The following is a guest post from Susan Cummings, Director of Access Programs.
At the last couple of Researcher Users Group meetings we discussed the need for NARA to periodically move records out of Archives I and II to make room for new accessions to be processed by the DC area staff. Subsequently, we posted for your reference a list of the records that had previously been moved.
Today I want to talk to you a little more about how we make the tough decisions on what records to move. In 2004 we stood up a committee to look at long-range planning for housing archival records. The committee assembled criteria to determine if records are move candidates. What are the criteria?
- The records are seldom (once in three to five years) or never used by researchers or staff.
- Use by researchers and staff can be reduced to infrequent levels by changes in work processes or procedures. (For example, the records (series) are available on microfilm, or as scanned images in our online catalog, or through a Digital Partner like Ancestry.com.)
- The level of intellectual control over the records enables users to request retrieval of individual containers (as opposed to entire series). Case Files are preferred.
- The records have no special housing requirements, except requirements for oversized storage.
- The records do not require on-site conservation services or on-site reformatting services.
- The records have no infrastructure requirements, except requirements for secure (but not classified) storage.
- Space is not or cannot be made available at Archives I or Archives II.
- The records occupy space sufficient to justify the cost of relocation.
- Sufficient space is available in the Off Site Archival Bay.
There have been some questions this week about what additional records were moving in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. All of them except RG 15 will be going to our facility in Lenexa, Kansas. Here is the list:
RG 15 – Records of the Veterans Affairs, NSO, NSC, NWO, and NWC Pension Files, A1 Entries 5-8. These are available on National Archives Microfilm Publications M1408, M1469, M1274, and M1279. There is a database listing of these materials. These records are going to the NARA facility in St. Louis that holds the archival military personnel records.
RG 21 – Case Files of the District Court of the United States from the District of Columbia, Civil Action Case Files, 1938-1969. These files are retrievable by a case number;
RG 287 – Publications of the U.S. Government;
RG 503: Court of Customs and Patent Appeals case files
RG 241 – Patent Case Files
This list was also published in the minutes from the February 18th Users Group meeting. There are no new additions or surprises.
As I promised at the February 18th meeting, I am committed to being open with staff and researchers about our plans. I welcome your insights as we struggle with providing maximum access to all our records.