Meeting the Government’s Email Challenge

Free and equal access to government records is essential to this country’s democracy.  Citizens have the right to see, examine, and learn from the records that guarantee their rights, document government actions, and tell the story of the nation. As Archivist of the United States, it is my job to make sure we identify, save, … Continue reading Meeting the Government’s Email Challenge

Creating a 21st Century Museum for the Mind

In a recent Wall Street Journal piece on the digital Einstein Papers Project, Walter Isaacson, waxed poetical about the “tingling inspiration of seeing original documents.”  Every day I am lucky to witness that “tingling” in the Rotunda of the National Archives as visitors stand in line to be in the presence of the Charters of Freedom.  On … Continue reading Creating a 21st Century Museum for the Mind

It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law!

On November 26, 2014, President Barack Obama signed into law Public Law No: 113-187, the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014. This new law modernizes records management by focusing more directly on electronic records, and complements efforts by the National Archives to implement the President’s 2011 Memorandum on Managing Government Records. Key points … Continue reading It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law!

The Scan Plan: Our Strategy to Digitize the Vast Holdings of the National Archives

The National Archives’ Strategic Plan includes a simple, but audacious initiative: to digitize our analog records and make them available for online public access. We have over 12 billion pages of records, so yes, this is our moon shot. To achieve this goal, we know we need to think in radically new ways about our … Continue reading The Scan Plan: Our Strategy to Digitize the Vast Holdings of the National Archives

Making Access Happen by Expanding Broadband

I recently attended the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ public hearing on broadband access, hosted at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC. I was joined by colleagues from Federal agencies, universities, museums and libraries to examine the need for high speed broadband access in America’s libraries, and how this access … Continue reading Making Access Happen by Expanding Broadband

Breaking New Ground Again

In May 2011, Dominic McDevitt-Parks joined the National Archives as our first Wikipedian-In-Residence.  This put the National Archives at the forefront of many cultural institutions in partnering with the Wikimedia community. Working for the National Archives as a part-time student intern, our Wikipedian led ground-breaking efforts for the agency. His automated-upload project provided 100,000 digital … Continue reading Breaking New Ground Again

FDR’s BHAG

Robert D.W. Connor, the President of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) and recently retired first Archivist of the United States, in his address to the Society at their annual meeting in 1942 read a letter from President Franklin D. Roosevelt who had been awarded an honorary membership in the organization.  He called for “...the … Continue reading FDR’s BHAG

You Are What You Search

In early December 2009, Google announced on their blog titled "Personalized Search for Everyone" that they would be using 57 "signals" derived from your previous searching behavior in order to predict the sites you were most likely to choose in your search. Netflix, Yahoo, Facebook, and YouTube, to mention just a few, use similar predictive … Continue reading You Are What You Search