May 4, 2023 3:00pm — 4:00pm

Public Records in Chicago: Acquisition and Accessibility

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Thursday, May 4, 2023
3:00 - 4:00 PM CST
This program will be held via Zoom
Free and open to the public
Listen to the webinar HERE

Additional resources can be found HERE

Chicago Area Archivists and Chicago Collections Consortium are excited to announce an upcoming panel discussion, Public Records in Chicago: Acquisition and Accessibility. This event is a follow-up to the 2021 panel Chicago Municipal Records: Access and Accountability. In it, we will further explore the archival sources of public records and government activity in the Chicagoland area. 

Moderated by Gretchen Neidhardt, Metadata and Digital Projects Librarian, Galter Health Sciences Library and Learning Center, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern UniversityConsulting Archivist, Neidhardt Research, program panelists will include:

Douglas Bicknese, Director of Archival Operations, National Archives at Chicago
Matthew Messbarger, Archival Specialist, Office of the City Clerk, City of Chicago
Johanna Russ, Librarian IV, Unit Head, Special Collections, Chicago Public Library
Deborah Witzburg, Inspector General, City of Chicago

As our previous panelists discussed, Chicago has a history of decentralized and inconsistent public record retention. While much progress has been made in the last several years, these historical policies have made the process of accessing records about public services, like housing, policing, and education, complicated and burdensome. In this panel, representatives of these local institutions will shine a light on the public records in their holdings. We will learn about their retention policies, how they navigate access roadblocks, and highlight some of their underused records. We hope by learning more about these individual institutions and drawing connections between them, we can illuminate various paths to access public records in Chicago.

We are delighted to host this panel during Preservation Week, the theme of which this year is Building Resilient Communities. We hope you will join us in building resilience through awareness of Chicago’s public records!