Minnesota  State Archives

Preserving State Government Digital Information:
Summary of 2011 Project Work


This page summarizes recent collaborations between the Minnesota Historical Society and other organizations in association with the NDIIPP project.

One goal of the project is to explore different options for preserving and providing access to government records. To do this, MHS has partnered with the following organizations/vendors:

- The California Digital Library, to test its Merritt Preservation Repository and Web Archiving Service.

- Tessella, to explore preservation options.

- Sunlight Labs, to create a Minnesota state page on OpenGovernment.org.

For more information on any of these collaborations please contact Jennifer Jones, the Project Director.


California Digital Library

Preservation repository

The California Digital Library (CDL) designed and built a preservation and access repository for the University of California system based on micro-services. Launched in late 2010, this system is called Merritt. CDL was interested in exploring what services would be important to non-University of California organizations, so MHS began working with CDL to test Merritt.

The Minnesota Historical Society worked with and explored the available features of Merritt from March 2010 - March 2011. This report describes the experience of using the system and covers the user interface in general; describes how objects can be ingested, versioned, and retrieved; available documentation; and discusses the factors to consider when exploring preservation options for your own needs.


Web Archiving

MHS has explored preservation through web archiving with the CDL's Web Archiving Service (WAS). For more information on the MHS test, please visit the Web Archiving page of the NDIIPP project.


Sunlight Labs

The Sunlight Foundation and Participation Politics Foundation (PPF) have implemented OpenGovernment.org with five initial states, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Texas and Wisconsin. Among other things, OpenGovernment allows people to track legislation, follow money trails, and contact legislators all in one spot.

Combining all of the data sources necessary to create such a site is a challenge. MHS is working with Sunlight to learn more about how Sunlight gathers data, what data is most useful, what formats and metadata are appropriate, and what can be improved upon. Minnesota will then be one of the next states added to the OpenGovernment.org site.

To learn more about best practice principles for opening up government information, review the following guidelines.

The Sunlight Foundation is also working on creating a mobile application that uses OpenStates data. Based on TexLege, the mobile app will allow users to track legislative information for the states for which OpenStates collects data.

This report, written by Sunlight, explains the purpose of both projects, the issues encountered, and recommendations for access to government data, as well as initial evaluation of both projects.



Tessella is vendor of digital archiving solutions. MHS and three partner states, Illinois, Tennessee, and Vermont, will be working with Tessella to test implementations of Tessella's product, the "Safety Deposit Box" system.

For more information, please visit the Tessella Pilot Project page of the NDIIPP project website.


NDIIPP Project Homepage


December 5, 2011; links verified March 3, 2011