Drawing of State Library BuildingConnecticut State Library Home

Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Van Block Facility

February 25, 2004


Members present: Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; Fiscal Administrator Richard Kingston, CSL; Grants Manager Sheila K. Mosman, CSL; Grants Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; State Archivist Mark Jones, CSL; Catherine S. Nurmi, Sterling Town Clerk; Joan Gerdsen, Mansfield Town Clerk; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk.

Members absent: State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Patricia H. Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; Lisa A Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; Sandra Hutton, Middletown Town Clerk/Representative Town Clerks' Association; Therese Pac, Bristol Town and City Clerk; Cynthia Ladwig, Stonington Town Clerk; Karen Lee Marsden, Clinton Town Clerk; Barbara Breor, Goshen Town Clerk.

Others present: LeAnn Johnson, CSL; Bruce Stark, CSL; Lizette Pelletier, Archival Consultant; Carolyn M. Picciano, CSL; Richard Roberts, CSL; Director Division of Information Services Lynne Newell, CSL; Stephen Slovasky, CSL; Stephen Mirsky, CSL; Map Librarian Patrick McGlamery, University of Connecticut.

I. In the absence of the State Librarian, the Public Records Administrator called the meeting to order at 1:11 p.m.

II. The Public Records Administrator welcomed the board members and guests to the meeting.

III. Attendees introduced themselves since there were many guests.

IV. The minutes of November 19, 2003 were approved.

V. Fiscal Report

A. Richard Kingston reported on his testimony before the General Assembly regarding the State Library's budget. The legislators at the hearing were very pleased with the preservation program and what it has accomplished so far.

B. He also distributed the program fiscal report through January 2004. The number of filings appears to have settled down. The program is on track to receive close to $2.5 million in receipts for the fiscal year. Despite the drop in filings, revenue is still higher than last year. The town clerks have been hearing rumors of another increase in filings as the lawyers handling real estate filings are still backed up in their filings.

The Public Records Administrator reported that Bridgeport had fallen six months behind in their filings reportedly due to a change in their accounting system. The State Library requested that the Attorney General's office contact the city regarding this matter. Bridgeport is now up-to-date on their filings.

VI. Old Business

A. Workshops and Training

1. Betsy Barrett was unable to attend the meeting to report on the advanced Town Clerk School held on Friday, November 21 at the Institute of Technology and Business Development building in New Britain. The town clerks attending said that they found it helpful but wanted more detailed help. They would like to have some sessions on writing competitive grants using specific case studies. The staff will be developing such sessions once the competitive grant guidelines have been written.

2. Announcements for the wet materials workshop on March 24 & 25, 2004 at the Van Block facility have been distributed to the town clerks and posted on the Town Clerks' website. Each one-day session has a thirty (30) person limit. Currently, LeAnn has received twenty-one registrations for March 24th and eighteen for March 25th. The Hartford Fire Department will conduct fire extinguisher training in the morning. LeAnn Johnson distributed a list of document types desired for the training. She reminded the committee that participants should dress in comfortable clothing, as they will be dealing with wet, dirty items.

B. State Library Projects

1. Aerial Photographs

a. Jane Cullinane gave a short history of the 1934 aerial photographs that are being preserved. She showed copies of the aerials and historical photographs of the collection. The State Library is working with the University of Connecticut map librarian to improve access to the collection. The collection is important because it is the first state funded aerial survey.

b. Pat McGlamery gave a demonstration of the University of Connecticut's Map and Geographic Information Center [MAGIC] website which makes available the 1934 aerial photographs on-line, another 1st for the State of Connecticut. He explained how the MAGIC system evolved from a student project. To digitize the 1934 aerial photographs, the University did a test using the mosaics that included the area around the University and the Capitol. Once they determined the best resolution, they scanned all the maps. After determining the geo-spatial reference points, the images were loaded into the MAGIC system. Individuals may view the images by going to http://magic.lib.uconn.edu. Instructions for using the system are available in the February issue of the CONNservator. More sophisticated users can use Arcview software currently available at all higher educational institutions to use the maps in conjunction with the Geographic Information System [GIS] for researching land development and usage for example. Mr. McGlamery foresees a cooperative effort with the towns to include all their maps. He predicts that in three or more years one interface will exist to allow access to a wide variety of maps at many institutions and municipalities. The Connecticut History On-line project is working to add 500 historic maps from the 1880s and the 1880 census. This site is located at http://www.cthistoryonline.org.

The town clerks are digitizing their maps but have discovered a number of other issues regarding access especially if the vendor simply scanned the maps but provided no metadata to serve as an index for locating specific images.

The Public Records Administrator recommended that Mr. McGlamery do a similar presentation at the next Town Clerks Conference or possibly at their county meetings. She asked Joan Gerdsen to work with Mr. McGlamery.

2. The State Archivist reported that the editor of the Public Records of Connecticut publication project has found an unknown cache of newspaper debates regarding the Constitutional Convention of 1818. He will have to survey the various publications and select a representative selection from the various political points of view. This will delay publication until 2005.

3. During the 16 months of actual work on the court records project, the staff has processed 452 boxes of court documents. They have identified approximately 300 cases involving African Americans and 200 involving Native Americans. Defamation of character cases appears to be the most prevalent with about 1,000 cases.

Assistant State Archivist Bruce Stark has completed processing the records for Hartland. He shared a copy of the guide to the records. He will be starting on Colchester, which is a small collection. The next town has yet to be determined.

4. The Public Records, Archives and Preservation staff along with the Town Clerk of Manchester, Joe Camposeo, met for a full day with consulting fire safety engineer, Nick Artim, regarding the rewriting of the vault regulations. Based on the information gathered at that meeting, Mr. Artim will provide recommendations for the revised vault regulations. The revised regulations will require temperature and humidity control for all new or renovated vaults and will make provisions for electronic security. Mr. Artim will also work to get the national standards body to address temperature and humidity control in any future standards.

C. Grants

1. FY 2004

a. The State Library awarded 33 grants for cycle 2 totaling $276,000. The total awarded for fiscal year 2004 was 165 grants for $1,374,300.

b. LeAnn has already received 34 expenditure reports for completed grants. All expenditure reports for grants awarded last year are due no later than September 1, 2004.

2. The guidelines and applications for fiscal year 2005 have been distributed to the towns and are also available on the State Library website. The staff has already received nine applications.

3. The Public Records Administrator and the grant staff met with Steve Kliger, Eileen Downey and Professor John Mitrano from the Center for Public Policy and Social Research at Central Connecticut State University about contracting with CCSU to study the distribution of grants and make recommendations regarding future distribution of the targeted grants. The Library has contracted with the Center and their recommendations are due April 5, 2004.

4. The Center staff will also be working with the State Library grant staff in developing the competitive grant component. The target for the competitive grants is still next fiscal year, but lack of staff remains a major obstacle that the Library must overcome prior to implementing competitive grants.

D. Sandra Hutton was unable to attend the meeting and report on a Tolland Country Representative. However, Joan Gerdsen is more available now to attend the meetings as the Tolland County representative.

E. There was no other old business

VII. New Business:

A. A number of town clerks have reported difficulty accessing their local funds. This primarily occurs when a new clerk assumes office. The Public Records Administrator has drafted a new letter to chief executive and fiscal officers reminding them of the legislative intent behind the program. It has helped towns in these cases obtain access to their funds.

B. Richard Kingston raised the issue of field audits. Most other agencies don't audit the towns regarding state funds. The town clerks stated that the land recording system has built in features that create a paper trail to discourage fraudulent reporting. Mr. Kingston will explore some options for future discussion.

VIII. The meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

IX. The next meeting is April 7, 2004 at 12:30 p.m. at the Middletown Library Service Center.

Respectfully submitted,

Lizette Pelletier, Recorder

February 25, 2004