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David Ferriero on NARA’s Shift to Electronic Recordkeeping

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David Ferriero, most recently archivist of the U.S. and head of the National Archives and Records Administration, said NARA has made accomplishments in the past decade and one of those is getting the attention of the White House when it comes to implementing electronic record-keeping.

We were fortunate that President Obama, in his Open Government Initiative, recognized the importance of good record-keeping for open government and transparency,” Ferriero told National Archives News in an interview published Friday.

But that has set the tone for the shift from paper to electronic recordkeeping, which is underway now,” he added.

Another accomplishment he cited is the involvement of the public in transcribing records as part of the Citizen Archivist program.

We’ve got people all over the world who are helping us transcribe records, tagging records. … So those kinds of activities—involving the public in our work—is another thing I would point to in terms of accomplishments. . . . [And] it’s become a model for other institutions; the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, lots of libraries around the country are providing those kinds of tagging opportunities to involve the public in their work,” Ferriero said.

He also discussed the agency’s focus on culture and efforts to improve the quality of the work environment as part of its transformation work.

Ferriero retired from NARA last week after 12 years of leadership and the agency appointed Deputy Archivist Debra Steidel Wall to perform his duties on an acting capacity.