Collaborate, Innovate, Learn

Difficult times demand innovative thinking. In March, the National Archives began closing buildings around the country in order to protect our staff and public from the pandemic. NARA staff members were plunged into a world where the work to support the mission of the agency became fully digital. In response, NARA quickly created a wide variety of new training programs for staff. Within the first week of remote working, NARA developed new staff training for a variety of digital projects.

Many of the charts you may have seen lately have been depressingly grave regarding the virus. Here’s a chart that shows NARA’s work over the past few weeks and the increase is actually great news. 

Our community management team is providing training for NARA remote workers and the public that supports NARA’s goal of Making Access Happen through tagging and transcribing records in the Catalog. By transcribing records, especially hand-written documents, we are enabling the search engine to find those records more easily. Tagging also supports better search results by providing data about the records for the search engine to find. 

National Archives Catalog image of a Mathew Brady Civil War photograph showing user contributed tags.

The response to this training has resulted in a tripling of tags and transcriptions, which makes finding specific records easier for researchers. 

National Archives Catalog image showing user contributed transcription of handwritten World War I Division Record.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to quickly move to 100% remote work projects and NARA staff have been rising to the challenge. This is just one example of NARA staff living our values to collaborate, innovate and learn. NARA staff are busy on a wide variety of digital projects in support of the mission of the agency. Stay tuned for more!

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