Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Impact of Hurricane Sandy on NARA Facilities and Holdings

[Editor's Note: FGS just received this e-mail message from David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, describing the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration.  Also, check the AOTUS: Collector In Chief blog for future updates.]

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you and your families are well and safe after Sandy’s visit to the Northeast.

In general, NARA facilities were largely spared, thanks to extensive preparation based on “lessons learned” from similar weather events. I am grateful to all of our staff and especially to our facilities and emergency staff for your ongoing work in keeping NARA personnel and records safe.

No NARA holdings were damaged as a result of Hurricane Sandy, thanks to your careful preparation.

In advance of the storm, representatives from Business Support Services coordinated with facility managers in NARA's east coast facilities to ensure necessary preparation.

At Archives I, NARA facilities staff took several precautionary steps prior to Hurricane Sandy's arrival, including pumping down sump pits and pre-deploying the flood gates at the A1 moat openings. Additional measures implemented after the 2006 flooding including the installation of coffer dams and watertight doors, successfully limited water leakage to a minimal amount. The generator fuel tanks were filled and ready in case power was lost.

Archives II advance preparations included pumping down the rain water storage tank and securing the exterior of the building, as well as filling the generator fuel tanks in case power was lost. Power service remained throughout. There was some roof water leakage at AII, on an area of the roof that was being replaced when Hurricane Sandy hit.

The Washington National Records Center at Suitland, MD weathered the storm well with minor pipe leakage but no records damage.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, MA, had only minor leakage. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, NY, seems to have fared well, as did our facilities in Philadelphia, Waltham, and Pittsfield.

Hardest hit was the National Archives at New York City, in its new location in lower Manhattan. The building is on generator power, and NARA staff are in touch with both GSA and its contractors to assess the site as soon as possible.

And, the Office of the Federal Register remained open and published during the two days that the government was closed in Washington.

NARA preparation also included the posting of a newly updated Records Emergency Toolkit available to NARA staff on which includes a First Response Checklist and other useful resources:

While NARA facilities overall fared well, we know that other archival facilities did not. NARA staff are reaching out to state archivists whose states have been affected by the hurricane. Agency Services and Research Services are poised to advise and coordinate with Federal agencies on any needed records recovery operations.

Thanks again to all of you for your hard work, and my hope for a speedy return to normal for those affected by the storm.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stop By and say Hi to Accessible Archives in Charleston!

The Charleston Conference 2012

Each year hundreds of librarians, vendors, and publishers make a pilgrimage to Charleston, SC.

The Charleston Conference is an informal annual gathering of librarians, publishers, electronic resource managers, consultants, and vendors of library materials in Charleston, SC, in November, to discuss issues of importance to them all.

Begun in 1980, the Charleston Conference has grown from 20 participants in 1980 to over 1,400 in 2011.

Stop by and see Iris Hanney at table 13, with Accessible Archives, at the Vendor Showcase if you are at the conference.

Visit Accessible Archives’ blog:


Tom Nagy, COO
Accessible Archives, Inc.

Iris L. Hanney, President
Unlimited Priorities LLC

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Free Content for Genealogy Society Publications from Flip-Pal

Flip-Pal mobile scanner recognizes that resources at many genealogy societies are stretched thin. It can be difficult to create the necessary content for use in society publications that can attract the attention of both current and prospective members.

One way that Flip-Pal can help: providing free articles for use in genealogy society newsletters and other publications. There are no real restrictions involved; Flip-Pal simply wants to get the word out about some of the current and important topics involving the genealogy community. Society leaders and publication editors are encouraged to use the information as they see fit—in a society’s newsletter, quarterly/journal or even on a website or blog.

The latest free article is entitled The Why of Genealogy, which contains ideas on what motivates genealogists in their search for ancestors and how that passion is created and sustained. Click here for more information on how to download and use this article.

Friday, October 12, 2012

FGS Announces 2012 Election Results

D. Joshua Taylor Elected President; New Board Members and Directors Include Cherie Bush, Kris Rzepczynski, and Melissa Shimkus

October 12, 2012 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces the results of its recent election for FGS board members and directors. The election was conducted online September 1 - 30, 2012 with all FGS delegates eligible to vote. Office terms for those elected will begin on January 2, 2013.

Current Vice President of Administration, D. Joshua Taylor, was elected to fill the two-year term of FGS President. With the recent election results, Pat Oxley, outgoing President of FGS states, “The newly-elected and re-elected FGS Board members comprise a diverse group of committed genealogy professionals capable of transforming genealogy societies in the 21st century.”

“I’d also like to thank outgoing Directors Jana Broglin, Gordon Erickson, Mike Hall and Sue Tolbert as well as Past President Wendy Elliott for their service over the past term. Their contributions have been essential to our growth at FGS and an increased awareness of the importance of genealogy and family history,” Oxley added.

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