Tech Tuesday: The Internet, Diapers, and Access to the 1940 Census (What they have in common)

It wasn’t so intimidating after all.

We ended our last blog, announcing the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program Symposium held on February 17 at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The purpose of the symposium was to reflect on what the NITRD Program has accomplished over the past 20 years.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, wandering into the Knight Conference Center, an humble archivist – a fish-out-of-water, feeling lost in a sea of black suits and aging baby-boomers. Every now and then, I’d spot an important face or two, people whom I’d recognized from huge posters of computer pioneers at the Microcenter computer store in Rockville. In fact, it was kind of like a red carpet event for science, academic, and computer geeks, or probably more appropriately, spotting rock stars of the computer world.

My first thoughts were, “Oh, no, what if the panels were way over my head?” Should I take a seat by the door for a quick escape just in case?” then suddenly, “Is that who I think it is sitting across from our table? Would I embarrass myself if I asked for an autograph?”

Here’s why I’m glad I stayed…

Tech Tuesday: Making the Right Connections

Many of us have met long-time computer types who began working with computers long before PCs began appearing in the late 1970s. We recently interviewed a fascinating man who celebrates 50 years of working with computers. He loves explaining how computers moved from being complex, monstrous beasts run by certain “intelligentsia” into practical, analytical tools for everyday people; to how computers today help us communicate and work with each other, within different, newer social frameworks.

His career led him to some fascinating developments in computer science, including early contributions to the beginnings of the Internet, where he now sits at the helm of a strategic team that is braving the most challenging tasks of dealing with Government information in the clouds.

Dr. George O. Strawn is not just another computer/IT official who rose from the ranks – he is one of the most important thought leaders within Federal Government IT circles today. Plus, he loves the National Archives, because he says, “we bring to the table some of the toughest IT problems for all of the federal government that need to be solved in our time.”

Read the first in our series of Applied Research interviews called “At the top of our List: Thought Leaders You Should Know”

Putting the "U" in Unified Digital Format Registry: Stakeholders meet at the Library of Congress

On April 13-14, Fynnette Eaton (NHA) and Kevin Devorsey (NWM) participated in a stakeholders meeting of the Unified Digital Format Registry (UDFR), held at the Library of Congress, along with 22 cultural memory institutions concerned with digital preservation. UDFR aims to pool the expertise of these archival communities to document characteristics that can be used to identify file formats, and then to document the information in an authoritative knowledge base.