The University Libraries at Virginia Tech (VT) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), are working on a collaborative planning project, the ultimate goal of which is to ensure future access to the massive and ever-growing collection of government records in NARA’s digital Catalog.
A planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has enabled VT and NARA to convene a group of archivists, librarians, humanists, technologists, information scientists, and computer scientists for a series of virtual workshops throughout April and early May.
For many years, we have heard about the promise held by artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Advancements in recent years have made it possible for us to contemplate how we might apply these powerful tools to our work.
Over the past few years, NARA has made great strides in digitizing our records and making them available online. This democratization of access to our records is central to our strategic goal to make access happen. And I continue my commitment to digitize everything.
But as we increase the numbers of our digital records, we also need to ensure that the records are well described and are easy for the public to find and use. We know that we simply do not have the resources to do all of this work manually. We must look to technological tools to support our efforts to effectively make access happen in the digital era.
The conference that begins today is a step of discovery. What will NARA staff learn about technologies and how they could be applied to our processes? We are all eager to find out. The conference affords us the time to meet and discuss with a diverse group of experts. This is our opportunity to collaborate, innovate and learn.