Two weeks ago, the San Jose Sharks came to visit the National Archives for a behind-the-scenes tour on their day off in Washington before playing the Capitals. As professional athletes go, they had plenty of interest in our records — especially the declassified 1930’s contingency plan to invade Canada!
As you may know from a previous blog post of mine, one of my favorite quotes is from Wayne Gretzky:
“I skate to where the puck is going to be,
not where it has been.”
Now, more than ever, adapting this mindset will help us transform the National Archives. This approach will help us innovate in order to address the changing needs of our customers — the Federal agencies, White House, and Congress we serve as well as the American public.
The way we do our work today was envisioned in the earlier part of the 20th century when the format of choice was paper. In order for us to fulfill our mission in the 21st century, we need to reexamine our theories and practices to take advantage of the tools enabled by this technological age. We need to develop the skill sets that will move us beyond our current capabilities, as we continue our basic job of collecting, protecting, and providing access to the records of the Government.
This is an exciting time to work at the National Archives. We are in a period where we can achieve real innovation in our work. Sharpened skates, smooth ice, eyes on the puck — I am confident we will get there!