3 Replies Latest reply on Mar 9, 2018 3:17 PM by Meredith Doviak

    Deleting ARC error-identifying comments once errors are fixed?

    techhistorynerd Adventurer

      Over the last year or two, I've added various comments to ARC records when I see something that looks like it might be an error.  In several cases the issues have been subsequently corrected (thank you!) and I'm wondering what the NARA's preference is for the disposition of the original comments in such a case.

       

      Looking at the ARC's interface, I seem to have the ability to delete a comment left on an ARC record.  At first glance this would be the correct thing to do since the originally identified error is no longer present, but doing so would also eliminate contextual information should someone who visited the page in its original incorrect state wonder why it has changed.  Since deleting the comments is (presumably) a destructive step, I wanted to check with NARA to confirm what the "preferred" action (or inaction) is.

       

      Thanks!

        • Re: Deleting ARC error-identifying comments once errors are fixed?
          Meredith Doviak Adventurer

          Cliff, thank you so much for asking! That's a great question. You are correct that your comment identifying the error provides contextual information in the event a person visited the page when it was in its original state. This is important to us, both in terms of the context, and from a records management perspective. We do our best to add a comment to the record after it has been updated to let others know a change has been made. But of course, if your judgement tells you to remove your own comment, you are certainly free to do so.

           

          Thank you for letting us know about these possible errors when you see them. We refer the question back to the custodial unit for review. If the record came to the National Archives that way (for example: a typo in the original caption of a photograph), we leave it as it, since that is considered part of the original record. In other cases, we will make the change.

           

          Thank you again for asking such a good question, and for your work as a citizen archivist!

          3 of 3 people found this helpful
            • Re: Deleting ARC error-identifying comments once errors are fixed?
              techhistorynerd Adventurer

              Meredith Doviak  wrote:

               

              You are correct that your comment identifying the error provides contextual information in the event a person visited the page when it was in its original state. This is important to us, both in terms of the context, and from a records management perspective. We do our best to add a comment to the record after it has been updated to let others know a change has been made. But of course, if your judgement tells you to remove your own comment, you are certainly free to do so.

               

              It turns out I can still edit the comment in addition to deleting it, so I updated it to reflect the fact of its subsequent correction - hopefully that will serve both the contextual and confusion minimization goals.

               

              Thank you for letting us know about these possible errors when you see them. We refer the question back to the custodial unit for review. If the record came to the National Archives that way (for example: a typo in the original caption of a photograph), we leave it as it, since that is considered part of the original record. In other cases, we will make the change.

               

              Understood - I know the preferred practice for typos actually in original records is to add the correct (or maybe modernized) version to the tags to aid searching, but leave the original as is.  The stickier problem would be when records came into the archives incorrectly categorized (for example, ship drawings in the wrong folder) - I suppose their grouping in "as delivered" form is the proper archival answer, but it makes for a nasty discover-ability problem.

               

              Thank you again for asking such a good question, and for your work as a citizen archivist!

               

              My pleasure - thank you and the NARA for the opportunity!

               

              Just so we know - if a comment about a possible error has no response or corrective action after some time period (maybe >1 year, say?) should we bring it to the attention of the contact point in the ARC record directly?  I know there have to be a million demands on the time of the folks managing the ARC and the folks who have to do the reviews, so I don't want to make any unnecessary noise until I can be sure the issue actually did fall off the radar...