Well, I’ve been cornered, coerced…talked to… by my co-workers (okay, my boss) to begin adding a few words here from time to time in this space about the State Records Center. My name is Michael Shea and in June of 2012 I took over managing the state records center after working in several different divisions of the State Library and Archives Commission. I have to admit in my nine years at the Library I always had my eye on the Records Center. Why? The people here are kind, hard working, funny and are a joy to be around (unlike those mean people at the library – I kid, I kid). I actually like coming to work here. I know, it sounds like something someone would write in a blog to introduce himself…But it’s true!
I thought I’d take this first shot at a blog post to answer some FAQ’s (about the records center, you have to call if you want to know more about me).
Do you have room for boxes?
Answer: Yes! We have space and if you are located in Austin we will gladly pickup your sad and lonely records and unite them with a half million of their friends: Microfilm, Fiche, Paper, CD’s, Disaster Recovery materials, backup tapes… Actual Vinyl Records, VHS, Beta, things etched in stone. (Well, maybe not the last few)
How do I send something to the records center?
Answer: It works like the bat signal. We send you a special flashlight…Wait, no…How about a link: Records Center Services
Will you take permanent paper records?
Answer: Yes, as of early November we have decided to remove the 50 year retention restriction and now accept longer term and permanent paper records.
Do you still offer microfilming services, and if you do isn’t that a little “old school”?
Answer: Yes, we do still offer filming services, and yes it is old school. The good news is, the old school was correct in understanding this was a media that will last a very long time when stored properly (like in our environmentally controlled and fireproof vaults) which only require a means of magnification to read. How long will that hard drive last, or that CD? Well, I bought my first CD in 1989, and I can tell you it is no longer with me. (RIP Richard Marx CD)
Why should I pay to store records at the records center when I can cram it in the corner of the office for free?
Answer: Office space is expensive, and space in Austin is at a premium. Also, is that office really a safe environment for those records? Heat/Humidity controlled well? Are those records growing daily, weekly, monthly, yearly? Does a mop keep hitting the side of the box? Does Steve keep spilling things on them? Can anyone take a file and forget to replace it? Can a box be accidentally tossed away? Will the next person in your position know what’s in those boxes and be able to understand your method of indexing them by zodiac symbols? As long as you aren’t referring to those records constantly, I feel it is worth storing records in a facility designed to store records in an efficient and safe way.
Will you destroy our records when the retention is met?
Answer: Yes! … No! … Wait, this is a trick question isn’t it? Actually, we will only destroy records that have met their retention and we will only do that at the request of the agency Records Management Officer. We verify that every record has met its full retention after we receive the request to destroy records.
So if I need to retrieve a file it takes days, weeks or months?
No, we pull your file and get it on the next van run if you are in Austin. If you call in the morning, you get your files in the afternoon. If you call in the afternoon, you get them the next morning. But if you request dozens of files or boxes it may take us a few days.
Will these questions ever end?
Why do you accept only records for state agencies?
Actually, as of January 2011 we accept records from Local Governments as well.
If a train leaves Denton at 3:00 carrying four boxes of records…
Answer: Math and more specifically word problems are my weakness. So, let’s not go there.
If you have any other questions about the records center or life in general I’m here to help (You don’t want my help on life in general).
firstname.lastname@example.org 512-421-7250. I promise to write more blog posts in the future about the Records Center (My boss said I have to)…if you promise to read them.