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A Report Card on the American Historical Record: CoSA Program Development Initiative

Products and Goals | Survey Mangement Team | Blue Ribbon Panel

First Semester/Part I:
Assessing State Government Records Services

During 2004-2005, CoSA will:

Survey state archives and records programs to assess current conditions, measure progress against the results of earlier studies, identify solutions that can be implemented across state lines, highlight areas of common concern that can and should be addressed collectively. Based on the survey results, the project will then define benchmarks and program measures to enable state archivists to evaluate and improve their programs.

Survey each State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) to understand its administrative structures, programs, services, and constituents. The results will help identify what services and tools could help improve the State Coordinators’ skills as board administrators, ensure that every SHRAB member understands the purpose of the NHPRC Records Program and his or her role in implementing it, and establish benchmarks and guidelines that define an effective SHRAB.

With the guidance of a Blue Ribbon Panel, develop an Action Agenda to ensure preservation of and access to our nation’s historical records. CoSA expects this agenda to emphasize a cooperative approach involving all of those who create, care for, and use archival records. As a foundation and starting point, it will harness the collective strength of the federal-state partnership formed by the NHPRC, the state archives, and the SHRABs to move the agenda forward.

Survey Management Team

The project calls for a rigorous assessment and evaluation process that will examine the status and assess the effectiveness of state archives and records programs and State Historical Records Advisory Boards in the United States and its territories. Assessing the current conditions will be accomplished through a comprehensive survey of state archives and records programs and SHRABs.

The Survey Management Team will determine the scope and content of the data collection instruments, oversee the execution of the surveys, and be responsible for compilation and initial analysis of the results. The Survey Management Team will comprise two state coordinators, two members of the CoSA Board of Directors, a consultant specializing in survey design and program evaluation, an NHPRC staff member, and CoSA staff. The chair of the CoSA Communications Committee will also participate as an ex-officio member of the Team.

Blue Ribbon Panel

A Blue Ribbon Panel of representatives from principal user and constituent groups, allied professions, NHPRC, CoSA, and the SHRABs will provide oversight and direction. The Blue Ribbon Panel will, first, help define the goals and objectives of the survey and review the draft survey instrument for effectiveness, and, second, review the results of the surveys and the analytical report prepared by the Survey Management Team, and use them to evaluate organizational effectiveness in the state archives and SHRAB. They will use the data and their assessments to develop an Action Agenda for the next decade.

Concurrent Projects

Project leaders will take care to coordinate the survey with concurrent projects. These include the A*CENSUS, a comprehensive census of individual archivists being led the Society of American Archivists (SAA) with funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Heritage Health Index (HHI), being developed by Heritage Preservation in cooperation with IMLS. Together, these three survey projects should provide an in-depth picture of the individuals who care for historical records, the conditions of the records themselves, and the state-based organizations that encourage and implement these programs.