To Which We Serve: Processing in the Navy Archives

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TO WHICH WE SERVE:

Processing in the Navy Archives

NAVAL HISTORY & HERITAGE COMMAND

NAVAL HISTORY & HERITAGE COMMAND

 Museums: 11 museums, 1 Heritage Center, Nautilus & Constitution. Nationwide: over 1M artifacts  Art Gallery: 30,000+ paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures  Library: 150,000+ books  Archives: 40,000 cubic feet  Historical Services

LAWS & REGULATIONS

 Federal Records Act of 1950 as Amended  Executive Orders (12958, 13291, 13526)  Mandated by SECNAV M-5210.1

 SECNAVINST 5210.8D (Records)  SECNAV 5513.16B (Declassification)

OVERVIEW

• Providing proper access to records is a primary mission of U.S. government archivists • – – – Processing Challenges – Environment • • • • Location Construction Light/heat/humidity Office/work space Backlog Staff Classified material

ARCHIVES

• Largest single repository of permanent Navy records outside of NARA • • • • 3 sections Aviation Ships Operational Archives – Official Records – – – Personal Papers Biographic File Oral History Collection

OPERATIONAL ARCHIVES

 CNO & VCNO: Immediate Office files  CNO: Key subordinate offices  Command Operations Reports (CORs)  NHHC business records

OPERATIONAL ARCHIVES

 Papers and memoirs of officers, enlisted personnel and civilians of the U.S. Navy  Focus on individuals whose records include service after January 1, 1939

“Except for the northwest third, the land gently sloping upward from the waterfront was created by landfill.”

CHALLENGE: ENVIRONMENT

CHALLENGE: ENVIRONMENT

• • • • • L o c a t i o n Established October 2, 1799 Washington Navy Yard is located on the banks of the Anacostia River Initially ship building and dock yard; by 1894 became an ordnance factory & supply depot • • Buildings • Building 57 Ordnance school: 1866 • Building 44 Laboratory: 1890 • • Building 108 Laboratory & Ordnance office: 1902  B u i l t w i t h p e r m e a b l e b r i c k  Today permeable brick is used for pavements & walkways. Why? Because of its ability to absorb water and effectively manage runoff

CHALLENGE: ENVIRONMENT

 Light: Accelerates deterioration; damage is cumulative & irreversible   Windows    42 windows that measure 8.5’ x 8.75’ (108) 8 windows that measure 4’ x 6.5’ (44) Minimal coverage; no control of UV radiation Lighting  Florescent lighting through buildings  108 florescent fixtures; no UV filtering sleeves or low—UV fluorescent tubes  Heat & Humidity: Accelerates deterioration; chemical reactions   Heat/humidity. From June 1-july 22. 90 readings - only 10 showed humidity below 60% Fluctuations in temp & relative humidity are rule not the exception

CHALLENGE: PROCESSING

• Backlog • Manuscript collection: Approximately 27,000 cubic feet • 8,500 cubic feet are partially processed, unprocessed or not accessioned • No accurate finding aid (paper or electronic) that can show what is in Collection or where it is located

CHALLENGE: PROCESSING

• Staff – – – 8 full time staff & 1 part time contractor 2 FTEs assigned to processing Interns & Reservists • • Interns: may have archives experience but no clearance Reservists: may have clearance but no experience • Space – Insufficient space to house personnel, properly process collections, or store supplies

CHALLENGE: CLASSIFIED MATERIAL

 Integrated throughout collection  Declassification review should be done only after preliminary processing  No control on what gets reviewed; declass review conducted by contractors  NARA will not accept records without initial declassification review

SOLUTIONS

 Enforceable Collection Development Policy  Develop strategy to manage collection & reduce backlog  Codify procedures  Increase staff  Provide high quality training  Modify office space  Improve environmental conditions

SOLUTION: PILOT PROJECT  Preser vation, Declassification, Digitization and Cataloging of Historical Documents on Microforms      Message traffic from 1950s – 1970s No paper copies 11, 000 reels of microfilm, some of that are acetate-based, which in combination with poor environmental conditions resulted in vinegar syndrome 1,100 reels converted to silver-halide; 300 digitized Purchased stand-alone refrigerator with dehumidifier to provide cold storage for microfilm  Unable to plug in refrigerator because of high relative humidity

CONTACT INFORMATION

Bobbi Posner Archivist [email protected]

Naval History & Heritage Command http://www.history.navy.mil / "...a fine thing is the preser vation of public records. Records do not change, and they do not shif t sides with traitor s, but they grant to you, the people, the oppor tunity to know, when ever you want, which men, once bad, through some transformation now claim to be good."  Aeschines, 330 BCE

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