Hawaii State Archives Advocacy and Outreach: a long-term investment in digital preservation

Aug 01, 2016

By Gina Vergara-Bautista, Archivist, Hawaii State Archives


Hawaii State Archives, is part of the Archives Division, Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS). Information and Communications System Division (ICSD) is also part of DAGS. Office of Information Management and Technology (OIMT, renamed Enterprise Technology Services in 2015) was originally with the Governor’s Office and was moved to DAGS and merged with ICSD in 2015. Any funding requests from the Legislature or the federal government, or partnerships between other state departments requires approval from the Comptroller, the head of DAGS.

Digital Preservation Advocacy and Outreach

Digital preservation advocacy and outreach began for Hawaii State Archives over ten years ago in 2005. Susan Shaner, the State Archivist at the time, received travel funds from Library of Congress to attend a workshop regarding digital preservation. She was able to bring one other person with her so she decided to ask the head of ICSD to go with her to learn more about digital preservation. The act of bringing the head of ICSD into the Archives fold fostered support and understanding between Information Technology (IT) and Archives.

This partnership paid off in the form of gaining a host for the Hawaii State Digital Collections (digitized records and indexes made available online for public research such as Government Office Holders; Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese Passenger Manifests; Land Indexes; Name Index; Subject Index; Certificates of Registration, National Register of the Republic of Hawaii; Official Journals of the Legislature of the Republic of Hawaii, 1895-1898; Judiciary Records, Tax Ledgers, 1847-1900; Vital Statistics Collection, and World War I Services Records) which the Archives was able to create through partnerships with other institutions such as the Law Library Microform Consortium; Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library; Office of Hawaiian Affairs; and the University of Hawaii Law School. A draft metadata standard was created by a dedicated group from State of Hawaii IT, State Library and State Archives.

In 2005, legislation legalizing the use of electronic records as official records passed because of major support from a key legislator, Kirk Caldwell (current Honolulu Mayor), representing the district where the State Archivist resides. He was contacted by the State Archivist and educated on why we need an electronic records law. With the passing of the 2005 electronic records bill, the State Archivist began talking to the State Comptroller about the need for digital preservation and sustained digitization of government records to ensure access and to preserve original paper records.

With management support, a budget request for $120,000 each year was submitted for FY 2008 and 2009 to fund a Digital Archives Consultant, two technician positions and a production scanner. Although the Legislature approved funding, Governor Linda Lingle did not release the funds for the consultant due to a projected budget shortfall. In 2009, the State Legislature launched the paperless initiative starting with Senate records. In the same year, the Archives submitted a grant application to National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to fund a Digital Archives consultant to support a planning project for the establishment of a state digital archives. A two year grant totaling $72,500 was received from NHPRC and the Digital Archives Project began in 2010.


Digital Archiving: The Challenges and Opportunities Presentation on September 2010

Outreach in the form of presentations, focus group sessions, meetings, and records management training with state agencies was conducted to educate government agencies on the risk of losing historically valuable digital records. Representatives from all 19 state departments, one county government unit, and University of Hawaii Library staff attended these outreach sessions. All 19 departments were represented in the online survey conducted to gain a comprehensive understanding of the state of digital records issues and awareness within the State.

Hawaii hired its first Chief Information Officer (CIO) in 2011. As the CIO began looking for projects, he noticed a well-developed Digital Archives Project. When Hawaii State Archives asked the Legislature for funding, partial funding was provided though OIMT. Three-year project staff consisting of a Project Consultant, a Lead Software Developer, an Acquisitions Specialist and four Digital Archives Specialists (part-time interns) were hired. During the three year development cycle, project partnerships with the Legislature, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), OIMT and ICSD were established. The Archives was even able to convince Bureau of Conveyances, DLNR, to provide $200,000 of their funds to cover the cost of development because their statute requires them to guarantee preservation of real property transfer records.

In 2013, with support from the Legislature, DAGS, DLNR, OIMT and ICSD; Archives set out to update Hawaii statutes pertaining to Archives. Definition of “government record” was updated to include records of any format. The duties of the State Archivist were expanded to allow for asking state agencies for their electronic records to ensure preservation. A special fund for digital preservation was created which generates about $450,000 per year via the collection of $1.00 for every land transfer recorded at Bureau of Conveyances, DLNR, and business record submission at the Business Registration Division, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. These records are scheduled for permanent retention and the $1.00 fee is considered a preservation fee. There was some push back from some State agencies regarding the legislation but the State Archivist explained to them that the Archives will not be affecting their ability to charge and collect fees for their records.


Photograph of State Archivist Susan Shaner (right) with members of her Digital Archives team, (from left) Digital Archives Specialists Taylor Kennedy and Robert Patch, Acquisitions Specialist Micah Takabayashi, Project Consultant Adam Jansen, and Systems Developer Dongie Agnir for Electronic Records Day 2014.

The Digital Archives Project was scheduled to complete in October 2015. Although the project has met staffing issues which has slowed its completion, the hiring of the Digital Archives Consultant, Adam Jansen, as State Archivist ensures continuity in management and technical support for the project. Project staff positions are being converted to permanent positions. Part-time Digital Archives Specialist positions are being converted to one Systems Operation position.

Digital preservation advocacy and outreach continues as the Digital Archives development reaches completion and the State Archivist begins asking state agencies for digital records of enduring value to be deposited into the Digital Archives for long-term preservation and access.


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