Photograph of Women Working at a Bell System Telephone Switchboard. National Archives Identifier 1633445.
The first of our new strategic goals is to “Make Access Happen.” Increasingly, access means digital, online access. Our first goal has one objective, to make our records available to the public in digital form to ensure that anyone can explore, discover and learn from our records.
Here are a few of the initiatives listed under this goal:
- First, we want to complete the long journey of describing our holdings in our online catalog. We launched our first agency-wide online catalog in 2003, and now we are within just a few years of being able to say that over 95% of our records are described at the series level. Currently we are at 83% and going strong. Archivists across the agency continue to provide basic archival metadata to the catalog so that people around the world can know what we have.
- We will also accelerate the processing of analog and digital records to quickly make our records available to the public. Foundational technology for that effort will be the development of a digital processing environment that will allow archival, digitization and description staff to work in an environment that supports and enhances accelerated processing of the records.
- We want to digitize our records and to make them available online. We know we will not accomplish this next year or even within the timeframe of this strategic plan, but we are planting a stake in the ground. In doing so, we are changing the conversation around digitization. We are discussing issues including how we will prioritize the work, what we need to do to update our strategies, and how we will pilot new ways, such as working with citizen archivists, to get this done.
“Make Access Happen” includes within it all of the crucial work that is required for access: everything from appraisal to preservation to processing. All of the vital work that the National Archives does with the records of the federal government supports and enables access. “Make Access Happen” is a big, bold goal. It sets the foundation for the next two strategic goals.
Stay tuned for goal two: Connect with Customers. Get the full view of our Strategic Plan.