I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

This post was written by guest blogger David McMillen, External Affairs Liaison in the Department of Strategy and Communications.

Maybe it was Memphis (with apologies to Pam Tillis)

Recently in Nashville, Tennessee, the Council of State Archivists and the National Association of Government Records Administrators and Archives came together to share new ideas and renew old acquaintances.  About 175 archivists and records administrators were in attendance.  That’s down from last year both because of the economy and because last year was in Washington DC, always a big draw.

Among the standing room only sessions were two that featured National Archives’ staff.  Arian Ravanbakhsh sang the praises of cloud computing in a session chaired by Mary Beth Herkert (Oregon State Archivist and former President of NAGARA) titled “Cloud Computing and More: A NARA Revue.”  No one thought Arian was dancing around the tough questions as he reviewed current guidance and future issues.

“Good Vibrations:  Social Networking Technologies in Government” featured three National Archives staff, all University of Maryland graduates, Meredith Doviak, Mary Krakowiak, and Paul Wester.  Meredith and Mary talked about the uses of social media at the National Archives, and Paul explained the guidance to federal agencies on managing social media records.  Given the setting, many in the audience feared they would break into the Maryland fight song mid-program, but that didn’t happen.  Oh, and by the way, they did let a couple of non-Marylanders talk.  Mark Meyer from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives talked about the use of social media in KY and Jim Cundy, also from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives chaired the panel.

Our new Deputy Archivist, Debra Wall, also spoke to an SRO room as the keynote speaker on the first day of the program.  Her message of Transformation and commitment to the fundamental principles of public service, sound archival practices, and superior customer service was well received.  She had a meeting immediately after her speech, but it took almost a half an hour to answer all the questions and accept the good wishes of those who came up to shake her hand.

The program included “What are My Records Doing on Ebay?” featuring Paul Brachfeld and Kelly Maltagliati, from the National Archives Inspector General’s Office; “Keep the Customer Satisfied:  Customer First” with Nancy Fortna from the National Archives and Daphne DeLeon from the Nevada State Library and Archive.  Rita Cacas and Connie Potter, both from the National Archives presented “The Way We Were: the 1940 Census”.   Daniel Stokes from the National Historical Publications and Records Administration spoke on SHRAB activities.

Other topics included “Traversing the E-Tightrope: Managing Electronic Records”, “Celebrating Archives Month: Advocacy, Collaboration, and Outreach”, “Measure for Measure: Measuring Electronic Records”, “With a Little Help from My Friends: State Assistance of Local Government records Programs”, and many more.

At the members of the organization looked forward to the 2012 program in Indianapolis, one member recommended that they would like to hear more about the research being done at the National Archives.  Another suggested a session on how the National Archives develops its exhibits from research to design to implementation.  So put on your thinking caps and see what the National Archives can contribute next year.

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