Monday, December 7, 2009

"So far, it's the best job in the country"

Last week, David Ferriero, the new Archivist of the United States, delivered his first State of the Archives address. I was particularly cheered by his continuing emphasis on the challenges posed by electronic records and electronic records management, which he likened to the problems faced by Robert Digges Wimberly Connor, the first Archivist of the United States, who fought valiantly to ensure that the nation's long-neglected records were properly housed:
. . . . It seems to me that we are at a similar crossroads in the history of the Archives in the challenges we face with the electronic records of the agencies we serve. Varieties of technology, platforms, software, practice, and lack of standards complicate the work of ingesting, preserving, and making available the records of the government. The work we have undertaken with Lockheed Martin is, of course, being watched closely by our funders, our stakeholders, and the rest of the archival community who is grappling with similar issues of born digital records. We have to get this right.

I also see the Electronic Records Archives initiative as a vehicle for reestablishing our oversight of the records management programs of each agency—working with agencies to establish protocols, practices, and annual audits.
I also like that Ferriero recognizes the larger archival community's interest in the Electronic Records Archives, and I hope that he continues predecessor Allen Weinstein's effort to bring the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration into closer alignment with archival professional organizations and other repositories throughout the nation.

If you want a sense of Ferriero's background and personality, check out the lengthy profile in today's Washington Post, which highlights his decades of work in libraries and includes video footage of him examining materials in the stacks of the Archives I facility in Washington, DC. The video's only 42 seconds long, but it reveals that the new Archivist has a puckish sense of humor:

1 comment:

Mary Hansen said...

Thanks for posting the video! I think it is important to have a sense of humor about life in general and definitely about work. And I too think it is the best job in the country!