Jeff Kintop takes over as Nevada state archivist July 1
When longtime Nevada State Archivist Guy Rocha retired in February, it was with the knowledge he was leaving the state’s historic records in good hands.
His replacement – formally taking the reins July 1 – is Jeff Kintop who has been archives manager for Rocha for more than 20 years.
Kintop, who has a master’s degree in history from Mankato State in Minnesota, has been with the division since July 1983 when he was hired part time as records manager. He said he took the job because he had two young children and needed the benefits.
“It was only going to be a temporary job,” he said.
He made up the rest of the money needed to support his family by working as “scholar in residence” for Sierra County, Calif., just west of the Nevada state line.
“It was the coolest title,” he said. “People would say, ‘There goes the scholar.’ Everybody knew me.”
Kintop spent 1984 doing a survey – the first ever – of historical records in Nevada funded by the National Historic Publications and Records Association. When they issued the report in 1985, he said Rocha asked him if he wanted the job of implementing its recommendations. He took it, becoming full time and has been with the division since.
“It’s challenging,” he said.
Kintop now manages archives containing about 15 million documents. That number, he said, doesn’t include the thousands of spools of microfilm in the collection.
Both he and Rocha say they expect Kintop’s style will be quite a bit different. Rocha has been an aggressive and public advocate for Nevada history, debunking myths and frequently calling reporters and others asking corrections when they make mistakes in print or on air.
Rocha said now it’s Kintop turn to be the face of the division, “and take the calls.”
Kintop agreed but said he’ll have to find his own manner of handling public and press requests for information.
He said overall he expects the transition to be a smooth one. Since Rocha retired earlier this year, he’s already doing the job.
“I can do the administrative things. I’m aware how the budget is created and I know the staff really well,” said Kintop. “But I don’t know what the profile of this position is going to be,” he said referring to his interaction with the public.
In other areas, however, he is clear on where he is headed.
Kintop, 58, said one of his focuses is to move the division more into digital recordkeeping. In hiring his replacement as Archives Manager, he said he’ll be looking for a solid digital background.
“That’s going to be one of the changes in focus now,” he said.
Kintop said the division was advised to begin planning for electronic records as early as 1990 but for a number of reasons, including funding, never did.
He said the division is still identifying the records agencies now keep electronically and has to compare them to what is kept on paper. Some records, he said, need to be destroyed after a certain point.
He said a good example is the attorney general’s collection of civil case records. He said since those documents exist in court files around the state, they aren’t needed in the state’s files.
“We got rid of about 1,400 boxes of records because they were duplicate records we didn’t need,” he said.
Another example, he said, is the numerous copies of different documents kept in different agencies. He said copies of documents proliferated when the photocopier was invented so there are always extra copies around. That’s good, he said, because the records can normally be found even if they disappear from one agency. But he said all those copies aren’t necessary.
But many documents, he said, must be archived. Many of them record the state’s legal actions and decisions – such as legislative actions. Others, he said, aren’t required legally but are kept “to document history.”
In addition, he said there is growing pressure to scan the division’s existing paper documents and make them available on line for researchers and the public.
“Places with bigger budgets have been doing this for a long time,” he said.
But Kintop said it’s more complicated than just scanning the documents. To make them usable, he said, staff has to create indexes and make them searchable.
Another project on his list is the idea of indexing audio files such as legislative floor sessions and committee meetings. He said Washington state has a program which allows a researcher to enter a word or phrase and have the computer find that part in the audio tape of a meeting.
That would allow some one to quickly find key statements by lawmakers or committee witnesses.
He said those and other projects including the downstairs laboratory designed to recover, repair and preserve historic documents will keep him and the division’s other employees busy well into the future.
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.