Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Playbook: Preserving Your Agency's History

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Playbook: Preserving Your Agency's History

Article excerpt

Don't let time slip by-capture your agency's past now.

For those of you working in governmental agencies, a portion of your agency history is documented in meeting minutes, planning documents and publicity materials. But do these materials capture the character of your organization?

Just as your agency has more depth than a box of plans and minutes, your strategy for archiving the history should include more than just the items that organizations are legally bound to keep. Beyond just recording your agency culture, archives may be used for marketing and community outreach. Here are some steps and resources to get started.

1. Identify a Historian

Find at least one person in the agency who may be interested in researching the agency history or is responsible for agency record keeping. It is important that this person be provided with some basic information on how to create and maintain an archive.

2. Inventory What is Available

What kind of information does your agency generate-minutes, photographs advertisements, video? What historical information has been retained? Conducting an inventory will direct the historian in knowing how much space will be needed for the archive, preservation issues that should be considered, and identify possible items that should be retained in the future.

3. Create a Contents Policy

Using the inventory and other research as a guide, the historian can create a contents policy. The contents policy can range from a list of required and desired items for the archive to a set of guidelines that might include acceptable formats for digital items, file labeling instructions or a timeframe when items should be submitted. Once the policy is written, it is important to receive management approval and support. Try to keep the contents policy realistic to the scope of time and resources available in your community.

4. Store Items Correctly

When putting the effort into preserving items for your agency, select the proper storage supplies. …

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