Minnesota  State Archives

Special Projects

Most Recent Project

Digital Preservation and Cloud Services (2013)

The Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) is facing exponential growth in storage required for the preservation of digital collections consisting of images, audio, video, text, and other formats. The nature of this content is that it must be stored and maintained for future generations in perpetuity. It is not used in transitional applications and it requires little access beyond what is needed for preservation activities such as integrity checks and format migrations. Most of the content is high-value -- unique and irreplaceable -- and as such, the files must remain unchanged. In early 2013, MHS contracted with Instrumental, Inc. to explore the issues and costs related to cloud storage, which is widely touted as an affordable digital storage option.

Although this report was produced by Instrumental for MHS with reference to the Society's specific record types and concerns, there is a general discussion of a number of topics which is of value to the wider digital preservation community. For questions concerning use and citation of this report, please contact Shawn Rounds, State Archivist.


Past Projects

Preserving State Government Digital Information (2008-2011)

Funded by the Library of Congress’ NDIIPP program, A Model Technological and Social Architecture for the Preservation of State Government Digital Information was initially a two-year project to work with selected state legislatures in exploring methods for providing enhanced online access to legislative materials in digital form.  The Minnesota State Archives is led the effort in partnership with the Minnesota Revisor’s Office, the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, the California Digital Library, California’s State Library and State Archives, the California Legislative Counsel, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Other participating states include Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Vermont. Project information and the resulting Resource Center, the Center for Archival Resources On Legislatures, can be found on the project website.


Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) Records Management Project
During the period 2007-2008, State Archives staff worked, on a contract basis, with staff of the Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Division of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) on a records management project.  The key components of the six month project were to compile a records inventory (all formats), compile the Division’s first ever records retention schedule, and create educational materials for use by Division management and staff.  The project resulted in an approved records retention schedule, and provided resources and tools so the Division could better and more efficiently manage their records in the future.  Some selected records were transferred to the State Archives for permanent preservation and use.

Preserving the Records of the E-Legislature
In April 2005, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Office of the Revisor of Statutes, and the Legislative Reference Library launched a project to explore and test the technologies available to preserve the electronic records of the Minnesota legislature.

Department of Human Services (DHS) Records Management Project
During the period 2004-2005, State Archives staff worked, on a contract basis, with staff of the Human Services Department (DHS) on a records management project.  The key components of the project were to compile records retention schedules, provide training on records management tools and resources for DHS staff, promote information management best practices, and develop enterprise-wide records management  and standards and policies.  Records retention schedules for most of the DHS business units were compiled and approved, meetings and training sessions were held with a wide variety of staff, and resources were provided so the Department could better and more efficiently manage their records in the future.  Some selected records were transferred to the State Archives for permanent preservation and use.

Geography and History Online: Integrating Digital Geographic Resources for Use in Schools
With the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in collaboration with Minnesota's Land Management Information Center, the Minnesota Historical Society has initiated a project to provide Minnesota's teachers with the knowledge, curriculum, and tools to teach the state's new graduation standards for geography and history, using online digital resources and applications.

2003 NHPRC Electronic Records Agenda
For many years, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) has supported efforts to meet the challenges and opportunities represented by the creation, management, and use of electronic records. The materials on this web site are the result of a one-year project, funded by the NHPRC and facilitated by the Minnesota Historical Society in 2002-2003, to review past work in the subject area and to propose new directions to follow in the future.

Educating Archivists and Their Constituencies: XML and Metadata Workshops
This was a two-year project, funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), to address a critical responsibility that archives have discovered in their work with electronic records: the persistent need to educate a variety of constituencies about the principles, products, and resources necessary to implement archival considerations in the application of information technology to governmental functions. A final report was produced in 2003.

Information Policy Project
State Archives staff worked on an Information Policy Project funded by a one-time appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature during the period of 1999-2000.  The State Archives Department examined issues surrounding records management issues and electronic records, and the special needs of local government in understanding and implementing information technology in record keeping.  A number of focus groups and training workshops were held across the state with county and local historical societies, and state and local government agencies.  An on-line manual, Managing Your Government Records: Guidelines for Archives and Agencies, was a final product of the project.  This manual was last updated in September, 2009. 

Trustworthy Information Systems Project
In 1999-2000, with the support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and in collaboration with select Minnesota government agency partners, the Minnesota State Archives developed and tested a set of criteria to establish the trustworthiness of information systems. Trustworthiness means that an information system, whether computer- or paper-based, is accountable and can produce reliable and authentic information and records. Government records and record keeping systems must be accountable to citizens and elected officials.

Revised March 21, 2013