The Local Record
December 2000

A Semiannual Newsletter of the
State and Local Records Management Division

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Preserving Texas' Documentary Heritage

Selecting a preservation method for government records involves understanding the distinction between various treatment methods, a careful assessment of the records to be protected, the intrinsic value of the records, and evaluation of one's resources. Preservation takes many forms. Helium-filled encasements framed in pure titanium are used to preserve the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Helium-filled encasements used to preserve documents may not be the first preservation choice for local government records keepers but other protection methods are available at more reasonable costs.

Encapsulation is a process developed and tested by the Library of Congress to protect fragile and brittle papers. It involves placing sheets of a document between two clear sheets of polyester film and sealing the film to itself, not to the document. The film is sealed around the edge with narrow, double-stick tape, or by machines designed to bond the film. The process of encapsulation is reversible without damage to the paper. It is an uncomplicated task and supplies are relatively inexpensive. Rolls of polyester film or plastic sleeves and double-stick tape can be purchased at most office and archival supply stores. Free catalogs may be obtained from conservation suppliers such as: Gaylord Bros. Partnership Services; 800-448-6160; Light Impressions 800-828-6216 or University Products, Inc. 800-762-1165.

Encapsulation is preferred to lamination primarily because the laminating process is not reversible should further preservation of a document be required. Lamination melts plastic into the paper fibers of a document by using heat and pressure. Laminates are composed of a layer of polyester film and a layer of polyethylene adhesive and the destructive, long-term aging effects of the plastics or adhesives used in lamination are unknown at this time.

The term "archive" is, by definition, a place in which public records or historical documents are preserved. Storing public records has always been a challenge for local government records keepers. The locations available to many government entities are not climate controlled and paper records deteriorate rapidly when stored in a damp, excessively humid location. A dark, stable storage environment of 60–70° F and 40–50 percent relative humidity slows the rate of deterioration, and deacidification further extends the useful life of valued papers three-to-five times. Understandably, local government resources often outweigh the need for adequate records storage and protection.

Those charters of our freedom, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, have been preserved for over 200 years and are on permanent public display in Washington D.C. The question for local government records keepers is whether or not the documentary heritage of Texas will be available to future generations.

by Harriet Roberts, Government Records Consultant

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Records Management Forms Now Online

Have you been searching for that old copy of a specific form?

Many of the commonly used Records Management forms are now on the Texas State Library web site. You can download them at:

These forms are available for download in both Microsoft Word format and in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). If you are looking for a form to use as a template, most of the Microsoft Word versions have fill-in blanks or the ability to be edited for quick and easy completion.

Forms currently available are SLR 500, 501, 503, 508, 509, 520 and 540. If there is a form that you would like to see available for download, please send an e-mail to and let us know.

Feel free to download and print these forms as needed, but please remember that even though many of these forms may be filled out electronically, you MUST send in a paper copy in order for us to obtain a signature.

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Electronic Recording Advisory Committee:
Status Report

Senate Bill 888, passed by the 76th Texas Legislature in 1999, allows county clerks to accept instruments by electronic filing and recording. The law is permissive, in that clerks are not required to accept instruments electronically, but may do so according to administrative rules adopted by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The bill also creates the Electronic Recording Advisory Committee, a permanent 19-member committee, charged with drafting the proposed rules. The committee includes county clerks, county judges, state agency officials, a representative from Fannie Mae and several title company officials. The administrative rules for electronic recording for county clerks have been adopted by the Commission and become effective December 6, 2000.

The new rules include key definitions, general requirements and procedures for the establishment of electronic filing and recording programs by county clerks, acceptable forms and methods of electronic transmission, the methods by which instruments are recorded and system security procedures to help ensure the integrity of electronically recorded instruments. Initially, the rules are confined to real property records. Technology-neutral, the rules will be flexible enough to allow for rapid changes in technology, helping to foster electronic commerce between government and the private sector. The new administrative rules can be found on the Texas State Library web site at

by Tim Nolan, Program Planning and Research Specialist

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New Staff Join
State and Local Records Managemnet

Three new staff members have joined SLRM's Records Management Assistance recently. We are pleased to welcome them to our team.

Angela Taylor joins us as the Publications Specialist. She holds a B.A. in Communication from St. Edward's University. A native Austinite, Angela has created newsletters and maintained a web site for the Austin American-Statesman's Homework-Helpline and, most recently, designed the visual elements of a training academy for Roy H. Williams Marketing. Angela and her husband Russell will celebrate their first anniversary on December 12th, and they are busy settling into their new house in South Austin. Russell is a GIS Analyst for Cook-Hurlbert. As our new Publications Specialist, Angela assumes the duties of publication and web site design. You can reach her at

Two new staff members join us as Government Records Consultants, see the website to find out if you may have a new consultant:

Steve Drake, originally from San Antonio, graduated with a Masters in History from UTSA. His concentration is World War II, European Theater, and the early Cold War, 1945-1955, and his thesis covered Harry S. Truman's foreign diplomacy during his first 120 days as president, after the untimely death of Franklin Roosevelt in April 1945. Steve worked as a graduate research assistant for the history department to help defray costs during this period. Before returning to UTSA, he was a trainer and safety consultant to companies utilizing heavy trucks (18-wheelers), where he developed or augmented safety programs, qualified drivers to D.O.T. standards, and taught classes on defensive driving to company drivers. Steve also worked in computer retail sales and training in the 1980s, and drove 18-wheelers coast-to-coast in the 1970s. You can reach Steve at

And, Jed Rogers; this "new kid" on the block is originally from Butler, Missouri. His wife's name is Debra. Debra is an RN at CTMC Hospital in San Marcos, TX. His children's names are Heather and Michael. Heather just completed her B.A. in theater at Graceland College. Michael is a sophomore at SWT University. Both children currently live at home. Jed went to school at the University of Kansas (KU) - yes, a Jayhawk. He completed his B.A. at KU. Jed also completed numerous military schools and courses. He recently retired from the US Air Force Reserves. Favorite pastimes include guitar playing, fishing and home arguments. You can reach Jed at

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