Last week President Barack Obama made minor news when he incorrectly signed the guest book at Westminster Abbey in London “24 May 2008.” Obama did not make the same mistake when, as a U.S. senator from Illinois and Democratic presidential candidate, he signed the guest book at the Virginia Executive Mansion on 17 February 2007. Obama was the keynote speaker at the state Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond. Governor Tim Kaine endorsed Obama for president that night, becoming the first governor outside of Illinois to endorse a 2008 candidate for president. The guest book page signed by Obama is a good example of what archivists call a record with secondary value. The Society of American Archivists defines secondary value as “the usefulness or significance of records based on purposes other than that for which they were originally created.” The significance of the guest book is derived from future events: Obama winning the 2008 presidential election and Kaine’s importance as an early supporter. Another example of secondary value is a 21 July 1987 letter written by Mark R. Warner to Governor Gerald L. Baliles. The content of the letter is quite ordinary – a young businessman wants to get involved in Virginia politics and requests a meeting with the governor. The letter’s secondary value originates from Warner’s election as governor in 2001 and United … read more »
Looking for the Web site of Governor Tim Kaine (2006-2010), which was taken down at the end of his term? The Library of Virginia can help. The Web sites of the Kaine Administration (Governor, First Lady, Cabinet Secretaries, and his initiatives) are preserved as part of the LVA’s Virginia Web Archive.
Since 2005, the LVA has been “archiving” Web sites of enduring cultural value, especially those created and maintained by Virginia government. We started with the administration of Governor Mark Warner (2002-2006) and expanded into special topics of Virginia interest, such as the 2006 Senate race between George Allen and Jim Webb, the 2007 and 2009 General Assembly elections, the 2008 Congressional elections, and the Virginia Tech tragedy. We are already archiving Web sites of the Governor Bob McDonnell Administration, Virginia’s 2010 Congressional candidates, and various organizations that have donated their paper records to the Library.
-Roger Christman, LVA Senior State Records Archivist