To Preserve and Protect: Security Solutions for New York’s Historical Records – Theft of historical documents plagues records repositories. With careful planning, awareness of warning signs and proactive security solutions, organizations can reduce the window of opportunity for historical record theft.

Hits: 1


Theft of historical documents plagues records repositories. With careful planning, awareness of warning signs and proactive security solutions, organizations can reduce the window of opportunity for historical record theft.

In 2008, the New York State Archives suffered a traumatic incident of insider theft. Since then, the Archives has taken great strides in evaluating and improving security and theft prevention practices within the institution. Through lessons learned from this experience, the Archives sought to share this knowledge with the archival community, and received a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to further this work.


The project website, slated for release in 2011, is a comprehensive resource that will deliver newly developed web-based tools to the archival community. These tools are intended to assist New York’s historical records repositories in increasing the security of their holdings and recovering items that may have been alienated. The website will include:

  • Information about our work
  • Who Steals?
    • Featuring case studies, demographics of thieves, warning signs and information on safe hiring practices
  • Preventing Loss
    • Providing information on inventories, accession, documentation and assessments, as well as recommendations for construction polices and procedures to protect your collections
  • First Steps When You Suspect a Theft
    • Clear tools to employ when interacting with media, donors, law enforcement and counsel in the aftermath of a theft
    • Strategies to protect the psychological well being of your repository’s stakeholders
  • Recovering Records
    • Suggestions for retrieving alienated records, including eBay searches, interactions with sellers and legal actions
  • Resource Center
    • Downloadable resources tailored to meet your organization’s security needs, including sample forms, templates and policies, brochures on identifying alienated records, best practices guides for governmental and non-profit repositories, an archival security assessment, training modules, theft response checklists and a handbook for reclaiming alienated materials
  • Clearinghouses and Alerts
    • Focusing on techniques to alert others about a theft at your repository, including use of social media websites, web-based clearinghouses and the New York Missing Materials email and hotline

Please check back in early 2011 to access this unprecedented resource! For more information on the project, contact Brittany Turner at 518-473-0130 or


“To Preserve and Protect” also offers a collaborative training initiative, comprised of 9 free workshops across each region of New York State. Security expert Mimi Bowling has developed interactive curriculum on archival security, preparing participants to take immediate action to strengthen their local security programs. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion.

Topics include risk awareness; insider theft; facility design and security technology; security of information systems; working with vendors and contractors; research room management and design; developing institutional security policies; procedures and post-theft response; additional topics as requested by participants.

All workshops will run from 9:00am until 4:00pm.

Rochester Region
September 13, 2010 (Monday)
Ontario County Safety Training Center
Canandaigua, Ontario, NY

Western NY Region
September 14, 2010 (Tuesday)
Erie 1 BOCES
West Seneca, Erie, NY

Central NY Region
October 4, 2010 (Monday)
Utica Public Library
Utica, Oneida, NY

South Central NY Region
October 5, 2010 (Tuesday)
Roberson Museum and Science
Binghamton, Broome, NY

Hudson Valley Region
March 7, 2011 (Monday)
Historic Huguenot Street
New Paltz, Ulster, NY

Long Island Region
March 14, 2011 (Monday)
Suffolk County State Office Building
Hauppauge, Suffolk, NY

Metro NYC Region
March 28, 2011 (Monday)
New York, New York, NY

Capital Region
April 11, 2011 (Monday)
Crandall Public Library
Glens Falls, Warren, NY

Northern NY Region
April 18, 2011 (Monday)
Town of Massena
Massena, St. Lawrence, NY

To register, please email or call 518-473-0130. Early registration is encouraged and appreciated; only 25 seats available.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.