Founded in 1936, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. During the week of August 22, almost 1,800 archives professionals from all over the globe gathered in Chicago, Illinois for SAA’s annual meeting and anniversary celebration. Today's blog features my introductory remarks for SAA session #701 that I chaired, "New Perspectives for the 1940 Census" providing a quick history of innovative technologies used for processing and accessing census data.
At the NAGARA plenary address in Nashville a few weeks ago, I was asked to talk about NARA’s new Applied Research Division, which wandered into an explanation about why we haven’t been ERA Research for the past two years. Folks were encouraged to attend my 1940 Census session, featuring NARA research partners who are using cool smart tools to make sense out of scanned images—there was not an empty chair in the room, leading to fruitful discussions and promising collaborations…and that’s what you missed at NAGARA! Read the full story here...
Last week, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) held its Spring meeting in Alexandria, VA (May 5-7, 2011). If you missed the conference, today's Tech Tuesday post is a summary of two events related to MARAC Session S5, "New Tools to Address Electronic Records Challenges."
On April 28th the United States Navy and its support contractor, IBM, hosted an Educational Summit featuring educators from colleges and universities in WV, MD, and PA at the Navy’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) at Rocket Center, WV. Read about the Summit that included a visit to NARA’s Applied Research Laboratory at ABL, where college students (hired by IBM) collaborate with NARA on advanced IT research projects.
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.
In every instance over these years NARA has collaborated with agencies with much larger research budgets in funding research projects. NARA has often contributed “pennies on the dollar” to such projects.
Being a journalist in this digital and new media age presents challenges and frustrations of tracking down and accessing Federal, State, and Local government information needed to produce responsible and accurate news products. Read today’s blog for an invitation to a free conference co-sponsored by NARA and Duke University on April 12, focusing on ways that journalists and researchers may better discover, access, and use digital government information.
My bottom line: I want to believe the next generation of public servants will do right by the American people by managing and preserving the government’s born-digital records, and providing the means for continuing access to them, so as to ensure that the history of the 21st century is properly preserved.
NARA has a long history of involvement with the development of international standard related to electronic records and other digital information. Claims of trustworthiness are easy to make but are thus far difficult to justify or objectively prove. Establishing more clear criteria detailing what a trustworthy repository is and is not has become vital.
Last month, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) submitted their report to the President and to Congress, “Designing a Digital Future: Federally Funded Research and Development in Networking and Information Technology.“ In this report, the PCAST provides recommendations – with specific mention of NARA’s role in Digital Democracy – regarding IT research priorities, challenges, and opportunities for the Federal government in the years ahead.