Documenting the Response to the Hurricanes

November 15, 2005—Documenting the response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma on behalf of cultural resources is important. In some instances, we know that the documentation created will be deposited in an archives (eg, FEMA in NARA, activities of the state archives staffs in those archives). However, for a number of responding organizations, we have no information about where their documentation will end up. At one point it was suggested that the respective state archives in the affected states coordinate this activity. But it became clear very quickly that these organizations are much too busy to be able even to consider spearheading such an activity.

The Society of American Archivists has taken on this responsibility at this time, but we are requesting the assistance of as many people as possible to gather information for us. At this point we are merely attempting to identify the organizations that have been involved in the response effort, a contact person at each organization, and a phone number and email address. We will then compile this information and contact them to urge that they not discard any documentation until such time as definite plans can be developed. When things have settled down somewhat, a more definitive approach will be developed.

If anyone has information or knows anyone who does, please send it to Thomas Connors (SAA’s representative on the Heritage National Emergency Task Force) at or 301/405-9255 or to Gregor Trinkaus-Randall at or 617/725-1860 x 236. Thank you for your assistance