AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Texas State Library and Archives Commission Turns to the Cloud to Launch Texas Digital Archive

In February of 2014, it was announced that the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) would receive the records of outgoing governor Rick Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas State history, who served from December 2000 to January 2015. This was the first transfer of electronic records to the State Archives, and needed to be both securely preserved for the future and made accessible to the public.

Governor Perry’s records comprised approximately 7 terabytes (TB) of data, including a diverse array of video files, still images, office files, press releases, email correspondence, policy documents, and general files; in addition, TSLAC also had 18 TB of digitized audio cassettes from the state senate it needed to securely preserve.

With one year to go before needing to make Governor Perry’s records public, the team at TSLAC faced the challenge of not having a suitable system in place to digitally preserve and make accessible these important and historical state electronic records.

“Defining our requirements and selecting a standards-based digital preservation system for our electronic government records has been a year-long project involving an extensive formal tendering process. Preservica’s software, hosted on AWS GovCloud (US), stood out as a clear choice, not just in terms of meeting all our requirements, but also based on the company’s reputation and track-record with the other State Archives,” said Jelain Chubb, State Archivist and Director, Archives and Information Services Division at Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Government organizations, like TSLAC, are using digital preservation systems alongside their existing Content and Records Management systems to ensure digital records remain readable, usable, and trustworthy. In particular, the new system needed to offer a secure and easy way to provide public and internal access, as well as have minimal local IT overheads. “The physical cost of server space in our own state data center was prohibitively high and unsustainable for our agency,” says Mark Myers, Electronic Records Specialist at Texas State Library and Archives Commission. “A cloud deployment frees us of needing to have onsite software, servers, and IT maintenance.”

In addition, the system needed to accommodate the stringent requirements of the Texas Department of Information Technology including encryption of data in transit and at rest, which was achieved by hosting on AWS GovCloud (US). The AWS GovCloud (US) region is designed to address the specific regulatory needs of United States federal, state, and local government agencies. It is an isolated AWS region purpose-built to host sensitive data and regulated workloads in the cloud.

Myers continues, “Using cloud storage also gives us geographical dispersal of multiple copies of our data which is a key digital preservation requirement.”

Chubb also believes the cloud is the best solution for TSLAC: “You don’t have to be afraid of the cloud. Many government agencies are looking into cloud solutions because it means that they don’t have to build something from the ground up or worry about hardware and software, or have in-house IT support. It is one of the reasons we are now sharing our original Request for Proposal (RFP) with other state governments interested in leveraging the cloud to preserve and provide access to their own long-term and permanent digital records.”

Learn more about the Texas Digital Archive. And learn more about Preservica’s Cloud Edition hosted on AWS GovCloud (US) and how it delivers secure, digital preservation, and public access for the state’s archives.