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Meeting of the Board of Regents | May 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 - 11:00pm

sed sealJeff Cannell signature                                                                                                 










New York State Historical Records Advisory Board Strategic Plan


April 28, 2008



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Issue for Discussion


The State Historical Records Advisory Board’s five year strategic plan draws attention to the critical needs and priority activities to guide and assist New York’s historical records repositories.  Discussion will focus on how to encourage action to improve access to and use of New York’s historical records. 


Proposed Handling


The co-chairs of the State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) will brief the Regents on their recently completed Five Year Strategic Plan for New York’s Historical Records.  This plan is used to identify key needs and directions for over 3,000 organizations in New York that preserve and make accessible the documentary heritage of this state.  Members of the Cultural Education Committee will have the opportunity to question the partners and discuss the plan, its implications for New York's cultural heritage, and strategies for implementation in detail.


Procedural History


The State Historical Records Advisory Board is responsible for providing advice and guidance to New York organizations holding the historically significant documentary record of the people, places, and events in New York from colonial times to the modern era.  The nine member citizen board is appointed by the Commissioner of Education, and works in close cooperation with the State Archives.  It also works in collaboration with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the funding arm of the National Archives.  Since 1988, the SHRAB has regularly developed 5 or 10 year strategic plans designed to both preserve the documentary resources of this state, and most importantly, to make them widely available to  students, teachers, academic and community scholars, and a host of users both in New York and nationally.  The new strategic plan serves as a framework for funding and services provided through the Archives’ Documentary Heritage Program, as well as providing funding priorities for grants made by NHPRC to New York institutions. 


Background Information


The State Historical Records Advisory Board is a strong partner of the State Archives and a respected leader in New York's historical records community because of the leadership role it has assumed on behalf of the keepers and the users of this state's documentary heritage.  The SHRAB's current strategic plan is designed to focus on key needs and issues that must be addressed in order to ensure a future for New York's past.   The Board has identified the priorities in five areas: 


  • Managing archival electronic records;
  • Emergency planning/preparedness for historical records repositories;
  • Ensuring the retention of archival records of the governor and legislature;
  • Providing education and training in archival practice; and
  • Increasing funds for historical records repositories statewide.


In order to accomplish these priorities, the Board is also working actively in partnership with the State Archives and with regional and national organizations to ensure needed resources are made more available for New York's historical records repositories.  In collaboration with the State Archives over the past five years, the SHRAB has sought and received funding for five grants totaling over $1 million from NHPRC and the National Endowment for the Humanities to support historical records work in this state. 


As funding for the Documentary Heritage Program, the Archives' regional services and competitive grants program has received from state resources only $500,000 per year since 1993 through the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund, the SHRAB has taken the initiative to seek additional resources through State and Federal funding agencies.  The Board continues to pursue federal funding resources including a recent State-National Archives Partnership application to the NHPRC to support training in electronic records issues for small colleges and universities.  It also is working in collaboration with SHRABs in the other states and the Council of State Archivists on the Preserving the American Historical Record (PAHR) initiative, a bill recently introduced by Congressman Maurice Hinchey and Utah Congressman Chris Cannon to provide $50 million to states for formula-based grant funds.   This initiative is part of the Regents Federal Legislative Agenda.




The SHRAB encourages the Regents to continue and actively support the Preserving the American Historical Record initiative at the federal level and include historical records and the organizations that manage them in current and future initiatives such as the Digital Collections Proposal and the Museum and Cultural Education Act.