ACQUISITION & PRESERVATION SERVICES
Acquisition and Preservation Services supervises the identification, management, and conservation of the permanently valuable records of Maryland State and local government. It provides digital-imaging, microfilming, photocopy and photographic support to all aspects of State Archives work. This department also manages, coordinates, and promotes the preservation digital-imaging services offered by the State Archives in Annapolis and at its Baltimore facility. In addition, this department provides logistical and technical support, and assists in the development of standards and techniques used in imaging projects.
Conservation Lab, State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland, 2001.
Acquisition and Preservation Services is made up of three major divisions: Geographic Services, Imaging Services, and Preservation Services.
GEOGRAPHIC SERVICES (plats.net)
Geographic Services establishes intellectual and physical control over plat collections, processes images for posting on the Internet through plats.net, and gives timely and efficient customer service to system users. In promoting Archives' products and services, Geographic Services also is an effective liaison with the judiciary, other state agencies, vendors, and private sector customers.
In 2001, the main focus of Geographic Services was to roll out plats.net, which provides on-line documents relating to land use and ownership in Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City. A web-based, searchable presentation system, plats.net reflects the mission of the State Archives to provide greater access to public records. Overall project management of the system is vested in this division.
During CY2001, Geographic Services installed the plats.net system in 15 jurisdictions: Allegany, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Prince George's, Somerset, Talbot and Wicomico counties. By the end of CY2001, all of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions will be on line with the system. For plats.net, as of July 1, 2001, the division had posted 442,130 descriptive web pages (htmls) and 281,370 images.
A pilot project for scanning more than 60,000 right-of-way plats of the State Highway Administration (mdroads.net) also was developed in CY2001 by Geographic Services.
Imaging Services is responsible for basic image acquisition, both from original mylar or linen documents and from microfilm. Division staff track, process, inspect, duplicate, and provide customer service for a broad array of public records on microfilm that are made available to public and private sector customers on an ongoing basis.
In CY2001, Imaging Services processed and duplicated microfilm for a variety of government agencies. Imaging Services also maintains over 40,000 reels of microfilm for the Archives.
Preservation Services conserves and cares for archival records, maintains their physical integrity, and assures their longevity and accessibility. This division also provides condition assessments and performs treatments needed to prepare damaged materials for scanning.
During CY2001, Preservation Services undertook a condition survey of the works on paper collection within the Peabody Art Collection, and completed extensive restoration of a rare wall map of Washington County, created by Thomas Taggart in 1859. A reproduction of the map also was made to hang in the Washington County Circuit Court. At the same time, Preservation Services preserved and prepared for imaging the Olmsted drawings from the Friends of Maryland's Olmsted Parks and Landscapes.
Taggart Map of Washington County, Maryland, before restoration, 2001.
In January 2001, the Supervisory Conservator returned from her Fulbright Sabbatical in Egypt where she lectured on conservation at the University of Cairo and the University of Alexandria in addition to assisting the Egyptian Museum in Cairo on long-term preservation issues. At Munich in June 2001, the Supervisory Conservator represented the State Archives at the international conference that focused on biodeterioration of museum and archival collections.
Major challenges facing Acquisition and Preservation Services derive from its function as a major income-producing node for the Archives. These challenges center on continuing roll out and enhancement of plats.net in an environment of shrinking General Fund appropriations and a stagnant economy. This department is challenged to:
- coordinate component parts of the production team to achieve smoother, more efficient operations
- refine work procedures enabling us to achieve enhanced production goals
- maintain and deepen working relationships with outside agencies, entities, and vendors
- maintain the pace at which new materials are added to plats.net
- maintain the pace at which new materials are transferred to the custody of the Archives
- enhance the agency's physical ability to create, manipulate, and store electronic data
- develop standards and best practices for creating, manipulating, and storing electronic data
- re-dedicate staff to its high standard of customer service
- provide necessary training to departmental staff
- find additional sources of secure funding
- develop new projects
- acquire and keep needed resources; financial, material, and personnel
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