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October 5, 2015 / Council of State Archivists

CoSA Submits Comments on NHPRC’s Draft Strategic Plan

Late last month, CoSA President Matt Blessing submitted the following comments to NHPRC representing views expressed by our members at the Annual Meeting Work Session in Austin and in various committee and board meetings:

NHPRC Draft Strategic Plan
Comments from the Council of State Archivists

The Council of State Archivists (CoSA) endorses the efforts of NARA and,
specifically the NHPRC, to expand access to the nation’s historical records. It
appreciates the opportunity to provide feedback for the proposed NHPRC Strategic
Plan.

ACCESS:
• CoSA encourages NHPRC to aid the nation’s archives and historical records
repositories to fund and develop open source tools to enhance the abilities of
institutions to provide efficient on-line access to permanent records and historical
collections.
• CoSA believes that the future of access and the publishing of historical records,
manuscripts and documentary editions is primarily, though not exclusively, online.
The work of the NHPRC and its grant projects should be designed to
maximize access by the public to the products created from the Commission’s
grants – which is now best provided through the Internet.
• CoSA understands that to in order to provide online access, collections and
records need to be processed, providing the organizational foundation for digital
collections.
• The State Archives community concurs with the four objectives listed in the draft
strategic plan in the Expand Access section.

ENGAGE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE:
• CoSA encourages NHPRC to aid the nation’s archives and historical records
repositories to fund and develop adaptable open source tools to provide crowdsourcing
programs to allow mass indexing and transcription of historical records.
• CoSA suggests that NARA/NHPRC engagement with the American people
include efforts to provide awareness of the role and value of archives.
• CoSA appreciates having the State Boards provide educational training for
Citizen Archivists. We recommend that the State Board training programs
include the training of volunteers, professionals, and allied staff in varied archival
specialties.
• CoSA and its members look forward to defining the collaboration of grassroots
projects with state boards.
• We propose that NHPRC work with CoSA to develop regional State Board
training and mentoring programs to strengthen all State Boards and better
engage the individual members.
• CoSA supports the three goals listed in the engage the American people section
of the plan.

LEADERSHIP:
• CoSA would propose that NHPRC consider allowing national professional
associations (NAGARA, SAA, and CoSA) to apply for and receive electronic
records grants to provide regional and national level resources to address
specific issues which some governments cannot individually address.
• CoSA encourages NHPRC to continue to provide assistance to develop and
strengthen the records management, preservation, and access programs of
electronic records at the state and local level.
• CoSA supports the four goals listed in the leadership through the National
Archives.

PRACTICES:
• CoSA proposes that NHPRC work to strengthen the role and resources of the
State Boards. Specifically we recommend that the State Boards:
> Be encouraged to develop strategic plans addressing the historical
records, state archives, and varied statewide archival needs of the state or
territory.
> Be utilized as mechanisms to advocate and educate the public about the
role, importance and mission of archives.
• CoSA proposes that NHPRC recommend term limits be established for serving
on the State Boards at three consecutive terms, or 12 consecutive years, to keep
the State Boards vibrant.
• CoSA supports the goals outlined by NHPRC in the section related to
Commission practices.

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