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Strengthening Archives: Online Learning for Historical Records Programs
Strengthening Archives is a standards based online needs assessment tool intended to help small to mid-sized historical records repositories in New York State evaluate and improve their ability to collect, preserve and make historical records available to the public. The information presented on the Strengthening Archives website provides general context for the needs assessment and is not intended to replace more detailed training such as Basics of Archives or workshops offered by the New York State Archives.
The Strengthening Archives website is divided into topical sections each of which includes a brief introduction to the topic, links to professional standards, and a downloadable assessment worksheet. In addition, many of the Strengthening Archives pages include images, videos, and sample forms that provide real-world examples of how to implement archival standards and best-practices.
Each assessment worksheet has a series of questions designed to provide a general review of a repository’s policies or practices and a list of suggested projects for improvement. As you complete each worksheet, you will gain an understanding of the strengths of your program and identify areas for improvement. While the worksheets contain suggested projects that you can undertake to improve your program, they are not exhaustive and your local situation may require other solutions.
You can use Strengthening Archives to conduct a comprehensive assessment of your repository as part of a long-term planning effort, or focus your evaluation on a single topic or group of topics that need improvement. If you are using the site to conduct a comprehensive assessment, we recommend, if possible, convening a committee of stakeholders to participate in the process.
Strengthening Archives was made possible by a State and National Archives Partnership (SNAP) grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) awarded to the New York State Historical Records Advisory Board.
Susan D’Entremont, Regional Archivist, Capital District Library Council