, this work augments the sounds of the four voices with two of Reich’s own percussionists.

Know What Is Above You. Anonymous 4, vocals; Thad Wheeler and Jim Preiss, percussion. World premiere November 19, 1999. The Arts At St. Ann’s. Engineers: Edward Haber (technical director), George Wellington (mix engineer), Irene Trudel.

Derek Bermel

Derek Bermel is the youngest composer we’ve commissioned. He was thirty when this piece was premiered; and shortly after said premiere, it was announced that Bermel had won the coveted Rome Prize. This meant that he had to give up his regular weekend gigs with his jazz/funk band in the clubs of downtown Manhattan for a while. See, Bermel is not just a composer: he’s also a singer, bandleader, and a songwriter who moves easily between pop, funk, jazz, and classical music. In addition, he’s a fine clarinetist (he takes a solo here), and plays keyboards. This piece is written for an unusual band in residence at The Kitchen, one of New York’s most important new music venues. The group, called Kitchen House Blend, was the brainchild of composer/guitarist John King and includes players who are adept at both composed and improvised works. It seemed perfect for Bermel, and he responded with Three Rivers, which refers to the three rivers that meet in Pittsburgh as well as the three independent streams of music that meet and blend in this piece. It’s a fiendishly difficult piece to play, and draws on a typically electic range of sources like Thelonius Monk, R&B (the opening passage is marked “Lugubrious funk”), and American postmodernism.

Three Rivers. Kitchen House Blend; Derek Bermel, conductor. World premiere March 1, 2001, The Kitchen. Engineers: George Wellington (technical director and mix engineer), Wayne Shulmister, Scott Strickland, Edward Haber, James Williamson.



Digitalización y conservación de archivos históricos de la AGN de México

IPN colabora con AGN en digitalización y conservación de archivos históricos

“Estamos convencidos de que la reciprocidad en las relaciones de colaboración entre nuestras instituciones permitirá siempre avanzar en la complementariedad y en el respaldo de nuestras funciones”, señaló Mario Alberto Rodríguez Casas

El Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) refrendó el compromiso de colaborar conjuntamente con el Archivo General de la Nacional (AGN) para preservar la memoria histórica de México mediante la digitalización de documentos, destacó el Director General de la institución, Mario Alberto Rodríguez Casas.

El titular del IPN sostuvo una reunión de trabajo con María de las Mercedes Vega Armijo, la Directora General del AGN. Agregó que, para fortalecer estas acciones, se contará con la participación de la Escuela Nacional de Biblioteconomía y Archivonomía (ENBA), recién incorporada al IPN, lo que permitirá la profesionalización de los archivistas y bibliotecónomos.

“Gracias a la función sustantiva del Archivo General de la Nación de salvaguardar el patrimonio documental de México, el Instituto cuenta, a partir de hoy, con una versión impresa de este valioso documento que ha de ocupar un valor relevante, no solamente en el archivo histórico de nuestra institución, sino en la Dirección General del Instituto y seguramente en su máximo recinto que es el Consejo General Consultivo”, resaltó.

Paralizada la distribución de archivos para imprimir armas en 3D

Un juez paraliza la distribución de archivos para imprimir armas en 3D

In extremis. Un juez de Seattle ha suspendido temporalmente la la carta blanca que iba a permitir a Cody Wilson distribuir los archivos informáticos con los diseños para fabricar armas de fuego “caseras” utilizando una impresora 3D convencional.

La restricción judicial temporal llegó unas pocas horas antes de que entrase en vigor el acuerdo entre Defense Distributed, la iniciativa online y sin ánimo de lucro de Cody Wilson, y el Departamento de Justicia.

El juez Robert Lasnik atiende así a la solicitud presentada por ocho fiscales generales del estado y el Distrito de Columbia. El juez Lasnik admite que su fallo presenta “serias cuestiones de la Primera Enmienda que tendrán que ser resultas más tarde”, pero que por ahora no debería haber “instrucciones de ningún tipo de cómo producir armas 3D en Internet”, según The New York Times.

Las armas impresas en 3D son “funcionales e indetectables”

Para los demandantes “las armas impresas en 3D son armas funcionales que a menudo son se escapan a los detectores de metales porque están hechas de materiales que no son de metal (por ejemplo, plástico) y no se pueden rastrear porque no contienen números de serie. Cualquiera con acceso a los archivos CAD y una impresora 3D disponible en el mercado podría fabricar, poseer o vender estas armas.”

En la práctica obtener un modelo funcional “exige ciertos conocimientos prácticos sobre mecánica de armas, impresión 3D, fresado y fabricación CNC,” según la publicación MIT Technology News.

En EE UU no es ilegal la fabricación de armas caseras, aunque están sometida a la regulación de la ’Undetectable Firearms Act’ que obliga a que el percutor sea metálico para su detección. Esta ley prohíbe expresamente construir armas indetectables y regula su venta entre particulares.

Para la fiscal de Nueva York, Barbara Underwood, esta es “una gran victoria para el sentido común y para la seguridad pública,” mientras que para los abogados de Cody Wilson el fallo del juez Lasnik “viola los derechos recogidos en la Primera Enmienda” de la constitución de EE UU y supone un ataque “contra la libertad de expresión”, según recoge The Washington Post.

Autor: Nacho Palou

Agencia Nacional de Tierras puso a disposición 35.000 cajas de expedientes

La Comisión de la Verdad ahora tiene acceso a archivos sobre tierras

La Agencia Nacional de Tierras puso a disposición 35.000 cajas de expedientes. Los comisionados deberán construir un relato sobre la relación entre las tierras y el conflicto armado.

El director de la Comisión de la Verdad, Francisco de Roux, y el director de la Agencia Nacional de Tierras, Miguel Samper, firmaron un convenio de intercambio de información. /Mauricio Alvarado.

La Comisión de la Verdad tiene vía libre para conocer la historia de las tierras en Colombia. Este miércoles la Agencia Nacional de Tierras (ANT), en el marco del primer punto del Acuerdo de Paz del Estado con las Farc, suscribió un convenio para que ese mecanismo extrajudicial pueda acceder a 35.000 cajas que contiene archivos oficiales y, de esta manera, establecer la relación de los predios del país con el conflicto armado.

“Este convenio va a permitir que la tierra cuente su versión sobre el conflicto. Lo que va a permitir es que se esclarezca la verdad y se le cuente al país sobre el papel de la tierra en el conflicto. Para nadie es un secreto que la disputa territorial genera efervescencia social y en no pocas oportunidades ha escalado hasta la violencia”, indicó Miguel Samper, director de la ANT.

Puede leer Los archivos de inteligencia para reconstruir la verdad

La información, que fue digitalizada, está dividida en adjudicación de baldíos, formalización de la propiedad privada y los procesos agrarios. Estos insumos le servirán a la Comisión de la Verdad para fijar los patrones de victimización, como el despojo de tierras, reclutamiento de menores, la desaparición forzada, el narcotráfico y el desplazamiento forzado, entre otros, cuyo eje ha sido la tierra.

Dentro de la información que queda disponible se encuentra el registro de 250.000 hectáreas de tierra que estaban bajo el dominio de la antigua guerrilla de las Farc y que ahora hacen parte del fondo de tierras. “Se encuentran en el sur de Bolívar. Allá tenemos tres grandes baldíos en donde hacían presencia y la Fiscalía inicia el proceso de extinción de dominio, pero cuando se cuenta que es territorio baldío nos lo entrega, lo caracterizamos rápidamente y lo incorporamos en el fondo de tierras para iniciar el proceso de adjudicación a campesinos con o sin tierras suficiente. También podemos evaluar si hay población campesina que cumpla con los requisitos para adjudicársela a ellos”, explica Samper.

“Esta cantidad de cosas será el horizonte en el que nos moveremos. Todas se articulan unas con otras. Si no hubiese pasado lo que pasó con la tierra posiblemente no hubiera pasado con el desplazamiento, con la desaparición forzada. Ver esa totalidad es nuestra responsabilidad”, explicó Francisco de Roux, presidente de la Comisión de la Verdad.

Le puede interesar: “La Comisión de la Verdad puede acceder a toda la información requerida para cumplir su mandato”: padre De Roux

Aunque el proceso metodológico para analizar la información está siendo objeto de debate al interior de la Comisión de la Verdad, De Roux explicó que la información proporcionada por las víctimas será fundamental para la construcción del relato final. “No solamente tendremos esta información, que es central, sino que vamos a escuchar a las víctimas de todos los lados: campesinas, indígenas, afro, ganaderas, empresarias. Vamos a escucharlos a todos (…) Tenemos la obligación de establecer responsabilidad, incluso en las instituciones el Estado”.

Lea también: “Vamos a buscar la verdad sin importar quién sea el presidente”: padre Francisco de Roux

El convenio establece que la Agencia Nacional de tierras le deberá facilitar a la Comisión de la Verdad información catastral, predial, cartográfica, geográfica, estadística y documental que sea requerida durante dos años. En caso de que se decida terminar con el convenio, se fijó una cláusula que permite hacerlo siempre y cuando sea tras llegar a un mutuo acuerdo.

“¿Por qué a los campesinos se les arrancó la tierra? ¿Por qué hubo problemas de tierras, no solo con los campesinos, sino también con los ganaderos y otro tipo de empresarios? ¿Por qué surgió el conflicto al interior de estas realidades? ¿Cómo explicarles a los colombianos lo que nos pasó? ¿Cómo explicarnos entre todos por qué trascendió hasta la guerra la realidad que estamos viviendo?”, fueron parte de las preguntas que se planteó el padre Francisco de Roux, y a las que busca darles respuesta para reconstruir la verdad de lo ocurrido en la guerra.

Preventing FOIA Disputes

In addition to providing services that help Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesters and Federal agencies in resolving disputes, one of the goals of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) is to prevent FOIA disputes from arising in the first place. In line with this goal, OGIS recently issued its first advisory opinion, providing agencies with useful advice on effective communication with requesters to help them navigate through the FOIA process and the resources available to them.

OGIS is the Federal FOIA Ombudsman. The office, created within the National Archives, opened its doors in 2009 to educate the public about FOIA, resolve FOIA disputes, and assess agency compliance with the statute. OGIS’s advisory opinion is based on its observations through its now robust mediation program. OGIS’s mediation program brings the office into contact with a broad range of Federal agencies and requesters at various points throughout the FOIA process. This unique lens enables OGIS to identify common causes of FOIA disputes and identify practices that can help avoid disputes.

The FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 requires that agencies let requesters know about the availability of dispute resolution services from agency FOIA Public Liaisons and OGIS at several points in the FOIA process. After the law’s enactment OGIS’ caseload increased significantly.  A common trend noted among several cases was the need for better communication between the agency and the requester.

OGIS’s first advisory opinion takes the communication issues OGIS noted in its individual cases and gathers it together to provides agencies with advice to help better communicate with requesters about the FOIA process: how to preserve their administrative rights to challenge an agency’s decisions, the kinds of assistance they can expect from an agency FOIA Public Liaison and OGIS, and the next steps to take if they need additional assistance with a request. The advisory opinion also provides agencies with specific examples of language and format.

This advisory opinion is a starting point. OGIS intends to use its authority to issue advisory opinions to address the most common disputes, complaints, and trends it sees in its dispute resolution practice that are likely to lead to litigation. Over time, OGIS intends to build a body of advisory opinions, available for online consultation by both requesters and agencies that OGIS believes will help head off disputes before they fester or lead to litigation.

Conservación: riesgos de la obsolescencia de la tecnología

Patrimonio y conservación. ¿Está en peligro la memoria de la humanidad?

Universidades, bibliotecas y grandes archivos buscan digitalizar sus tesoros; sin embargo, en tiempos en los que casi todo se guarda en la Nube, los expertos advierten sobre los riesgos de la obsolescencia de la tecnología

Patrimonio y conservación. ¿Está en peligro la memoria de la humanidad?
El patrimonio digital del mundo corre el peligro de perderse para la posteridad”, alertó la Unesco en octubre de 2003, en una carta pública que señalaba las causas de la amenaza: la obsolescencia de los equipos y programas informáticos, la incertidumbre en torno a su mantenimiento y la falta de legislación. “La evolución de la tecnología digital ha sido tan rápida y onerosa que los gobiernos e instituciones no han podido elaborar estrategias de conservación oportunas”, advertía. Era uno de esos mensajes que caen como una bomba pero se diluyen a los pocos días. Ya nadie lo recuerda. Hoy la Nube es nuestro último salto de fe, la descarga despreocupada de patrimonios públicos y privados en los espacios etéreos de la red. Buena parte de lo que hacemos, escribimos y fotografiamos ahora está en línea. Suena tranquilizador, pero la pregunta surge sola: ¿hasta cuándo?
La esperanza de eternidad de la Nube se afianza en un razonamiento técnico (se evita el soporte físico con riesgo de desgaste) pero se debilita cuando se ponderan sus limitaciones, como la velocidad de producción del hardware y el flujo de energía que necesitan los servidores. Vivimos en un mundo de expansión digital descontrolada, que en 2013 ocupaba 4,4 zettabytes (1 ZB representa un billón de gigas) y crecerá diez veces más en 2020: casi tantos bits como estrellas en el universo. La capacidad de memoria crece a un ritmo más lento que la generación de datos. Los pesimistas creen que sólo una revolución como la informática cuántica podría preservar los archivos de todos, todo el tiempo, gratis y online.
La bibliotecaria Silvana Piga, que coordina las colecciones especiales y los archivos de la biblioteca Max von Buch en la Universidad de San Andrés, encontró un clima de desconfianza en la Nube cuando viajó a un encuentro de capacitación en digitalización organizado por la Universidad de Edimburgo. Los escoceses llevaban un doble archivo de las publicaciones científicas que recibían: suscripción a bases de datos digitales y custodia de las versiones impresas bajo condiciones de temperatura y humedad controladas. “Es un momento bisagra, que genera muchas dudas”, dice Piga . “Las universidades estadounidenses compran espacio en la Nube pero nadie sabe qué pasa si se corta el acceso, qué cambios puede haber en el futuro ni cómo funciona la seguridad de los datos”.
Durante el auge de la microfilmación, una tecnología surgida al calor de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y las intrigas de espionaje, nadie pensaba en el futuro. Una publicidad de un fabricante en los años 80 alentaba: “Microfilme y tire los originales”. Era tentador. Los archivos que antes ocupaban una habitación de pronto entraban en cuatro rollos de microfilm. Aunque los rollos podían durar cien años, en unas décadas la tecnología fue reemplazada. “Ahora te dicen que digitalices todo. Es otro error”, advierte Piga, que tiene bajo su custodia 20.000 cartas manuscritas de la comunidad británica e irlandesa en la Argentina, una colección que incluye correspondencia de 1825 y testimonios de la primera colonia escocesa resguardados por sellos de lacre. “Siento que trabajo con dinosaurios”, se sincera. “Pero si esa gente hubiera usado Gmail, hoy no tendría nada”.
En El Vaticano 
Algo parecido pensarán los responsables del Archivo Secreto Vaticano. A pasos de la Capilla Sixtina, sus 40 millones de páginas documentales incluyen el Codex Vaticanus(la transcripción de la Biblia más antigua, del siglo IV), la bula papal que excomulgó a Martín Lutero y un extracto del proceso a Galileo Galilei. De sus doce siglos de historia repartidos en 85 kilómetros de anaqueles, sólo se escanearon y convirtieron a texto digital unas pocas páginas. Las cosas podrían cambiar con el proyecto In Codice Ratio, de la Universidad Roma Tre, que combina inteligencia artificial con un software de reconocimiento óptico para rastrear los textos deteriorados y transcribirlos. “Si tiene éxito, podría abrir una cantidad incalculable de documentos en archivos históricos de todo el mundo”, anticipó a fines de abril la revista The Atlantic.
Antes de subir nuestros archivos a la Nube, los cambios de formato ayudaban a poner los pies en la Tierra. Sabíamos que los contenidos podían desaparecer: hay datos que se borran, sitios que se pierden, información que ya no existe. Aunque a veces lo olvidábamos. Para celebrar los 900 años del Domesday Book -un registro general de Inglaterra- la BBC lanzó en 1986 el Domesday Project, una gran biblioteca digital multimedia sobre la vida cotidiana en Gran Bretaña. Unas 50.000 fotos y 25.000 mapas quedaron almacenados en doce LaserDiscs, un formato prometedor? que una década después prácticamente había desaparecido. Después de que un grupo de expertos lograra resucitar los archivos con técnicas de emulación, en 2011 el Domesday Reloaded estuvo, esta vez sí, disponible en Internet.
La caducidad del LaserDisc (como antes la de los diskettes de 5¼ y 3½, el Zip y el CD ROM, el DVD y el Blu-Ray) es la cara visible de un concepto angustiante, la obsolescencia tecnológica: la incapacidad de usar software o hardware cuando evoluciona la tecnología o intervienen factores externos como la humedad, las fallas eléctricas, los hongos biológicos y los virus informáticos. La dinámica se vuelve irritante con la obsolescencia programada: las técnicas de diseño y fabricación que limitan la vida útil aún cuando los componentes siguen funcionando. A finales del año pasado, Francia se convirtió en el tercer país (después de Estados Unidos e Israel) en cuestionar a Apple por estas prácticas, cuando una asociación de consumidores denunció ante la Fiscalía de la República que los iPhone 6 y 7 se ralentizaban a propósito después de actualizar el sistema operativo.
Arqueología digital 
De cualquier modo, la obsolescencia no desaparecerá. Los soportes, simplemente, seguirán envejeciendo. Algunas alternativas son la construcción de museos informáticos (preservan todos los equipos y programas antiguos, más copias y piezas de reparación) y la arqueología digital, que se parece un poco a la resignación. Como nosotros, las futuras generaciones tendrán que rescatar contenidos de medios dañados o de formatos antiguos. “En el futuro va a haber archivistas especializados en la recuperación de datos digitales”, comenta Piga.
Sin embargo, ha surgido un soporte impensado. Tiene millones de años, puede durar siglos y no quedará obsoleto: el ADN, la memoria de la naturaleza. Los métodos de encriptación permiten que una secuencia de ácido desoxirribonucleico almacene datos digitales en código binario. En enero de 2013, un equipo del Instituto Europeo de Bioinformática, en Inglaterra, logró convertir en ADN los 154 sonetos de Shakespeare y 26 segundos del famoso discurso “Yo tengo un sueño” de Martin Luther King. Los datos pueden conservarse durante dos mil años, que podrían llegar al millón si se almacenan a 18° bajo cero en instalaciones como las del Banco Mundial de Semillas de Svalbard, Noruega.
Mientras tanto, la Universidad de Washington avanza en una técnica prometedora. En un paper presentado en abril de 2016, sus científicos e ingenieros electrónicos describieron el funcionamiento de un sistema completo de almacenamiento de datos digitales usando moléculas de ADN. El equipo logró codificar la información de cuatro archivos de imagen en las secuencias de nucleótidos (los compuestos orgánicos que forman las cadenas de ADN) y revertir el proceso, recuperando las secuencias para reconstruir las imágenes. “La vida ha producido esta molécula fantástica, que puede almacenar exitosamente cualquier tipo de información”, celebró Luis Ceze, uno de los integrantes del equipo. “Estamos reutilizándola para almacenar fotos, videos y documentos de una forma manejable, por cientos o miles de años”.
Con este método, la información que hoy llena el espacio de un hipermercado ocuparía el tamaño de un terrón de azúcar. Después de siglos de buscar afuera, la solución estaba adentro.
Fuente. La Nación 

Seminario sobre archivos y derechos humanos

Archivos y derechos humanos

El AHPN tiene un potencial que pocas colecciones poseen, que es la habilidad de aportar a procesos concretos de justicia, verdad y reparación.

El pasado viernes se celebró en las instalaciones del Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional, AHPN, un seminario sobre archivos y derechos humanos para discutir los logros y retos de la colaboración existente entre el archivo y la Universidad de Texas en Austin. El apoyo brindado por esta universidad se ha canalizado mayoritariamente a través de su reconocido Instituto de Estudios Latinoamericanos LILLAS-Benson y el Centro Rapoport de Derechos Humanos.

Aunque los acercamientos sobre un acuerdo colaborativo datan del 2006, la alianza se oficializó en 2011, cuando como parte del acto celebratorio, la Universidad de Texas permitió el acceso en línea a más de 13 millones de documentos del AHPN, evitando así la necesidad de cruzar fronteras para acceder al material pero también ayudando en su resguardo y protección.

El compromiso de los directores de los centros académicos y del personal de ambas instituciones en mantener la alianza es una muestra de cómo lastimosamente, el apoyo para el resguardo de la memoria muchas veces viene de fuera y no de instituciones y funcionarios de gobierno de Guatemala, quienes deberían ser los responsables de mantener las instituciones como el AHPN a flote, dar a conocer y valorar el trabajo que emerge de este centro.

A trece años de su descubrimiento, el AHPN ha logrado ser un rayo de luz para el proceso de justicia transicional en Guatemala, la cual no se limita solo a lo que pasa en los tribunales sino también del acceso y difusión de la verdad. Y aunque mucho se ha discutido sobre la naturaleza administrativa de este archivo, que va más allá de encontrar información explicita sobre violaciones a derechos humanos, la propia naturaleza administrativa del archivo revela datos importantes sobre la burocracia militar y autoritaria que gobernó y, que pareciera sigue gobernando a Guatemala, pero que completa un rompecabezas sobre la planificación y seguimiento de políticas de terror estatales implementadas para erradicar, silenciar, ajusticiar, re-educar y aterrorizar a todos aquellos que fueron catalogados como enemigos internos.

El AHPN tiene un potencial que pocas colecciones poseen, que es la habilidad de aportar a procesos concretos de justicia, verdad y reparación. Por lo tanto, los documentos resguardados se han convertido en aliados para investigadores nacionales y extranjeros, permitiendo el privilegio no solo de analizar la historia sino de aportar con nuestro trabajo a la construcción de la memoria histórica de un país que aún no termina de recuperarse de las heridas de la guerra. Ante esto, debe valorarse el trabajo que emerge de la alianza entre la Universidad de Texas y el AHPN porque nos enseña que, dentro de la lucha por la justicia y la verdad, nadie está solo.


María Aguilar

Patrick McGrath, Doctor of the University of Stirling

On a sunny afternoon in June the University Of Stirling presented the writer Patrick McGrath with an honorary degree in recognition of his outstanding support for research and learning at Stirling. In 2015 Patrick deposited his literary papers with the University Archives, a fantastic resource for researchers of contemporary fiction, and in particular the students of the university’s MLitt course on The Gothic Imagination.

Patrick McGrath with his Honorary Degree, University of Stirling, 27 June 2018

The University Archives was delighted to welcome Patrick on the morning of his graduation and show him how his papers are being cared for at the university, the visit captured in this lovely video.

Later, at the afternoon’s graduation ceremony Patrick’s laureation was given by our University Archivist, Karl Magee. The speech, reproduced below, provides further information on Patrick’s work as an acclaimed novelist and the importance of his literary archive:

Laureation presenting Patrick McGrath for the award of Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University Of Stirling (28 June 2018):

Chancellor, Principal, Members of the University, Graduands, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is an honour to introduce Patrick McGrath today, a critically acclaimed novelist whose work consistently stages and interrogates both psychopathology and psychiatry. His novels include The Grotesque, Spider and Asylum. His most recent novel The Wardrobe Mistress was published last year. Patrick grew up in the grounds of Broadmoor Hospital where his father was the medical superintendent. Well-versed in theories of psychiatry and psychoanalysis Patrick’s works are often narrated by psychiatrists, or those suffering from mental ill health themselves. He is a writer who is fascinated by the human mind and by those spaces where both trauma and healing may take place such as the institutionalized asylum, the analyst’s office, or even the family home.

In 2015 Patrick deposited his literary archive with the University of Stirling Archives. The University runs a highly regarded MLitt course on ‘The Gothic Imagination’ which teaches his work and Patrick was keen for his archive to go to an institution where the material would be of direct benefit to academics and students.

The archive provides a comprehensive record of the author’s creative process from rough writing notebooks, to early drafts of novels, to proofs and published editions and on through promotional material, press cuttings of reviews, correspondence with publishers and material relating to film adaptations of his work. The collection will continue to grow as Patrick is committed to continuing his relationship with the University of Stirling. Indeed the manuscripts and drafts of his most recent novel have already been transferred to the archive.

The deposit by Patrick of his literary archive with the University is an act of great generosity and commitment to academic research. In doing so Patrick has chosen to support a university which teaches Gothic fiction – the critical field in which his work is often read and considered – at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Over the last few years our students have gained a unique opportunity to work with the archives of a contemporary writer. They have assisted the archives team in the sorting, arrangement and cataloguing of the collection, with a number of students going on to use the archive as the subject of their academic research. Throughout this process the University Archives has benefited from Patrick’s continued support and engagement, creating a stimulating research environment for everyone involved in the project.

This award of an Honorary Degree recognises Patrick’s support for the inclusive and ambitious academic aims of the University of Stirling. He is a writer whose outlook particularly suits Stirling’s principles and goals as he strives endlessly to understand the human mind and the human condition. This is evident in his many meditations upon Broadmoor Hospital in London, this work complementing our NHS Forth Valley Archive which includes the historical records of a number of local institutions including the old Stirling District Asylum.

Patrick’s work is of global importance, as can be seen in the international editions of his work which have been translated into many languages present in the collection, and his standing amongst contemporary critics of Gothic literature is of the very highest calibre.

Patrick’s mother Helen dreamed of opening a bookshop in Stirling. While she never fulfilled this dream I am delighted that we have welcomed her son to the city to formally recognise his most generous gift to the university.

In the name and by the authority of the Academic Council, I present to you for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University, Patrick McGrath.

Patrick McGrath being awarded his Honorary Degree by James Naughtie, Chancellor of the University of Stirling.


Pages from the Patrick McGrath Archive, University of Stirling.

White House Reform Plan Incorporates NARA Recommendations

On June 21, the White House published “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century,” endorsing goals in the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to stop accepting paper records by the end of 2022, and to achieve fully electronic records management and public access across the federal government.

David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States (AOTUS), writes in his blog (AOTUS Blog):  “The result is a reform plan that complements our Strategic Plan, puts records management at the forefront of other agencies’ reform agendas, and will help drive greater efficiency and effectiveness while making the Federal government more responsive to the American people.”

As incorporated by the White House, the recommended “Transition to Digital Government” seeks to reduce the costs and inefficiencies of paper-based records management and public-access services by:

  • Ending NARA’s acceptance of paper records by December 31, 2022, to force agency resources into implementing the fully electronic environment;
  • Coordinating between NARA and executive-branch agencies to develop guidance, technical assistance, and services required for the digital transition;
  • Engaging the General Services Administration (GSA) to support implementation by connecting agencies with commercial digitization services available in the private sector.

In addition to input from NARA, the White House reform plan supports expanding the implementation of e-records management processes begun by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The PIDB looks forward to any next steps that NARA must take to implement digital solutions affirmed by the White House reform plan, as costs and inefficiencies mount, and outmoded analog systems struggle with the unrelenting deluge of electronic records at every executive-branch agency.

Florida State: Traditions through the Eras

Florida State: Traditions through the Eras is an exhibit that traces back some of Florida State University’s most well-known traditions through the institution’s long history. What we now know as FSU has gone through many changes over the years: beginning as the Seminary West of the Suwannee River, then the Florida State College, Florida State College for Women, and finally Florida State University. Many of the symbols and practices we know today, like the school colors or the university seal, have been carried over through these iterations, evolving with the institution itself.

Cover of a 1930 Memory Book from Florida State College for Women

The exhibit is divided into four main categories: Seals, Torches, and Owls; School Colors & Honors Societies; Music & Marching; and Camp Flastacowo & the FSU Reservation. The digital exhibit further separates the School Colors and Honors Societies into two groups. More information regarding each category can be found on their respective digital exhibit pages.

The materials in this exhibit were curated in collaboration with Women for FSU. As part of their Backstage Pass program, members get a behind-the-scenes look at how things are done at FSU. Because of this collaboration, the process of putting the exhibit together was somewhat unique: instead of researching a wide number of potential materials and only gathering a select few, we gathered a wide number of materials, from which the members would be able to pick and choose their favorites. The exhibit you see today is made up of those choices. Gathering dozens of items from all over Special Collections and Archives was quite an undertaking, but getting a glimpse into the development of FSU over its existence made it a worthwhile one.

A page from a Color Rush Scrapbook

After the event, the time came to put together a digital version of the exhibit. While the physical version is ultimately limited by space, the digital exhibit could incorporate basically every item that we had initially gathered. That being said, incorporating all of those items digitally meant a lot of digitization. Through a combination of scanning and photography, the digital exhibit now contains approximately fifty of the items gathered to reflect FSU traditions past and present.

Florida State: Traditions through the Eras is currently on display in the Florida State University Heritage Museum in Dodd Hall and accessible online here. If you have any questions regarding the exhibits or the museum, visit the Special Collections & Archives website or feel free to contact us at

Post was written by Dylan Dunn, Special Collections & Archives Graduate Assistant 2017-2018.

Big Changes in the Works …

Here at the Amherst College Archives, we love sharing with our readers all the fascinating (and sometimes hidden) stories we find in the archives. But we also love sharing with you how we make it possible for researchers to find those stories themselves. It’s important to take our researchers behind the scenes to understand how the archives profession works. The department has been working on a strategic plan to better improve access to our archival material, and we’d like to share a small but crucial section of that plan. In short, our processing team is preparing to take stock of our entire collection and ensure that any hidden collections are made visible to the public.

What’s a hidden collection? Basically, any collection that the researcher does not know of – because there is no online presence to signal that it exists. Because of past professional practices emphasizing highly detailed archival processing, institutions often accumulate extensive backlogs of material to be processed.

Archival practice has moved steadily away from the practice of describing collections in exhaustive detail. Greene and Meissner’s seminal article “More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing” appeared in 2005, issuing a challenge to “many of the assumptions archivists make about the importance of preservation activities in processing and the arrangement and description activities necessary to allow researchers to access collections effectively.” Ten years later, Daniel Santamaria published Extensible Processing for Archives and Special Collections: Reducing Processing Backlogs (ALA, 2015), taking the More Product Less Process (MPLP) approach even further: “Extensible processing offers an alternative, allowing collection managers to first establish a baseline level of access to all holdings, then conduct additional processing based on user demand and ongoing assessment. Adhering to archival principles and standards, this flexible approach emphasizes decision-making and prioritization.” What both of these approaches have in common is a focus on users and access, rather than descriptive work by archives staff.

Here at Amherst, we are inspired by these monumental shifts in our profession. And we’re looking to overhaul and systematize our internal practices to better reflect these recent developments in archival theory and practice.

One immediate goal for the department is to conduct a shelf-by-shelf review of our holdings to ensure that a minimal record exists for every collection in our care, in line with the principles of extensible processing mentioned above. A minimal record means that we’ll offer a description of the collection online – it might take the form of a short finding, an abstract on the Archives’ Collections and Holdings page, or a library catalog record. Once we have a handle on this fundamental aspect of collections management, we can determine priorities and establish timelines.

We intend for the survey to accomplish the following goals:

    1. Identify hidden collections. Ensure that a minimal record for every collection exists and is publicly available.
    2. Assess each unprocessed (or reappraised) collection to determine ideal minimal processing level.
    3. Assign a high/medium/low processing priority to each collection.
    4. Look for preservation issues. Identify issues that could be addressed and investigate how to tackle these issues.
    5. Determine recommendations for digitization priorities.
    6. All collections that currently have only paper finding aids will be moved into our archival collections database (which is keyword-searchable).
    7. All accessions will be recorded in the collections database.

In the end, even if we accomplish half of these goals, the result will be a stronger archives program based in consistency and transparency for the researcher.

And what does that mean for this blog? Simply that our posts will mostly focus on highlights of the reappraisal survey – but that certainly means that we’ll be unearthing more stories to share!

“Interspecies Smalltalk” Smalltalk: David Behrman on New Sounds

David Behrman, New Sounds, March, 7, 1985

Minimalist composer David Behrman is in town this week, playing  ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn on July 20 and 21 with the Sonic Arts Union. On March 7, 1985, Behrman visited New Sounds to discuss his work with host John Schaefer. At the time, the composer was working on a piece for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, “Interspecies Smalltalk,” with violinist Takehisa Kosugi, himself an important composer and the leader of the Japanese experimental ensemble Taj Mahal Travellers.

For Behrman, writing music is less about putting notes onto paper than it is about designing systems that allow sounds — timbres, tones, and sonorities — to emerge from improvised and chance interactions between acoustic and electronic instruments. As the composer says of “Interspecies Smalltalk,” “That’s really the idea of the piece: to stress the acoustic character of an instrument in relationship to an electronic system.” The personality and attitude of the performer is a crucial element of the composition. For all the emphasis on the “system,” the music itself is warm, expressive and conversational, a chat across a digital language barrier.

Schaefer and Behrman also chat (with no apparent language barrier) about the composer’s role in the Sonic Arts Union (SAU), a collective of heavyweight minimalists who came together in the late 1960s as part of the scene surrounding the legendary ONCE festival. Comprised of the late Robert Ashley, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier, and Behrman himself, the SAU were known for their anarchic and occasionally abrasive performances, each composer presenting a piece, with the others providing for technical and musical support. Describing his music from that period, Behrman tells Schaefer that “it was more in the noise family of things. I was interested in interactive systems, but in those days, I remember using little flashlights that would make sounds and whirl around in space, and analog electronics that weren’t so involved with steady pitches … It was the discovery of those electronic sounds that hadn’t been used much by composers, but were available with the transistors in those days — it was kind of a fresh resource.”

The conversation also touches on Behrman’s time as a producer for the “Music of Our Time” series at Columbia Masterworks — where he worked on the legendary first recording of Terry Riley’s In C — as well as a “collaborative installation” he’d been working on with composer George Lewis. This project, which would later be called “All Thumbs,” was recently included on an archival release from Alga Marghen records titled Music With Memory. The piece resembled an interactive video game, with participants using a kalimba, or thumb piano, to interface with an electronic system. Like Behrman’s other work, “All Thumbs” is playful, but there’s also something radical and even transgressive about the way it erases distinctions between professional and amateur performers. Schaefer notes: “It seems almost as if the performer is the machine. You have a person standing up there playing an instrument, but once you set the process in motion, it just sort of creates the music itself.” To which Behrman replies: “Part of the idea is to make sort of game-like situations for the performers. They might be experts or they might novices.”

The two Brooklyn shows this week are being billed are as a reunion of the three surviving members of SAU, and as a tribute to the late, great Robert Ashley. Mumma, Lucier, and Behrman will all be performing, with support by like-minded musicians including Stephen O’Malley, Oren Ambarchi, Cleek Shrey, and others. Listeners will have an opportunity to experience the playful, transgressive, and possibly flashlight-induced music of David Behrman and the Sonic Arts Union.


Intersession Intermission at Special Collections

Special Collections & Archives Research Center Reading Room, the Claude Pepper Library, and the Norwood Reading Room will be available by appointment only during the dates of August 6-17. Our faculty and staff will use this “downtime” during FSU’s intersession to complete projects and prepare for the upcoming semester (as well as spruce up our spaces!).

If you need to access our collections during this time, please contact us at or (850) 644-3271 to schedule an appointment. We will resume our normal hours on Monday, August 20, 2018.

“The Way to Peace”

We were honored to partner with our friends of the State Records Management and Archives Department of Vietnam in the creation of the exhibit “Paris Peace Accords: The Way to Peace” which opened today in Hanoi. The exhibit uses textual records, film, photographs, and artifacts to tell the story leading to the negotiations which ended a war that divided the peoples of both countries.

Archivist David Ferriero at the opening of the “Paris Peace Accords: The Way to Peace” exhibit in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Alice Kamps

We contributed facsimiles from the records of the State and Defense Departments and the Presidential Libraries of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford, including film footage.  A poignant letter to President Nixon by a child in 1970 urged him to “stop the war in Vietnam my cousin is in.  And I want the United States to settle down.”

As a veteran of the war myself, this was also a personal pilgrimage. It is my first time back in the country since early 1971 when I left Da Nang as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman. In my year there I came to appreciate the beauty of the country and the kindness of the people.  And the common desire to end the fighting. So, for me, it was an emotional and joyful return.

After almost 50 years I am tremendously proud of our new friends in Vietnam as we explore collaborative opportunities beyond this exhibit.  We have much to learn from each other as we share access to our records; we are in the same business–collecting and protecting the records of our countries and, most importantly, encouraging the use of those records to learn from our past.

ISOO Report Recommends Government-wide Technology Strategy to Address Inefficiencies in Information Security

Today, the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) released its 2017 Annual Report to the President on security classification and implementation of the Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) program.  ISOO’s report highlights the high cost and inefficiency of using outmoded systems to protect America’s classified information, and recommends that the President implement a Government-wide technology strategy for the management of classified information to combat inaccurate classification and promote more timely declassification.

Based on data collected from executive agencies, the call for a common technology solution and risk management strategy to coordinate necessary improvements in the classification system complements additional findings, recommendations and judgments in the ISOO report.

ISOO also prescribes that the Office of Management and Budget consider reforming the budget process to include security classification as a line-item, as well as to prioritize dedicated funds for research and development activities and to transform acquisition practices.

ISOO’s report notes that CUI program implementation remains challenging, with too many agencies providing only limited support.  ISOO believes that robust agency implementation of compliant CUI policies designed to better protect and facilitate the sharing of sensitive information would further advance the President’s management initiatives.  However, the sluggish rate of agency progress toward this goal requires immediate White House intervention.

See ISOO’s Annual Report to the President for FY 2017, for the complete set of findings, recommendations, and judgments, based on quantitative data gathered from executive branch agencies, as required under Executive Order 13526.

Por equivocación destruyen expedientes de Archivo Judicial de Andalucía

Destruyen por error cajas con 394 expedientes judiciales del archivo de la Junta de Andalucía

El Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Andalucía instó al órgano judicial a rehacer los procedimientos, de los que sólo lleva una decena terminados

El Juzgado de Primera Instancia número 1 de Fuengirola tiene un largo camino por delante después de que, por error, se destruyeran 78 cajas de procedimientos judiciales que se encontraban en el archivo que la Junta de Andalucía tiene en una nave del Parque Tecnológico. Y es que, después de tener conocimiento de lo ocurrido, la Sala de Gobierno del Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Andalucía (TSJA) instó al órgano judicial a que reconstruya los 394 expedientes que se encontraban en el interior de las cajas afectadas.

Tal y como adelantó ayer este periódico, los documentos judiciales fueron destruidos por error en octubre, aunque no fue hasta meses más tarde cuando, al reclamar el juzgado en cuestión un procedimiento judicial, se tuvo conocimiento de lo que había ocurrido. Desde la Junta han indicado que entonces se averiguó que la empresa adjudicataria que se encarga de la gestión del archivo judicial se equivocó en la entrega de las cajas que debían ser destruidas: «Unas estaban junto a otras y les dieron las que no eran».

El propio juzgado emitió hace solo unos días una diligencia en la que explicaba: «Por causas que no pueden discernir, 78 cajas correspondientes al Juzgado de Primera Instancia número 1 de Fuengirola tuvieron salida junto con las cajas que componían la Sección 9º de expurgo, y por tanto fueron destruidas con éstas y entre los procedimientos destruidos se encuentra el presente».

Precisamente, el expediente al que se refiere este documento judicial será uno de los primeros que deban reconstruirse. Desde el TSJA han asegurado que la Sala de Gobierno ordenó al Juzgado de Primera Instancia número 1 de Fuengirola que rehaga los procedimientos que han sido destruidos, «en especial y con carácter inicial de aquellos pendientes de diligencias solicitadas por la parte», como es este último caso. Según ha podido saber este periódico, hasta la fecha han sido reconstruidos una decena de procedimientos.

No se trata de una tarea sencilla. La forma de proceder se encuentra recogida en la Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil, en la que se explica, entre otros aspectos, que las partes deben aportar los documentos para la reconstrucción del expediente. En el supuesto de que no existiera ninguna controversia sobre los extremos que afecten a la reconstrucción, el letrado de la Administración dictará decreto declarando reconstituidas las actuaciones.

Pero si hay desacuerdo, sea total o parcial, el letrado de la Administración convocará a las partes y al Ministerio Fiscal a vista ante el Tribunal, en la que se propondrá la prueba que sea precisa. En este caso, el Tribunal resolverá mediante auto la forma en que deben quedar rehechas las actuaciones, o la imposibilidad de su reconstitución. Contra esta resolución judicial podrá interponerse recurso de apelación.

Nuevo archivo

En cuanto a las quejas que ha recibido la Junta por parte de diversos sindicatos criticando la situación de los archivos judiciales en Málaga, sobre los que han llegado a decir que se encuentran colapsados, desde el Gobierno andaluz han manifestado que actualmente se está elaborando un pliego de condiciones para sacar a concurso la contratación de una nueva nave de 45.000 metros cuadrados para dedicarla al archivo de expedientes judiciales. Actualmente, se usan con este fin varios depósitos en los bajos de la Ciudad de la Justicia y en los Juzgados de Fuengirola, así como una nave en el Parque Tecnológico de Andalucía.

Desde la Junta han señalado que este concurso ya se celebró el año pasado. Sin embargo, han apuntado que quedó desierto, ya que solo se presentó una empresa al mismo, pero esta no reunía las condiciones necesarias para la adjudicación.


Celebrate July 4 with the National Archives!

This year, the National Archives celebrates the 242nd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with special events in Washington, DC, and at Presidential Libraries nationwide.

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence, declaring the United States independent of Great Britain. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved. On August 2, 1776, delegates began to sign the engrossed Declaration of Independence penned by Timothy Matlack. For a detailed history of the founding document, be sure to read “The Declaration of Independence: A History” on

As the trustees of our nation’s founding documents—the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights—the National Archives and Records Administration is a natural place to celebrate this national holiday.

For those of you in Washington, DC this July 4, stop by Constitution Avenue at 10 a.m. for a Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony, then head inside for family activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also join us for celebrations at our Presidential Libraries around the nation, or join the Washington festivities through Facebook Live, which will broadcast the events live. Watch last year’s celebration for a taste of the festivities.

Learn more and find a celebration near you on our July 4 Celebration events page. Wherever you are on July 4th, share your celebrations on social media using the hashtag #ArchivesJuly4.

 Independence Day Records at NARA

We can often take our founding documents for granted. I encourage all of us to take time during our Independence Day celebrations to read these documents and to pause and remember the difficult choices our nation’s Founders made and the meaning of these documents today.

I wish you all a safe and happy Independence Day!

Bob, Where Do You Keep Your Grammys®?

You could see them coming from miles away. By car, by plane, by automobile—hundreds of music producers, engineers, librarians, and archivists were descending on a small town in the Virginia hills. They met at the airport, hugged at the train depot and waved at each other on the street. For three days at the end of June, the town of Culpeper, Virginia (pop.17,000) surely had the highest concentration of Grammy®-award winners in the world.

The location was not arbitrary: many of the original recordings responsible for those awards are lovingly stored nearby, at the Library of Congress’ National Audiovisual Conservation Center (NAVCC), a state-of-the-art facility where the nation’s most prized recordings are kept, distributed, and promoted. That building was where the Audio Engineering Society was holding its second-ever International Conference on Audio Archiving, Preservation & Restoration—a subject that deeply concerns many passionate souls, from content creators to those in charge of preserving the content for future generations1. They descended on the town, coming from near and far, to hear talks and exchange ideas on everything from tape chemistry to metadata displays on smartphones.

This is where those of us lucky enough to attend witnessed keynote speaker Bob Ludwig (27 Grammy Nominations) speak about the audio formats he has encountered in his storied career; the Library of Congress’ Andrew Davis show amazing microscopic pictures of magnetic tape; Jamie Howarth demonstrate his astonishing Plangent Processes on music which you thought already sounded pretty darn good; European experts present advances in retrieving sound from analog records with light, not styli; engineers from Indiana and elsewhere expound on making wax cylinders sound (much) better than ever; and iZotope’s Alexey Lukin give a taste of what may be coming for sound restoration (hint: it involves big data). Among many others, stirring panels on multitrack archiving (where George Massenburg and Toby Seay dissected the supreme craft of recording engineers such as Joe Tarsia and musicians such as Stevie Wonder, and Steve Rosenthal highlighted some of his excellent reissues) and sobering accounts of the challenges posed by a lack of standards across several aspects of the music industry contributed to a rich experience for all those who attended, who could also take tours of this facility which excels not only in its physical plant but, more importantly, in its committed and passionate staff.

While at the Conference, it transpired that Nadja Wallaszkowits, long term audio preservation champion, will become the Audio Engineering Society’s next president. We applaud that step, and are confident that the audio legacy of our culture will continue to gain exposure through efforts such as this conference.

1 The first Audio Engineering Society Conference on Audio Archiving, Restoration & New Methods of Recording was held in Budapest in 2001.

PPL Renovation: It’s Here!

Those of you who follow us on Facebook or Twitter have already heard, but for blog-reading purists: PPL is beginning a major building renovation this week! We’re excited for all the changes this will bring, and the ways in which it will improve how we serve the public.

The 12-18 month renovation will affect our general circulation, as well as access to Special Collections. Notably: we are no longer holding weekly open hours, but Special Collections is still open to researchers by appointment. This Building Transformation page on the PPL website will have up-to-date information throughout the renovation. (It also has cool architect’s renderings of the new space.)

The last few weeks in the life of a Wikipedian-In-Residence

For the last three months, I have been a Wikipedian-In-Residence at the University of Stirling Archives. The last few weeks of the project have flown in, and I have been continuing to edit and create new articles for the collections in the archive.

In the last few weeks, my focus has been on Sam Black, Peter Mackay and the William Simpson Asylum which each now have an article on Wikipedia dedicated to them. The Peter Heatly and Norman McLaren articles had time dedicated to adding more information to them as well.

I have been uploading images from the Peter Mackay Collection on to Wikimedia Commons, it has been fascinating looking through the photos of Peter’s life in Africa, and I hope other people will enjoy looking at them as well. I also uploaded images from the University of Stirling Collection, an image of Forsyth Hardy and some images for Howietoun Fishery.

I worked on a #DYK (Did You Know) on Twitter to show the wonderful programs from the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) that the archive holds, but also give some interesting facts about the EIFF.

It has been a wonderful experience working with the archive, I have enjoyed learning how to add articles to Wikipedia and hope to continue to add or edit pages in the future.

Lucy Rodger is completing a Masters in Environment, Heritage and Policy at the University of Stirling.

Strathcona redevelopment files easier to find in the Archives

The Archives’ on-going inventory project has revealed some gems, including records that would be well served with enriched metadata in our AtoM database. This blog post focuses on one such body of records: appropriation and demolition files from the City’s Strathcona redevelopment projects of the 1960s. These records form part of the Property Division series COV-S305 Redevelopment files subsequent to the 1957 Vancouver Redevelopment Study.

City of Vancouver redevelopment : project 2, part of area “A”. Reference code: COV-S305: LEG1353.03

The above key plan shows the various redevelopment sub-areas in Project 2 and Project 1, which were spread across Strathcona. The bounded and numbered areas on the map above denote the various sub-areas for Project 2; the shaded areas are the sub-areas for Project 1. The detail below shows the pre-demolition land configuration of Project 2, sub-area 6, and Project 1 sub-area 3 as of August 1963. These properties were purchased or appropriated, and the buildings demolished, in order to construct the Maclean Park housing project.

Detail from City of Vancouver redevelopment : project 2, part of area “A”

The appropriation files document, by individual property, the acquisition and demolition of approximately 300 residences, commercial and industrial buildings on over 200 properties across Strathcona for Project 1, sub-area 1; and Project 2 sub-areas 5, 6 and 7. Some files document more than one property, if they were adjacent and had the same owner.

Exterior photos, site plan, and site usage notes from file 308 East Georgia Street/734 Gore Avenue. Photo: Sharon Walz

The files include pre-demolition photographs of the exteriors (and sometimes the interiors) of the properties and information about site usage for non-residential buildings. For residential properties occupied at the time of acquisition, the file also contains information about the residents and owner (if different).

Some of the appraisal and acquisition documentation from file 308 East Georgia Street/734 Gore Avenue. Photo: Sharon Walz

Many of the properties had multiple structures on site, and the files relating to them often contain a sketched site plan of the buildings.

Photographs and a site plan from file 918-930 Keefer Street, part of project sub-area 1; photo: Sharon Walz

Previously, these files had been described collectively, by sub-area. We felt that enriching the metadata about these records would make them more accessible to researchers, who most frequently search for property information by address or legal land description. So we re-described the files by address, as the records were originally created by the Properties Division.

Please note that some of the files are restricted in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as they contain non-published personal information about the residents of the properties. Researchers wishing to review these files must c0mplete the Archives’ Access to Restricted Records form.  Files that contain personal information otherwise available (such as names and occupations of residents already available in published City directories) have not been restricted.

We hope that easier access helps you make use of these records, which uniquely document the past of one of Vancouver’s most interesting and altered neighbourhoods.

Wikipedia project: month 2

Another four weeks in the life of a Wikipedian-in-residence…

For three months there will be a new addition to the University of Stirling Archives, a Wikipedian-In-Residence. The second month went just as quickly as the first; I have been editing and creating new articles for the collections in the archive.

In the second month, my focus has been driven by how many people view certain collections on the archive website. The Royal Scottish National Hospital, Forsyth Hardy and Howietoun Fishery now have an article on Wikipedia dedicated to them. Lindsay Anderson, Innerpeffray Library and the Musicians Union have all had time dedicated to adding more information to their Wiki articles.

I attended a Wiki training course on the 24th of May, and while there I edited the pages of two Scottish suffragettes Arabella Scott and Ethel Moorhead.

It is scary how quickly the weeks have flown in; however, in my last few weeks, I will be focusing on Sam Black, Peter Mackay and the William Simpson Asylum.

Lucy Rodger is completing a Masters in Environment, Heritage and Policy at the University of Stirling, her residency will run until the end of June 2018.

National Archives updates progress on ICE records disposition

The proposed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) records schedule for records related to detainees held in ICE detention facilities (DAA-0567-2015-0013) has received significant attention in the media and by concerned individuals. Because of the ongoing interest in this schedule, NARA is providing this update on the status of the review.  The draft schedule includes files documenting cases of sexual abuse and assault of detainees, as well as detainee death investigation files. This schedule was proposed to NARA in October 2015 and posted to the Federal Register on July 14, 2017. The proposed schedule was a new request for disposition authority for unscheduled records, not a request to revise an existing records schedule.

All federal agencies propose series of records to NARA for review by NARA staff and approval by the Archivist of the United States. NARA considers each submission, or records schedule, carefully, typically meeting with agency subject matter experts, before recommending which records created are permanent and which are temporary. This determination is made by NARA through the records schedule review process. During this review, NARA determines whether records warrant preservation in the National Archives (permanent retention) and whether records lack permanent historical or other research value (temporary retention) in accordance with NARA’s appraisal policy.

NARA also reviews the retention periods proposed for temporary records to ensure the period protects the legal rights of the Government and private parties. Identified permanent records will be transferred to NARA and temporary records may be legally destroyed by agencies after a specified period of time. The opportunity for public input is mandated by law through the Federal register and is integral to the scheduling and appraisal process.

As part of the regular process of reviewing the submission from ICE, NARA received an unprecedented number of comments. Comments under review by NARA include three congressional letters with a total of 36 signatures (29 house members, 7 senators); a petition from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) with 23,758 comments, a petition from UltraViolet with 1,475 signatures; written comments from 187 individuals and six organizations; and phone calls from seven individuals. Comments were received via and postal mail, and gathered from other sources such as the main National Archives email address, web inquiry forms, the National Archives Office of Inspector General, and from NARA employees who received comments directly from concerned citizens.

NARA staff have been reviewing these comments and working with ICE to address them and revise the schedule accordingly. In addition, the Archivist of the United States has directed NARA subject matter experts to conduct a comprehensive review of all ICE schedules that relate to deaths and assaults of detainees in ICE facilities.

After the public comments have been assessed and the comprehensive review is complete, NARA will require ICE to make all changes to the proposed schedule. Our plan is to publish a public notice via the Federal Register responding to all comments. We will make all reasonable efforts to notify interested individuals, such as media outlets that previously contacted us, the ACLU, and commenters who directly provided substantive comments.

Tattoo Ideas from the Updike Collection

Our Updike Collection on the History of Printing contains a tremendous number of type specimen books, many of which have sections of cuts–small, reusable illustrations that printers could purchase to illustrate books, newspapers, broadsides, and the like. (We often describe them as “historic clip art”.)

More often than not, first-time viewers of these cuts will point to one and exclaim, “Wow, that would make a great tattoo!” Which brings us to two points:

  1. If you own a tattoo shop and want to work out a deal, get in touch;
  2. We have a LOT of fun ideas for tattoos.

We’d like to present a few recent inspirations, all from a recently cataloged specimen book from the G. Schildknecht type foundry in Brussels.

Religious tattoos are always popular, but does anyone really need to see another bicep graced by a sacred heart? Why not get a unique religious tattoo, like this image of St. Nicholas with three babies in a wooden tub?


(If you don’t know the story of St. Nicholas miraculously resurrecting three babies who were chopped up and salted by an evil butcher, well, now you do.)

If that’s too tame for you, you could also get this image of an apparition of Mary in a… tree? Is that a mushroom cloud? Why don’t Mary or baby Jesus have limbs? If you know more about what this image is depicting, please let us know.


If a religious tattoo isn’t for you, may we suggest an animal? Such as…

…totally stoked cat, disheveled porcupine, maned sloth with a weird face, or side-eye sheep?

For the truly fun-loving tattoo-getter, there’s always Dionysus, which is my preliminary identification of the fun-loving and wavy-eyedbrowed gent shown here:


And finally, for those looking for a unique twist on the traditional “Mom” tattoo, how about this stylized face situation, with “Mom” on the banner?


Eileen Press Kairys

Contralto Eileen Press was born in New York City. She began her musical training at the age of three learning to play the violin eventually moving to the cello and piano. Majoring in music she graduated from NYU’s Washington Square College and sang leading roles with the Greenwich Village Light Opera Company and as a soloist in New York City churches. At the time of her July 1947 recital appearance on WNYC, she was a soloist at Manhattan’s Temple Emanu-El. Press had also sung in solo ensemble with the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra under conductor Artur Rodzinski.

Eileen Press married Dr. David Kairys in 1960. She later provided services to medical students at Mt. Sinai Medical Center’s Recreation office in the 1980s. Eileen never lost her love for playing the piano. To her last days, she was a devoted and beloved mother to her son, Stephen.

The note below was written just after the April 28, 1947 concert at the top of this page. 

Thank you note from Eileen Press to WNYC Music Director Herman Neuman.
(Courtesy of Stephen Kairys/WNYC Archive Collections)

Eileen Press also performed “Songs From the Oratorios” over WNYC on July 13, 1947 below. In both of her WNYC performances she was accompanied by her sister, Alice M. Press, on piano.

Song listing for the July 13, 1947 WNYC broadcast.
(Courtesy of Stephen Kairys)


Eileen Press Tchaikovsky and Saint Saens

Eileen Press sings Carmen

Eileen Press sings Aida

A compilation track of all of the above performances.


All audio courtesy of Stephen Kairys.

White House Transformation Plan

Last week President Trump released his plan to reform and reorganize the Federal government. I am pleased to announce that the President’s plan includes NARA’s reform proposal, “Transition to Electronic Government.” The Summary of Proposal states:

“This proposal would transition Federal agencies’ business processes and recordkeeping to a fully electronic environment, and end the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) acceptance of paper records by December 31, 2022. This would improve agencies’ efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness to citizens by converting paper-based processes to electronic workflows, expanding online services, and enhancing management of Government records, data, and information.”

The Government Reform Plan endorses NARA’s Strategic Plan goal to stop accepting paper records by December 31, 2022, and adds new expectations for Executive Branch agencies to support the transition to fully-electronic records management.

I am proud that NARA has an opportunity to contribute to the President’s plan, and I am encouraged that the Administration recognizes the importance of records management. Records management is an essential function of government, and the President’s plan allows NARA to leverage our records management policies, standards, and leadership to help streamline the Federal government.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the NARA staff for their contributions that have led up to today’s announcement. NARA’s reform proposal is the direct result of suggestions and contributions from NARA staff.

Our reform plan proposal was based on ideas contributed by staff in a staff survey, “Ideas to Improve NARA.” We also used the FY 2018—2022 Strategic Planning process to develop and refine these ideas, and collected staff feedback in a series of town halls, surveys, and participation in our internal collaboration network. The result is a reform plan that complements our Strategic Plan, puts records management at the forefront of other agencies’ reform agendas, and will help drive greater efficiency and effectiveness while making the Federal government more responsive to the American people.

Again, I want to thank our staff for their participation and contributions to this important moment for NARA. I encourage everyone to review the full report so that you can see the entire scope of the proposed changes and review NARA’s proposal.