Where were you on September 9, 1994?

8 12 2015

At the Rolling Stones concert at Spartan Stadium, of course!


That night, 46,000 MSU students, alumni and community members attended the first ever rock concert at Spartan Stadium – the Rolling Stones on their Voodoo Lounge tour, with Lenny Kravitz opening. The only other concert held in Spartan Stadium was seven years later when U2 performed for more than 65,000 fans on June 26, 2011.

Renovations to the stadium were completed just in time for Stones concert and included a new tunnel large enough for trucks to haul in the stage and lighting. When assembled, the stage was 92 feet tall and 220 feet wide, stretching across the entire north end zone.

“The set was pretty amazing. There were massive balloons that dwarfed the stage. The Rolling Stones, and their backup singers, were phenomenal,” remembers University Archives cataloger Susan O’Brien. Fireworks accompanied the final song, and the Stones sang their classic Jumpin’ Jack Flash as an encore.


Video footage from the Rolling Stones concert was recently discovered among the Archives’ film and video holdings, which we’re digitizing with help from our many supporters. Your gift to the MSU Film and Video Preservation Fund will preserve valuable footage like the Rolling Stones concert and our treasured history of Spartan athletics and campus events.

To contribute to the MSU Film and Video Preservation Fund visit archives.msu.edu/giving.

Photographs of the concert and a set list can be viewed on our On the Banks of the Red Cedar website.

Written by Ed Busch, Electronic Records Archivist

Upcoming Closings & Holiday Hours

2 12 2015

Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections will be closed the morning of Wednesday, December 9, 2015.  We will reopen at 1:30 pm that day.  Due to an all day staff meeting, we will be closed Tuesday, December 15, 2015.

The following changes will also be made due to the fast approaching holidays:

December 21-23, 2015                              By appointment only

December 24-25, 2015                              Closed

December 28-30, 2015                              By appointment only

December 31, 2015-January 1, 2016         Closed

Please contact the University Archives to schedule an appointment or for more information.

We are sorry for the inconvenience and will try to accommodate researchers’ requests as best we can.

We will resume our normal reading room hours on January 4, 2016.

Happy Holidays!

Anthony Koo: From Chinese Diplomat to MSU Professor

17 11 2015


Thanks to the MSU Department of Economics, the papers of Anthony Y. C. Koo are now available to researchers in the University Archives & Historical Collections.

Professor Koo, a native of Shanghai, grew up in a family that was open to Western ideas, unusual in China at the time. He graduated from St. John’s University, a highly-respected institution in Shanghai which had both Chinese and Western students. He then came to the United States, earning a master’s degree at the University of Illinois before completing a doctorate in economics at Harvard.

The majority of Professor Koo’s papers concern his appointment as an advisor to the Chinese delegation of the Far Eastern Commission, which was formed by the Allied Powers in 1946 to develop the policies and principles which would guide the post-war occupation of Japan. The Commission included representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and France; Australia, Canada, and New Zealand; India, the Philippines, the Soviet Union, and the Republic of China.

The Far Eastern Commission papers provide a little-known perspective on the complex regional and global politics of the late 1940s, and the economic challenges facing Japan after the war. The material will be a valuable resource for students and researchers in history, international relations, and Asian studies.

Professor Koo worked with the Far Eastern Commission until 1950, when he joined the economics faculty at MSU. He was honored with the Distinguished Teacher Award in 1956 and the Distinguished Faculty Award in 1976. Both Professor Koo and his wife, Dr. Delia Koo, were enthusiastic supporters of MSU, and the academic wing of MSU’s International Center is named in her honor. Professor Koo died in 2011.

Written by Sarah Roberts, Acquisitions Archivist

Electronic Records Processing

26 10 2015

When most people think of an archive, they naturally gravitate to images of faded photographs, journals of soldiers from past wars, silent film reels, and the like. And it’s true – the Archives here at Michigan State University is full of such vital remnants of our cultural legacy.

However, our society is now generating another type of legacy – a digital one. One made up of computer files and digital media. What’s surprising to most people is that this legacy and these digital items are actually in danger of disappearing far sooner than your grandmother’s photographs from the 1930s.

How is that possible?

One of the biggest reasons, and the one that I am going to explain here, is obsolescence. This is a subject familiar to anyone over the age of 30 who grew up playing video games and waxes nostalgic over the old Nintendo cartridges, or even Dreamcast discs, that can no longer be readily played. Obsolescence occurs when new technologies are developed, making the older ones, well, obsolete.

As the rate of changeover between newer technologies increases, as we have seen it do over the past few decades, digital materials created on older technologies can become lost when their media can no longer be accessed or if the software they were created with is no longer supported.

I’ll give you two examples in one. Your father wrote a book on his Mac twenty years ago and saved it to a floppy disk. If you wanted to scrounge up that book and launch your father to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list, you’d have a bit of work ahead of you. First of all, you’d have to find a machine or use an adapter to read that disk. Computers nowadays don’t even have floppy drives. Second, the program that he used to write that book was probably discontinued fifteen years ago. The file will need to be converted if a newer program cannot read it.


Examples of older media that we work with at the Archives. The most iconic is probably the 3 ½ inch floppy disk

This is where Electronic Records Processing comes into play. A lot of what we do at the University Archives is to rescue old files from media, and take steps to make them accessible in today’s technological environment.

These are some of the tools used to “rescue” files from obsolete media. The Mac laptop has an old OS on it to help us access files on older disks, usually using the blue floppy reader beside it

These are some of the tools used to “rescue” files from obsolete media. The Mac laptop has an old OS on it to help us access files on older disks, usually using the blue floppy reader beside it

In addition to saving old files from old media, we also proactively take current files and, if necessary, put them into formats that industry professionals believe will be usable for some time. Once that is done, we store them in accordance with established preservation standards. Consequently, we also work with files from CDs, DVDs, downloads from the web, and flash drives. Because of the ephemeral nature of digital formats and platforms, taking steps to safeguard files created today is just as important.

Some potentially more familiar media. We work with files from these types of objects frequently. Increasingly, we are receiving downloaded or transferred files and sometimes do not have any physical object at all

Some potentially more familiar media. We work with files from these types of objects frequently. Increasingly, we are receiving downloaded or transferred files and sometimes do not have any physical object at all

So what can you do to preserve your information, thereby aiding in the safeguarding of our own cultural history? (It’s not bombastic; our photos, files, letters, papers, etc., are the stuff that history is made of!)

There are a few simple actions anyone can take. The first is to back up your files! One threat not mentioned so far is us – our own mistakes; things just sort of get deleted and then that’s it. They often cannot be saved. Accidentally deleting your one and only hard drive (if you aren’t a forensics whiz kid), is the equivalent of burning down your file cabinet in the “old days”. Take care!

Second, proactively labeling, dating, and organizing your files makes keeping track of, and migrating them, much easier. Going in, checking on your files, and copying/moving them to updated media every few years will also help to protect them from degrading over time.

For more information on protecting the longevity of your files, you can refer to our 8 Good Practices in Creating & Maintaining Electronic Records guide (http://archives.msu.edu/records/practices.php?records_erm_practices).

For more general information on Electronic Records Management at UAHC, check out our website, Electronic Records Management (http://archives.msu.edu/records/ermanagement.php?records_erm).

Written by Courtney Whitmore

Introducing the In-Office Records Destruction Form!

22 10 2015

University offices produce a variety of records on a daily basis, and sometimes departments do not have the staffing, time, or ability to box and ship records to off-site storage with University Archives.

If, due to necessity, you must manage, store, and ultimately dispose of your records in your own office, you are still responsible for following all records management policies and procedures, including ensuring that all records destruction is authorized by the University Archives.

The records management program can now assist you with documenting records destruction with its In-Office Records Destruction form.


Downloadable version of the form is available on our website – http://archives.msu.edu/records/destruction.php?records_transfer_destruction

This new form:

  • Identifies the university records you wish to destroy in your office
  • Ensures that you are authorized to destroy official university records
  • Documents that university records were destroyed in case of future inquiries

Both the form and detailed instructions can be found online at http://archives.msu.edu/records/destruction.php?records_transfer_destruction.

To document your In-Office Records Destruction:

Complete the following contact information at the top of the form:

  • Name of contact person
  • Contact person’s phone number and email
  • Office/Department name

Archives may need to contact you if there are questions about your records.

Then, identify the record type, date range, volume, and destruction method of the records you have to be destroyed and complete the chart on the form.

  • Record type can be determined using the University Records Retention Schedules. You may view the retention schedules online or contact the Archives at 5-2330 with any questions.
  • Date range is typically a range in years.
  • Volume refers to the amount of records to be destroyed. Paper records are measured in cubic feet. Typically, one file drawer equals two cubic feet of paper records.
  • Destruction method refers to how you plan to destroy the records. For paper records, that is usually “Shred”.

Once the form is complete, sign the form, or have your department representative sign the form, and send it for review to University Archives at archives@msu.edu. DO NOT PROCEED WITH RECORDS DESTRUCTION UNTIL YOU RECEIVE ARCHIVES APPROVAL.

The University Records Manager will review the form and contact you if there are questions. Then, the University Archivist will sign the form and approve the records destruction. This process may take 1-3 days, although Archives tries to process the forms as soon as possible.

A signed copy of the form will be emailed to your office. Once you have received a signed form, you may proceed with records destruction.

Please retain a copy of the signed form for your records. Archives will also retain a signed copy of the form.

While completing this process may be a change for many offices, completing the In-Office Records Destruction form will create necessary documentation in case of future records requests and will ensure your office’s compliance with University regulations.

If you have any questions or concerns about the form, please contact University Archives at 5-2330 or at archives@msu.edu .

Written by Hillary Gatlin, University Records Manager

Digitized interviews with the Navajo Code Talkers

20 10 2015
Navajo Code Talker interview tapes and other materials prior to digitization

Navajo Code Talker interview tapes and other materials prior to digitization

In 1973, Doris A. Paul released a book called The Navajo Code Talkers, about a group of men from the Navajo tribe who used their native dialect to transmit secret messages that could not be decoded by Japanese troops during World War II. Two years earlier, she and her husband (armed with a tape recorder), recorded interviews with many individuals involved with the transmission of these secret codes.

In 1995, Paul donated the tapes (along with some transcripts) to the Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections (her husband had been a lecturer at Michigan State). Twenty years later, these tapes have been digitized for posterity.

Screen shot of the digitization process

Screen shot of the digitization process

Thirteen cassettes were in the collection; twelve of the 1971 interviews, and one from a banquet in 1975 honoring the Navajo Code Talkers for their efforts during the war. The original cassettes are once again stored away, and the digital audio files will allow listeners to learn about the efforts of the Navajo Code Talkers, in their own voices.

Written by Matthew Wilcox

Interested in hearing the interviews? Contact the MSU Archives to make an appointment to listen to the newly digitized recordings. 

Lyman Family Descendants Visit MSU Archives

14 10 2015

On Monday, October 5, John Lambertson (a retired archivist) and his sister Lois Wain, visited the MSU Archives to research their family through the Lyman Family Papers (collection 00128). They are descendants of Liberty and Lucinda Lyman. The Lyman family papers include correspondence, diaries, property deeds, newspapers, photographs, and other materials for the family of Liberty Lyman and Lucinda Sikes Lyman covering the years 1812-1910. The bulk of the family correspondence consists of letters to Lucinda Lyman from her sons and daughters, as well as letters from friends and relatives in Massachusetts. James Lyman’s diary of 1863-1864 is useful for details on Civil War campaigns. This diary will be soon transcribed, scanned and placed on our Civil War Letters and Diaries website.

During the visit, John also donated photographs and other materials pertaining to the Lyman Family that will be added to the collection.

John Lambertson and Lois Wain researching their family's history in the MSU Archives' Reading Room

John Lambertson and Lois Wain researching their family’s history in the MSU Archives’ Reading Room


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