Learning about working together to create a streamlined database was illustrated beautifully by Catherine Bell and Liz O’Brien in their talk, “Strategic Allies: Archiving at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department“, using Portfolio. Portfolio is a management software designed to streamline data. Bell and O’Brien used this database to streamline access of data between divisions within the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Bell and O’Brien discussed the intricacies involved in convincing multiple departments to come together to use a singular database to access materials. Bell, an infrastructure archivist, and O’Brien, a state parks archivist, learned that, although the process was not easy. They noticed a number of difficulties arising from a lacking a streamlined process. One difficulty was trying to locate documents in divisions within the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Another was relying on institutional knowledge to determine what documents need to be kept and what needs to go through disposition. Finally, they noticed inconsistencies regarding agency use of Portfolio. Although many divisions were using Portfolio, some divisions were not, creating the need to access multiple software programs at any given time, leading to confusion.
The two came up with using Portfolio primarily as the main database to store all of the agency’s digital records.
This program contains an estimated 70,000 digital assets within the program, including historical images, that allows researchers and employees to locate data. As a result, this smooth process makes records more available to users, allows users to find documents more efficiently, and the staff began to encourage the digitization of even more documents for a more productive workflow.