This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Texas Digital Archive (TDA). In that five years, Texas has gone from being one of the few states without a digital repository for state government records to being a leader in this area of archival preservation.
The Texas Digital Archive was born with a special appropriation by the Texas Legislature in the 2015 session. Aside from an acute need (TSLAC staff had requested the project the two previous sessions), the impetus to act was the transfer to the Archives of the Governor Perry records. That records transfer in January 2015 included more than seven terabytes of data in electronic format. The project also launched with about 18 terabytes of digital audio files of recordings from Senate meetings. From that initial 25 terabytes of data, the Texas Digital Archive has grown to include 69 terabytes, representing over 5.4 million unique files.
The intention of the TDA was always to contain archival records from all state agencies and all branches of government. In this way, the TDA will comprise a one-stop-shop for state government and researchers seeking access to Texas government records of permanent value to the state. The TDA now contains the records of a number of state agencies and contains records from all branches of government.
The TDA now contains the following notable collections:
- Complete records from the Austin and Houston districts of the Texas Department of Transportation
- State agency operating budgets and most recent LARs
- Digitized records of all governors from Sam Houston to Richard Coke (1859-1877) and Governor Thomas Campbell (1907-1911).
- Supreme Court case files for the years 1840 to 1892
TSLAC Electronic Records Specialists Mark Myers and Brian Thomas are the lead TSLAC staff working on the TDA project. As the content of the TDA grows exponentially each year, Mark and Brian also work continuously with TSLAC’s contract partner, Preservica, to provide technical enhancements, including improved end-user interface. These improvements to the look and feel as well as the usability of the TDA will help the public move effectively navigate the millions of resources found on the site.
TSLAC has had a robust digitization program for the last decade, generating more than 150,000 digital files, including historical photographs, audio recordings, reformatted film from Texas agencies, along with the thousands of paper documents now accessible online. All records in the TDA are unrestricted, and are thus available for public use, including for scholarly research, journalism, teaching using primary source documents, genealogy and family history, and creative arts purposes. Patrons may browse collections, perform keyword searches, and view and download records through the online portal.
In five short years, the Texas Digital Archive has grown to become a huge collection of resources related to the history and government of Texas. As the resource continues to grow, it will occupy an ever-greater role as a one-stop point of research for researchers as well as for libraries and archives across Texas. We encourage you to explore the TDA and learn about the rich array of resources that are available now and we urge you to watch as the content of the TDA continues to grow.
Texas Digital Archive, https://www.tsl.texas.gov/texasdigitalarchive