On Tuesday June 14, a team of archivists were in Hampton to assist circuit court clerk Linda Batchelor Smith in completing a records inventory of the court’s record room and to transfer selected archival records to the Library of Virginia (LVA) Archive. This visit is but one part of the Circuit Court Records Preservation Program’s (CCRP) effort to assist clerks and records officers statewide in managing their records more efficiently.
A records inventory is a tool employed by archivists and records managers to gain intellectual control over a group of records and to help institute more efficient records-keeping practices. Once an inventory is completed, a records analyst will apply relevant records retention and disposition schedules – documents that inform record keepers how long they must keep and maintain certain types of records.
The LVA is charged by the Virginia Public Records Act (PRA) with publishing these records retention and disposition schedules . The PRA also authorizes the LVA’s role in ensuring that public records are maintained and available throughout their life cycle. The Library presents workshops, monitors the disposal of non-permanent records, and assists with the transfer of permanent records to the Archives.
Besides helping to better identify hundreds of years of records, the consultation in Hampton also resulted in the transfer of approximately 120 drawers of pre-1913 law and chancery case files to the LVA for processing, preservation storage, and providing secure access to researchers at the Library. Once the chancery records are processed, conserved, and indexed they will be scanned and added to the Chancery Records Index (CRI).
-Carl Childs, Local Records Director