Meeting of the Board of Regents | July 2007
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
New York State Archives World Trade Center Documentation Project
July 10, 2007
Issue for Discussion
The Archives has worked with colleagues in New York’s archival community to identify and ensure the preservation of records documenting the rescue, response, and recovery efforts following the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. Progress in this effort will be shared with the Committee for discussion and advice.
The Regents will review the progress in documenting the attack on the World Trade Center and will discuss the opportunities and challenges in continuing this work as part of the Archives’ mandate to document the history of New York State.
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center irrevocably changed not only New Yorkers but also the nation. Documenting this event is essential, therefore, to ensuring a comprehensive historical record. The disaster precipitated an astonishing array of activities and reactions, and the historical record needs to be both equitable and correspondingly broad. Moreover, the wide variety of media (paper, websites, video and audiotape, e-mail) that document the disaster and its aftermath make preservation and access particularly problematic.
Just two weeks after the attack, the historical records community in New York, under the leadership of the New York State Archives and the National Archives Northeast Branch began taking concerted, collaborative action to address these issues. With initial funding from the Archives Partnership Trust to assess conditions and needs, the Archives obtained a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to support efforts to identify records and ensure they be placed in archival repositories.
Topics for discussion will include:
- Progress in ensuring the survival of documentation from state government, New York City government, federal government, and the private/non-profit sector; and
- Collaboration and coordination with the New York State Museum, the New York City archives and museum community, and with family/survivor groups; and
- Directions and challenges for continued efforts to document the attack on the World Trade Center.
Staff recommend that the Regents support further efforts to ensure the identification, preservation, and accessibility of the archival record documenting the World Trade Center attack. Key components for success will be: strengthening partnerships with the archival and museum community and family/survivor groups; ensuring the necessary technology infrastructure and fiscal/staff resources to accomplish this work.
Timetable for Implementation
Work began in September 2001, and needs to continue for the next decade as records of government and private/non-profit organizations become inactive, hence in danger of being destroyed.