Issue Briefs & Position Statements
CoSA signs National Freedom of Information Coalition Statement on Government Transparency.
132 organizations have signed a statement to state, tribal and local public institutions voicing concerns about transparency and access to meetings and records as these institutions respond to the Coronavirus emergency. Organizations representing diverse constituencies and political ideologies have joined together to advise these governing bodies that real time public engagement in government proceedings and unfettered access to information must not be sacrificed in order to streamline deliberations and decision making.
Visit the National Freedom of Information Coalition's website to read and download the statement.
CoSA and Society of American Archivists Oppose Sale of NARA facility in Seattle
The Council of State Archivists (CoSA) and the Society of American Archivists (SAA) sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on January 30, 2020 to oppose the sale of the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) building in Seattle, Washington. This sale would result in closure of the National Archives at Seattle and the Seattle Federal Records Center. CoSA and SAA join the Congressional delegations of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington in opposing the closure of NARA’s Seattle location.
CoSA Statement on Altered Image in NARA Exhibit
Issued January 21, 2020
CoSA Advocacy Agenda, 2019 - 2022
State archives play a critical role in preserving the nation’s history and the rights of its citizens. State archival programs provide appropriate, unbiased, and effective stewardship of the historical records in their care. Consistent funding and support for the work of state archives enables them to effectively manage and make archival records widely accessible, take advantage of evolving technologies, and foster innovative projects and research.
This document outlines the focus of CoSA's advocacy work for the next four years.
Approved by the CoSA Board of Directors, February 27, 2019.
Joint Statement on Conducting Public Business in Non-Government Email Accounts
The Council of State Archivists, the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA), the Regional Archival Associations Consortium (RAAC), and the Society of American Archivists (SAA) have reissued a joint statement on the use of non-government email and other types of accounts for conducting public business.
Issued June 2015; updated November 2019
NHPRC Reauthorization Letter of Support
The Council of State Archivists (CoSA), the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA), the Regional Archival Associations Consortium (RAAC), and the Society of American Archivists (SAA) issued a joint statement urging Congress to pass HR 2978 to Amend Title 44, United States Code to reauthorize the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
Download the NHPRC Reauthorization Letter of Support.
Statements on Texas Legislative Records
The Council of State Archivists, the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators, the Regional Archival Associations Consortium, and the Society of American Archivists endorsed the Texas Library Association statement, HB 4181: An Assault on the Public’s Right to Know on May 1.
CoSA expresses its concern on House Bill 1962 - Committee Substitute that creates Section 441.206 of the Texas Code, changing the existing statutes governing archival records of the Texas legislature.
This document outlines CoSA's position on this proposed legislation.
Statement on Universal Broadband Access for All
CoSA joins with other national associations in asserting that access to the internet is increasingly essential for every citizen and resident. Yet, more than 30 million U.S. households do not, or cannot, use the internet at home, and more than 60 million United States residents lack digital readiness.
Statement on Autonomous Government Archives
Government archives have an essential statutory role in the United States that is fundamental to the effective and transparent operation and management of government. Government archival programs ensure preservation of records that document functions and actions of government; maintain public accountability and support transparency; protect and support the rights of the individuals; make possible public access to government records; and provide evidence of the past to support the work of government and the interests of its citizens into the future.
Read the Statement
Approved by the CoSA Board of Directors, February 27, 2019.
Statement on Developing and Maintaining a Strong State Archives (with best practice resources)
State archives have an essential statutory role in each state and territory in the United States that is fundamental to the effective and transparent operation and management of government. State archival programs ensure preservation of records that document functions and actions of government; maintain public accountability and support transparency; protect and support the rights of the individuals; furnish public access to government records, and provide evidence of the past to support the work of government and the interests of it citizens.
This document identifies minimal criteria that should be supported by state and territorial governments and includes useful resources to help agencies meet the criteria.
Approved by the CoSA Board of Directors August 12, 2014; amended August 11, 2014; resources added April 5, 2018.
Recommendations on Federal Archives and Records Management Issues
Joint Statement on Access to State and Local Records
June 2016: We are pleased to announce the endorsement of the Joint Statement by the Records and Preservation Access Committee. The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) is sponsored by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Genealogical Society, and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, and supported by the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen).
NHPRC Draft Strategic Plan Comments
Approved Plan, 2016
Submitted by CoSA to NHPRC January 28, 2016.
Submitted by CoSA to NHPRC in September 2015.
A New Librarian of Congress: Qualities of a Successful Candidate
Issue Brief: Adequate Funding of Government Archives and Archival Programs
Digital Access Partnerships
A number of nonprofit and for-profit entities are actively pursuing contracts with state and local archives to allow them to digitize public records in order to make these records available online. The Council of State Archivists has developed a Statement on Digital Access Partnerships to provide guidance to government archivists who are negotiating these contracts in order to ensure that their provisions reflect the long-term best interests of the records and their users.
Joint Statement on the Sale of Public Records on eBay
The Council of State Archivists has noted with concern the frequency with which state and local government records are offered for sale. CoSA is renewing its efforts to provide guidance to state and local government agencies and to the public in order to clarify laws and ensure that government records are handled properly.
Statements in Support of State Archives
History Relevance Campaign
The History Relevance Campaign is a diverse group of history professionals posing questions about what makes the past relevant today. The Campaign serves as a catalyst for discovering, demonstrating, and promulgating the value of history for individuals, communities, and the nation.