We want to hear from you! NARA’s Open Government Plan 2016-2018

I am proud to announce the publication of our fourth Open Government Plan. To get started, check out the Executive Summary, which provides an overview of the commitments the agency is making to make the National Archives and the Federal government more open over the next two years.

Open Government Plan on Github

We want to hear from you! This plan is a living document and we will update it over time based on the feedback we receive.

We have published this plan on the social coding platform, Github so that the public can provide feedback through the “Discuss” feature and can suggest edits through the “Edit” function. If this is not your preferred method of feedback, please check out all available feedback opportunities, provide comments below on this blog post, or email webprogram@nara.gov.

While one could anticipate the enthusiasm for open government winding down during the end of a second term of the administration, we have seen the opposite. During the development of this plan we saw an increase in momentum and greater engagement from the public and staff in open government initiatives. We held more than 20 internal and external brainstorming sessions and briefings, including our first Open Government Webinar on March 29, 2016, for our external stakeholders with nearly 100 participants. Our engagement efforts brought in more than 180 ideas, comments, and suggestions that we considered for inclusion in this plan.

This plan, our fourth, will see us through a Presidential transition and contains more than 50 specific commitments to strengthen open government at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and across government from 2016 to 2018, including:

  • our launch of a social media campaign to collect stories about people’s own personal artifacts and documents from the Vietnam War to enrich the experience of visiting our new exhibit on the Vietnam War;
  • our Office of Research Services will provide additional customer service training for staff members so that we can better serve the public, along with exploring how to incorporate digital tools, like social media and our History Hub pilot to make it easier for the public to find the records that interest them;
  • flagship Initiatives including our work engaging the public and staff in our Innovation Hub, expanding History Hub and Citizen Archivist programs, and developing a solution for user-generated finding aids about our records that update dynamically as needed;
  • commitments from our Office of the Chief Records Officer to provide greater transparency and expanded reporting to better evaluate records management risk in agencies and promote accountability of government officials to the public;
  • commitments from our National Declassification Center (NDC) to develop a special systematic declassification review program for records that were accessioned prior to the creation of the NDC in 2010;
  • in addition to implementing components of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, our Office of Government Information Services will develop tools to teach students about the power of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to hold the government accountable and work within the Department of Justice to develop standards for agency FOIA webpages; and
  • our Information Security Oversight Office will continue to monitor and report on the state of classification and declassification in government and will also provide guidance and report on agency adherence to the Fundamental Classification Guidance Review.

As we look forward to the next two years, I am confident that we will continue to strengthen and build momentum for our efforts to provide transparency, and foster greater participation and collaboration in our work so that we can better serve the public.

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