Friday, April 23, 2010

Blog of the Archivist of the United States

David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, who describes himself as the Collector in Chief, has recently begun a blog. To quote from its first entry:

We risk losing our memory as a country if we cannot meet the challenges of electronic records management. The fact is, without good records management, it is impossible for us to learn from the past and plan for the future. This concern is deeply American. At the conclusion of the Continental Congress, the Massachusetts delegate, Rufus King, advised that the records of the proceedings either be destroyed or given to the President. He feared that if the records were scattered or corrupted by those with an interest to do so, they could be used to distort history and deceive future generations. He understood the vital importance of records management.

We understand that electronic records are now a fundamental part of our documentary record. We will work to find and develop cost-effective IT solutions needed to meet our electronic records challenges. We will bring together leaders in records management and information technology to collaborate on our most pressing issues. Toward that end, we are sponsoring the first combined meeting of the Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council and the Federal Records Council to discuss electronic records management issues. Additionally, we will explore incentives for rewarding agencies that best demonstrate improvement, innovation, and use of technology in their records management.

At the same time, we intend to vastly improve our online capabilities in order to foster the public’s use of our records. Included in this effort will be a redesign of, with streamlined search capabilities for the research section of our website. Further, we intend to explore ways to develop our current catalog into a social catalog that allows our online users to contribute information to descriptions of our records. And although we have developed a number of successful social media projects in the last year, we now need to develop a comprehensive social media strategy for the agency, which will include internal and external communication efforts using new media tools. In these efforts lie the seeds of change that will alter the course of our agency.

I expect the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration to change the way we do things, the way we think about things, and the way we deliver services to the public.

To go to the blog: Click Here.

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