Volume, Velocity and Variety

Yesterday was a big day for TSLAC and one that brought home to me that the two sides of our agency’s house are not all that far apart.

TSLAC Electronic Records Specialist Mark Myers describing the Texas Digital Archive project at the 2015 E-Records conference.

TSLAC Electronic Records Specialist Mark Myers describing the Texas Digital Archive project at the 2015 E-Records conference.

The day for me started at the 2015 E-Records Conference, an annual event hosted by TSLAC in partnership with the Texas Department of Information Resources. The theme of this year’s conference was V3: Volume Velocity Variety. Our staff, led by Program Planning and Research Specialist Nanette Pfiester, does an outstanding job of organizing this event which explores state-of-the-art practices in the management of electronic records. This year, we had a record attendance of 420 persons representing 150 state agencies, local governments, and exhibitors.

The growing success of this conference indicates the degree to which records managers need tools and techniques to ensure that they can maintain control and transparency of these vital public records. The keynote speaker, Paul Taylor of Governing Magazine, described the ways in which government is racing to keep up with the volume, velocity and variety of the data explosion and the public’s need to access that data.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the entire conference because I was due in Frisco north of Dallas at 6 p.m. Chairman Michael Waters, Commissioner Lynwood Givens, and I participated in a check presentation for a grant to the Frisco Public Library at the Frisco City Council meeting. The grant supports an exciting new program developed by director Shelley Holley and her staff to build a collection of maker kits and STEM backpacks to circulate to children and teens. As I told the Council, this is exactly the kind of project that we love to see in libraries and that demonstrates the margin of library innovation that the federal LSTA funds allow us to encourage.

Frisco Public Library Director Shelley Holley, TSLAC Commissioner Lynwood Givens and the Library's LSTA grant funded collection of STEM backpacks.

Frisco Public Library Director Shelley Holley, TSLAC Commissioner Lynwood Givens and the Library’s LSTA grant funded collection of STEM backpacks.

Through this program, children can check out a variety of exciting maker kits and STEM materials ranging from Raspberry Pi’s and Arduinos to materials exploring anatomy, physics, mathematics, and other aspects of science. As society as a whole races to keep our citizens competitive with the same world that is delivering the technology and  information explosion that we explored in the morning, libraries like Frisco PL are proving that they have a vital role as learning and technology hubs offering fun, exciting, and cutting edge tech learning resources to young people. Visiting Frisco was a great learning experience for everyone involved including the Council, myself and our Commissioners in just how much libraries can offer.

The publics that we serve and even sometimes those of us in our agency think the records and archives side of our house is distinct and separate from the library side of the house. Like the name of our agency and the two doors leading into our lobby, one that says Archives and one that says Library. But those two doors lead to a common lobby and the same building. Like the librarians and the records managers we serve, all parts of our agency are racing to keep up with the ways that the public demands and urgently needs access to information in a highly technological world. Our government information analysts, our archivists, and our librarians are all working hard to help their professional colleagues across the state and the public find the tools they need to remain informed and competitive in the face of the volume, velocity and variety of information around us.

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