Publisher of Quality Genealogy Materials
Volume 6, Number 9 Mountain Press, P.O. Box 400, Signal Mountain, Tennessee 37377, 1-423-886-6369 April 23, 2014
In this issue we discuss the recent U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Strategic Plan for 2014-2018 as well as David S. Ferriero's, Archivist of the United States, comments. It is a massive undertaking to make access to the information, but it will greatly help in our genealogy research. It would be nice if these things could happen overnight, but it will take many, many years.
If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, we enjoy hearing the comments after each newsletter.
James L. Douthat
CHANGES ARE COMING
In a communication from the National Archives [NARA] this past week, the National Archivist David S. Ferriero, released the plans for a great change in their efforts and process. As he says, the first of our new strategic goals is to “Make Access Happen”. In the twenty-six page report sent with this statement he continues to say that increasingly, access means digital online access. “Our first goal has one objective, to make our records available to the public in digital form to ensure that anyone can explore, discover and learn from our records.”
He also details several initiatives with the “Make Access Happen” goal:
“First, we want to complete the long journey of describing our holdings in our online catalog. We launched our first agency-wide online catalog in 2003, and now we are within just a few years of being able to say that 95% of our records are described at the series level. Currently we are at 83% and going strong. Archivists across the agency continue to provide basic archival metadata to the catalog so that people around the world can know what we have.
We will also accelerate the processing of analog and digital records to quickly make our records available to the public. Foundational technology for that effort will be the development of a digital processing environment that will allow archival, digitization and description staff to work in an environment that supports and enhances accelerated processing of the records.
We want to digitize our records and to make them available online. We know we will not accomplish this next year or even within the time frame of this strategic plan, but we are planting a stake in the ground. In doing so, we are changing the conversation around digitization. We are discussing issues including how we will prioritize the work, what we need to do to update our strategies, and how we will pilot new ways, such as working with citizen archivists, to get this done.”
Ferriero also states that “Make Access Happen includes within it all of the crucial work that is required for access: everything from appraisal to preservation to processing. All of the vital work that the National Archives does with the records of the federal government supports and enables access. Make Access Happen: is a big, bold goal.”
In reviewing the NARA’s Strategic Plan for Fiscal Year 2014-2018, it states that they in the process of transforming into a dynamic and modern agency. The report details their mission, vision and values.
- Mission: We drive openness, cultivate public participation, and strengthen our nation’s democracy through public access to high-value government records.
- Vision: We will be known for cutting-edge access to extraordinary volumes of government information and unprecedented engagement to bring greater meaning to the American experience.
- Values:Collaborate - Create an open, inclusive work environment that is built on respect, communication, integrity, and collaborative team work.
Innovate - Encourage creativity and invest in innovation to build our future.
Learn - Pursue excellence through continuous learning and become smarter all the time about what we know and what we do in service to others.
The NARA has established four strategic goals for their future. David Ferriero is realistic when he states that “there are goals and initiatives within this plan which will not be fully achieved during this strategic planning cycle; however, it is critical that we name those aspirations and start a deliberate course to achieve them.”
NARA STRATEGIC GOALS
- Make Access Happen - Make all records available to the public in digital form to ensure that anyone can explore, discover and learn from NARA Holdings.
- Connect with Customers - Improve internal and external customer engagement to cultivate and sustain public participation.
- Maximize NARA’s Value to the Nation – 1. Reform and modernize records management policies and practices within the Federal Government to effectively support the transition to a digital government. 2. Drive public and commercial use and re-use of government records to create measurable economic activity.
- Build Our Future Through Our People - 1. Create and sustain culture of empowerment, openness and inclusion. 2. Ensure we have a diverse workforce with the skills necessary to fulfill our mission.
Stay tuned as the National Archives comes to your home computer or laptop. Changes will take place slowly when one considers the vast store house of information they control, but someday we will be able to find what we want to know from their sources.
County, State and Federal Archives
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