NCC Advocacy Update

NCC News, January 1989

Page Putnam Miller, January 1989

Office of Personnel Management Revises Qualification Standard for Historians

Last spring the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) circulated for comment a statement draft on qualification standards for entry-level positions for ninety-five professional occupations including that of historian. The NCC coordinated responses from the historical associations and from federal historians. Many of these suggestions have been incorporated and the final draft is a marked improvement. In recent years there have been several attempts by historians to get OPM to revise the qualifications for the Historian Series which did not require a college degree for the entry-level, GS-5 positions. Thus historians welcomed this opportunity to modify the twenty-year-old qualification standards, which many considered to be inconsistent with professional practices. The overall goal of OPM in these revisions is to establish a common pattern of education and experience for the ninety-five professions. In summarizing the proposed changes, OPM noted that the historian position has been changed to make it consistent with other professional occupations.

National Archives to Involve Users in Planning for Archives II

Planning is proceeding on the much needed new archival research facility, Archives II. Located in College Park, Maryland, adjacent to the University of Maryland, Archives II will house more than 1.5 million cubic feet of archival records and will be able to accommodate 150 researchers a day. In responding to the request for the involvement of users in the planning, U.S. Archivist Don W. Wilson, stated: "I want Archives II to be a people- oriented facility. For that reason, the counsel of our users is pivotal." The first of a series of meetings between users and those working on the architectual design will take place soon. The design of Archives II will be completed early in 1990 and construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 1993.

New York Establishes a Documentary Heritage Program

A 1984 report, Toward a Usable Past, which highlighted the serious inadequacies of New York's historical records programs, has led to passage of the New York Documentary Heritage Act. Under the new law, funding will be available for regional workshops and direct services to selected repositories as well as grants for historical records programs. The Documentary Heritage Program will be administered by the State Archives and Records Administration. It is hoped that this effort to significantly strengthen New York's historical records repositories will be repeated in other states, most of which have undersupported and underdeveloped historical records programs.