The official but not complete end.

Today I led the official closing project meeting with OMA and MTG’s key staff. I really couldn’t have asked for a better response. We went through best practices for erecords from file titles to storage organization. We even cleared up erecord backup and archiving. We made it through the RRS and how that interacts with future donations to OMA, and more specifically how all of this can be integrated into their future workflow. Each of these brought up great questions and discussions which confirmed that MTG is in a good place, even if not done all at once, to integrate the tools provided and move MTG forward while still managable for the staff to take on.

While I will still be at MTG for the next few weeks finishing out grants and financials and also being available for future assistance as the staff incorporate the best practices and RRS along with archive donation preparation, I am using this moment to say “wow!” Especially after completing my final paper covering many aspects of the project and remember all the steps, issues/puzzles, and people along the way, it has been a great experience and opportunity to be part of the joint MTG/OMA project.


Posted in Archives, Digital, Disposition, Electronic records, Miracle Theatre, MTG, OMA, Oregon Multicultural Archive, Project Management, Records Inventory, Retention, RRS | Leave a comment

Fillin’ Fixin’

Not quite glamorous but necessary. I had started the Grants series, making folders for each grant. The grants had been originally separated by tabs in year binders so I moved each grant into its own folder (year>grant). 8 hours and 2 boxes later, I had a good 200 folders, fully organized and easily searchable. However, after seeing OMA (while prepping for the exhibit) had grouped some folders together while doing final processing on their end rather than a folder per unit that I had originally completed such as creative contracts, and their interest in keeping the folder count low, I knew I had to do some reshuffling. So instead, I created folders for years and separated the the grants by folded sheets of white paper with the grant name on the sheet. So while it ate up a few hours, it was important to put the order in place. And when I moved forward with later years, I felt confident completing a series that would not need additional or changed foldering on OMA’s end and fit their interest in lower folders. At the same time, the archival schematic will be complete with all grant names and accurate on the box and folder level.

It’s a simple lesson in incorporating changes rather than letting them slide or build up. Sure, I could have left them as is and maybe OMA wouldn’t have refoldered to use few folders but I wanted to find a system that worked for both OMA and MTG. In the end, that’s what’s important.

Posted in Filing, Miracle Theatre, MTG, OMA, Oregon Multicultural Archive, Processing, Project Management, Series | Leave a comment

Putting it all on Paper

Besides the actual processing, I’ve done a whole lot of writing, or more specifically typing, about this project whether here in the weekly blog, status reports, or other small write-up. However my focus of late is the completion of my OCP final paper, which I have come to label as my thesis. As I write about the project, both in the nitty gritty, the theoretical (aka a chiunky Lit Review), my response to the theoretical, subject-specific issues, and so on, I amazed about how much I can actually write on the subject. But what really amazed me is the giant Appendix I have amassed for the paper. Roughly half the size of my final paper, it includes everything from the original archive schematic to how-to-manuals. And then there is the MTG RRS, legal research for the RRS, the server drive format – old side by side with the new. It also includes thumbnails of two PPT presentations, samples of excel spreadsheets too big to include complete. I didn’t even try to include the erecord inventory excel worksheet which I had to print (which I very rarely do) and came out to well over 70 pages. That’s all to say that a lot of work has been done along the way, not just when sifting through boxes and organizing papers, photos, videos, etc. But with each series, there has been an excel spreadsheet, additions and updates to the schematic, reflections on issues and concerns that have come up along the way.

This past weekend, OMA hosted an event celebrating the opening of their MTG exhibit along with the housing of the collection. The exhibit included artifacts from MTG’s prop and costume to support 5 panels covering aspects of MTG (performance, outreach, building, history, education) which included scans of items in the collection along with information collected from the collection. I was also able to pick out a few MTG boxes from the stacks and spread out items for people to view/handle during the event such as pictures, programs, teaching manuals, the first bylaws, letters of appreciation; all with a copy of the complete boxes contents list. It was a great high to see it all together. I might have sounded a bit fanatical about the importance of performance arts archiving but it was a pleasure to share some great moment during the process, some of my favorites, and appreciation for both OMA and MTG.

That being said, I still have to finish writing my paper and next week I’ll be back in to keep working on the grants and financials series. Until then…

Posted in Audience, Documentation, Exhibition, Miracle Theatre, MTG, OMA, Oregon Multicultural Archive, Writing | Leave a comment

Creating a USABLE RRS

In the past month, my focus has been on creating the RRS for Miracle Theatre Group. Since the concept of an RRS is new to MTG staff, including the Exec. Dir., and a traditional RRS format could be too daunting for them to easily implement, my focus has been to create a USEABLE retention schedule that MTG could easily integrate into their work flow. So instead of creating a document that would be hard for them to penetrate, I created a RRS that would be easier for them to comprehend. In an excel spreadsheet, the headers included Group, Retention Period (RP), Action After RP, Correlating Archive Schematic Series & Subseries, and Correlating Server Drives & Subfolder. I included that last two to help bridge the gap so that these would be more easily identifiable and easier to find.

The Groups (below) were based on functions group defined during legal requirements and considerations research in 2012 for an OR retail business which included nearly all relevant business functions of MTG. Research found that nonprofit status did not change any of these, including the additions of donations and grants. To fulfill the full spectrum of MTG records, I went through the MTG drives and archival scheme to determine any additional record groups that were then added into the RRS; nearly all off these were for cultural/legacy interests. I also moved groups to archives after retention for that reason when traditional RRS may destroy these.

However, before the RRS can be enacted, the MTG electronic records will need to be organized in the server across drives on the higher folder levels. The PPT presentation being given to MTG key staff and OMA liaison in early May will include best practices for working with eRecords, specifically titles, where to save etc., and why these changes need to happen. These were mostly based on reviewing their labeling, storing, and interaction with records in the eRecords Inventory (as well as working through the MTG archives).

Ideally, I think it will be easier and more consistent if one person does the reorganizing of the server drives since this will consist of mostly moving top folders from one drive to the other and renaming a few top folders for consistency. (I must admit its hard for me to not do this for them however due to time, that’s not possible.) If one person (such as the ED) cannot do all of the reorganizing of the server drives as laid out in a document I’ve been calling “MTG Drives – Reset,” I’m going to suggest that MTG staff members update the drives they each submitted screenshots. Except for Jose (ED) who sent me Y: Jefe and Z: Backup (& Archive), staff sent one unique drive each.

This weekend, I head over to OMA for the joint opening of the MTG collection as well as a local african dance company. I’ll be talking a little about the collection and the process that got us there. At the same time, I’m working on the grants and financials however these will actually be accessioned in separately from the collection series previously dropped off. In order for the collection to be open to the public, donor forms and contracts needed to be secured which state specifically what has been donated up to that moment. Since grants and financials were not done by then, I will continue on with these to be dropped off in June.

I actually had a great talk with the ED this morning about copyright and use contract that is part of the donor agreement but I’ll will keep that for another post. In the meantime, here’s an example of one record group from the RRS. After the OMA Log is the complete list of record groups, broken down by function and groupings outside of traditional functions.

Function Group: Grants & Fundraising

Record Group: Grant Applications

Retention: CY+5 years

After Retention: To OMA

In Archival Scheme: S11: Grants & Donations

In MTG Drive: V: Grants & Fundraising > FY09-FY15 Grants + > Grant Documents


OMA Log Week #35

Date    4/8/14

Description of Activities:

  • Completed MTG server drives reorganization for better preparedness for RRS, future archive additions, and space use.
  • Completed first draft of RRS
  • Completed first draft of MTG PPT presentation which includes best practices and next steps
  • Continued working on grant collection for archive

Questions / Challenges:

  • Making a clear exit strategy so that MTG has the resources and skills to move forward after gone

What to Work on for Next Time:

  • Finalized RRS & Best Practices
  • Continue with Grants


RRS Records Groups by Function:  

Productions, Programs & Events

Articles (Reviews, not by MTG)

Actors Equity, ADA, etc



Outreach & Education



Stage Management




Grants & Fundraising

Contribution Requests

Donor Research


Fundraising Events

Grant Applications

Grant Research




Customer Records

Accounts Payables

Accounts Receivables







Human Resources

Job Descriptions

Staff Meetings



Benefit Enrollment/Participation



Personnel Files

Space Rentals


Workers Comp / Accidents & Injuries

Employee Medical Records

Benefit Plan Admin



IT (Information Technologies)

Hardware & Software + H&S Reference

Network & Computer Access




Third Party Discovery

Articles & Bylaws

Board Actions

Board Committees

Board Communication

Board Minutes

Board Profiles

Board Retreats

Board Roles & Responsibilities

Business Organization & Incorp.


Creative Contracts

Goals, Missions, & Visions

Policies & Procedures

Insurance Claims

Insurance Policies

Litigation & Claims

Milagro Development Group

Permits / Government Compliance




Organization History

Press Releases

Social Media


Marketing Material







Assessments & Appraisals

Building Financing

Capital Projects

Operating Agreements

Property Rights & Permits





Executive Director Reports

Organization Reports

Organizational Structure

Strategic Plan




Oversized Prints & Artwork


Electronic Record Storage



Praise & Appreciation

Posted in Archives, Digital, Disposition, Electronic records, Exhibition, Miracle Theatre, MTG, OMA, Oregon Multicultural Archive, Records, Records Inventory, Retention, RRS | Leave a comment

Time & Money

So after not being on site for the last two weeks, I was able to catch up with Jose, MTG’s ED, and casually check-in about the eRecords inventory, questions for Jose based on my findings that will help define how to proceed on the RRS and best practices, offer a short reflections of some of the best practices I’ve looked at so far, and show him the first draft of the MTG RRS. All in all, pretty good though there’s still more to do. My focus has been on taking the time to construct an “usable” eRecords Best Practices and a manageable RRS that can easily be integrated into MTG–rather than building an RRS or strangling procedures that MTG does not have the time or the resources to fully sustain.

So far:

* eRecords inventory based on staff computer and server screenshots

* Notes and questions based on inventory which will be the base of the eRecords Best Practices

* A reorganizing of the server drive folders for smoother management of MTG’s eRecords

* First draft of RRS, utilizing previous RRS for an Oregon business crossed with the MTG records inventory and archive schematic

And onto the money; I started the Grants series today. The most pre-organized series to date, these records were mostly stored in binders by year and broken out by grant organization, which will hopefully make the series move quickly than other paper series but only time will tell.

Just a few binders of grants, 1988-2012. The last seven years will actually stay at MTG but will get the “archival treatment.”


The “archival treatment;” removed from binders and put into archive folders first by year then alphabetically by organization. Those grants that were rejected will be kept but go into a separate “Year: Rejected” folder at the end of each year.

IMAG0654 IMAG0655


OMA Log Week #34

Date 4/1/14

Description of Activities:

  • Checked in with Jose, asking questions in order to move the RRS and eRecords Best Practices forward with MTG’s needs in mind
  • Began Grant series

Questions / Challenges:

  • Taking the feedback from Jose, building together an RRS and eRecords Best Practices that scales MTG’s present and future capabilities beyond the project

What to Work on for Next Time:

  • Continue Grants series
  • Continue RRS & eRecords Best Practices


Posted in Archives, Digital, Disposition, Electronic records, Filing, Miracle Theatre, MTG, OMA, Oregon Historical Society, Processing, Project Management, Records, Retention, Series | Leave a comment

Keeping Up with Education

I’m currently attending a conference presented by the National Association of Automobile Museums. This may seen quite separate from the work being done at MTG but many of the sessions look at trials and tribulations of collections and engagement with audiences. While I have obviously been thinking about World of Speed (racecar museum) as the Archives & Collections Manager, I can’t help but see how these can shape my own NWPAA (Northwest Performing Arts Archives) moving forward, and taking a step further to MTG/OMA. One session was specifically about audience/patron as participant and “activating objects as social objects.” Another focused on territorial marketing, including “sticking to your story.” While one talked about manufacturers/private vs nonprofit expectations of collections, another hit specifically on the sometimes strained relationship between conservation versus restoration. Issues around exhibition ranged from supporting non-experts to labeling/storytelling whether in print or on the web. As OMA takes on the collection, they will likely be hitting on many of these issues whether consciously or not.

Posted in Audience, Exhibition, MTG, OMA, Stories, WOS | Leave a comment

Let the eRecord Management Begin.

I’m knee-deep into MTG’s eRecords, piecing together how the MTG staff uses their computers, server drives, and dropboxes.

The first thing was to take the folder screenshots for each of the five staff’s computer and dropboxes, as well as each of the five server drives, and create an excel workbook that commonly went 4-5 subfolders deep to the file level. That allowed me to look at the scope of their records, what structures are/are not there, and how items were commonly grouped.

The next step was to cross-reference the archive schematic and confirm if or what record subseries were covered in both the archive as well as in the active eRecords. This will be important when determining if or how series will be retired over to OMA once inactive.

At present the server contains five drives. One drive each focus on grants and productions. Another drive focuses on  a wide range of series ranging from accounting to building to website to outreach/education folders. In many ways, it covers the majority of subseries defined in the archive schematic. The fourth drive is focused on backup while the fifth is a mix of archive and what seems to be an extension of the ED’s files. The folders on the staff’s computers are, as expected, connected primarily with the staff’s work functions, sometimes making copies of the files on the server. Luckily, most these have a corresponding series on the server drives. An dropbox is primarily used as working collaboration files however it does seem that they stay on far after finalized. This could be because this is also as a way to share folders that might want to share offsite, without server access.

At the moment, I’m collecting organizational concerns and questions based on my observations which will ultimately go towards a best practices suggestions.

Looking at how records are being used and organized, I’ve decided to look at the server drives as the grounder for defining best practices for staff computers and dropbox folder organization and file naming. But first the drives need to be cleaned up. Consistency & Clarity! I’m also thinking about how this will affect the fulfilling of a RRS.

There’s still a lot more that needs to be done. I plan to be neck deep very soon.

OMA Log Week #33

Date    3/18/14

Description of Activities:

  • Compiled notes, trends, concerns and questions based on MTG eRecords inventory
  • Created first draft of reorganization of server drives’ main folders based on folder and file organization and use observations, along with archive schematic

Questions / Challenges:

  • Working out best practices and suggestions that work with MTG’s active, semi active, and archival eRecords

What to Work on for Next Time:

  • Best practice and tiered suggestions for folder/file organization
  • Work on RRS


Posted in Archives, Data, Digital, Disposition, Electronic records, Filing, Miracle Theatre, MTG, OMA, Oregon Multicultural Archive, Processing, Project Management, Records, Records Inventory, Retention, Series | Leave a comment