September 21, 2001
Public Policy Research Centers and the Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress. Congressional Forum, The Capitol, Aug. 29, 2001
On Wednesday, August 29, 2001, I attended a Congressional Forum at the Capitol in Washington, DC to discuss the latest report of the Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress. This Committee, established in 1990 to review the management and preservation of the records of Congress and to report to and advise the Congress and the Archivist of the United States has issued its Third Report. The report urges members to play an active role in preserving their historical collections which constitute fully one-half of the documentation of the legislative branch. Specifically, they are advised to strengthen records management practices within their offices by devoting specific dedicated resources to records management and establishing preliminary intellectual controls over their records, either prior to their retirement or after six years of service, whichever is sooner.
Of particular importance to us, the report endorses development of statewide Public Policy Research Centers that include a strong archival component. Such Centers would make it easier to share the extensive dedicated resources needed to preserve these collections and would make the collections more accessible to scholars, who would find related collections centralized in one location. In addition, the report focuses on electronic records preservation issues and specifically endorses the National Archives' Electronic Record Archives project, which has applications for state and local repositories as well as the records of Congress.
The Baylor Collections of Political Materials meets the criteria for a Public Policy Research Center. The BCPM currently houses papers of twelve former U. S. Congressmen as well as several Texas State Legislators, one Lt. Gov., several judges, and numerous ancillary collections. To further enhance these collections, the BCPM needs to continue to contact congressional and state leaders concerning the disposition of their personal papers. In addition, the BCPM would like to work closely with other campus programs such as the Washington and Austin interns and classes which encourage political service.
- Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress. First Report, 1991. Second Report, 1994. Third Report, 2000.
- Congressional Research Centers
- Documentation of Congress: Report of the Congressional Archivists Roundtable Task Force on Congressional Documentation. 1992.
- Proceedings: Congressional Papers Conference, Portland, Main. 1994.
- Association of centers for the study of Congress
Ben Rogers, Political Materials