"What Are You Working On, Arian Ravanbakhsh?"

Ever wonder what exciting new projects the many employees at NARA are working on? The “What are You Working On?” blog feature aims to introduce a variety of NARA employees and highlight some of the exciting projects we are working on around the agency. Check for this blog series on Wednesdays!

This week, we introduce Arian Ravanbakhsh, Electronic Records Policy Specialist.

Arian at his desk in College Park.
Arian at his desk in College Park.

What is your name and title?

Arian Ravanbakhsh. I am an Electronic Records Policy Specialist working in the Office of Modern Records Programs (NWM).

Where is your job located?

I work in College Park, on the second floor (suite 2100) of Archives II.

What is your job in a nutshell?

I am a part of the six member Electronic Records Management (ERM) policy team. Our team works to develop records management guidance for federal agencies.  We work on the front-end of the archival life cycle to inform agencies creating records today of their responsibilities to ensure that those records are accessible in the future. In the meantime, I’m also the one of the social media leads in our office, writing posts for our blog, Records Express, and managing our twitter presence @NARA_RecMgmt.

What are you working on right now?  (Why is it cool/why does it matter?)

Right now, most of my team’s work is in planning for the guidance that we are going to write in fiscal year 2011 which started on October 1. We just completed and released a NARA Bulletin on Managing Records in Cloud Computing Environments and most recently, a NARA Bulletin on Managing Records created in web 2.0/social media environments. These Bulletins demonstrate to our stakeholders that NARA is aware of new technologies and understands the records management implications in the use of those technologies. Getting agencies to understand those implications is important – and records management is important – because it ensures that records created right now are captured and, for those appraised as permanent, will be transferred to NARA. Therefore, future researchers will be able to review these materials in the course of their research.

How long have you been at NARA?  Have you worked at any other NARA location?

Both my NARA jobs have been in College Park. I started working at NARA on October 10, 2000 as an appraisal archivist in the Life-Cycle Management Division (NWML) here in College Park.  I’ve been in my current position since March of 2006.

What has changed since you started at NARA?

The most obvious change is the impact technology has had in doing our work. We are really trying to re-think possibilities and engage more audiences through the use of technology.  I believe that achievements in these areas will have the greatest impact on our work moving forward.

Do you have a favorite day at NARA, or a favorite discovery or accomplishment?

My favorite thing that we have accomplished has to be the successful pilot and development of the Records Express blog. The National Records Management Program communications team spent a great deal of effort working through concerns and issues around setting up that blog and to have it up and running in time for our RACO Conference in 2009 was a significant achievement. This was NARA’s first foray into the social media world and it was, by all accounts, a success.

Arian displays an issue of Prologue on his iPad.
Arian displays an issue of Prologue on his iPad.

What are your passions or interests outside of work?

I’m a big fan of team sports that don’t get a lot of mainstream attention – hockey and soccer. My passion is the Washington Capitals and the hope that they will actually win the Stanley Cup sooner rather than later. Also, I love a good restaurant with a great wine list, though who doesn’t?

What is the last book you read, or the last book you loved?

The book I am currently reading is The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism. It is a very interesting account of how the first Impressionist French painters were received by the established artists during the 1860s. Another book that I’ve recently read that made an impression is Nick Bilton’s I Live in the Future and Here’s How it Works. Bilton demonstrates how the negative reactions we hear about technological advancements today are really no different than those heard for years about all sorts of technologies. This echoes the theme from one of my favorite books about technology ever, Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet.  Standage describes how all of the negative things we hear about the Internet are really no different from the same concerns raised about the telegraph in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Meet more NARA employees: http://www.archives.gov/careers/employees/

2 thoughts on “"What Are You Working On, Arian Ravanbakhsh?"

  1. Arian, thanks for mentioning some interesting books about adoption of new technologies. I’ll have to check them out!

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