I need to catch up with what has occurred at the Archives of Michigan in the last few months.  Nothing has been more time consuming than the launch of seekingmichigan.org. We went live yesterday and the site teetered for 3-4 hours before succumbing to high traffic.  It illustrated a typical problem with a new website launch.  Namely, you don’t know what you are going to get for traffic.

This site is already a Frankenstein mash-up of OCLC’s CONTENTdm and WordPress. The php nature of CONTENTdm, caching issues, high site traffic, high link traffic and our server situation all played into the temporary demise.  We started the site on a virtual host thinking there would be demand, but not huge demand and we failed to consider load testing the site (not that it would have helped in the end).  As I write this, we have seen site traffic increase 2600% since the beginning of the month.  We are in the process of moving to dedicated servers on both ends (CONTENTdm and WordPress).  It may be overkill but will help us as we launch huge record sets.

We do DO other work besides Seekingmichigan.  Archivists are working on the private collections of the Campbell Construction Company, Detroit, MI.  They pioneered the construction of prefabricated steel buildings.  Final steps are being made to open the North Country Trail collection and a large collection of Mackinac County Clerk records.

New acquisitions and collections on the horizon include the Wexford County naturalization records and the Washtenaw County Probate Records.

I will be presenting at the National Archives Preservation Conference on March 26 in Washington D.C.  The topic will be an overview of our NHPRC grant project, “Thank God for Michigan.”

Drop us a line on Twitter @seekingmichigan or visit us on youtube.com/lookaboutyou or vimeo.com/seekingmichigan.

Owosso, Michigan

July 26, 2006

July 19th: Welcome to Owosso, Michigan! If you have not spent a day here. Plan to do so in the future. Owosso, MI is just north of I-69 via M-52. It is located in Shiawassee County, near the county seat of Corunna. The purpose of my visit was to meet and advise the County Historical Museum and Archives on their collections. We had a good visit. I was duly impressed with the board’s attention to detail. Their organization and storage is better than some larger institutions. The board’s questions centered around appraisal decisions, storage medium and other administrative problems. Hopefully they will benefit from my suggestions.

One item that arose that is an ongoing problem is the locating of public documents in private organization’s holdings. State or local government records’ ownership cannot be transferred to private hands; they can be placed on permanent loan however. If you or your organization has public documents, or think you might, E-mail me at harveym@mi.gov or call me at (517) 373-1415 to discuss the options.

Owosso is filled with wonderful historic homes and factories. It is home to author James Oliver Curwood’s Castle. For you Canadians, Owosso has a 24 hours Tim Horton’s! Per the usual, I cruised the town on my way home to see the sites and share some interesting photos. Enjoy.

The Tuscola and Saginaw Bay rolling stock

Steam Railroad Institute