Slice of History - Records & Information Management Month
Did you know that the JPL Archives is part of the Records Management team? Data created at JPL - whether project documents, presentations, reports, financial and facilities documents, photos, employee newspapers, or oral histories - always passes through the hands of your resident Records Management Specialists and Archivists! Information management is crucial to our ability as a Lab to create the future by building upon our past. This photo, taken 7 October 1970, shows a “File Improvement Workshop,” which was a program on efficient filing procedures. It was instructed by Gilbert Dorame, the special projects officer from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which is the authoritative body on archival and records practice in the United States.
Today, the Archives team shares in various records management duties, including Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, managing the Paper Records Inventory (PRI), and helping JPLers put and find materials in storage. They share with Records the management of digital information, including digitized photos, microfilm, and record documents through online tools and databases, like the Master List of Records Categories (MLRC) and Alfresco, and work to preserve analog materials through digitization efforts. Records and Archives are two crucial parts of the information lifecycle, and the Records Management and Archives group (319G) is your go-to for all things historical JPL. In the words of Chief Engineer, Rob Manning, “As we all know, JPL’s mission is to add to the world’s knowledge of Earth, the solar system, and the wider universe. Building the hard and soft machinery to do that means that we need to acquire and share our own knowledge so that we build on the capabilities of each generation of engineer and scientist. This doesn’t happen automatically – we each need to actively curate that knowledge, information, and data so that those that come along after can firmly stand on our shoulders. The talented and passionate JPL Records and Archives group (319G) are chartered with helping us each do that. I count on them to keep me and the rest of us alert to what we must remember and to be partners in helping us find what we need to do our jobs.”