Cil2010 keynote with archivsit of the USA
...interviewd by Director of Public Programs at NYPL (cool accent and v funny!)
new blog aotus (archivist of the us)...aka “collector in chief” (potus = pres of the US)
what does the aotus do?...responisible for the records of the gov't...records management advice / oversight to all the gov't agencies...about 2 – 3% of thos records become archives
44 facilities for record storage around the usa
seperate from LofCongress
also presidential libraires are under the AOTUS
significance of 10th arcivist of USA to be a Librarian!!! (formerly @ NYPL)...why signif?...others were scholars / historians etc...
process...got a call out of the blue!
Visit from potus transition team member...pres looking for people who think outside the box / innovative etc...went to meet with bigger committee – got a better picture...realized he could make a difference (was impetus for other career transitions -- that feeling)
potus charged aotus with two missions:
national declassification centre...4 million pages need to be declassified...wow!...over the next four years...how will this happen?!
Open government initiative
Open Govt Iniative
transparency / collaboration / participation
philosophy / practice around these three...built it from the bottom up...each agency work on their own plan
process unleashed previously untapped talents / leadership etc...created a new energy
use of social media fab...
eg. aotus's blog (link to it)...attempt to get the citizens invoved in the work of the archives...creating citizen archivists...to help think through how to process collections etc...
controversy re “librarian” appointed as “archivisit”...had experience with both
National Declassification Centre
archives had been in “classification” business since 1978
intent of order is to open the records, to declassifiy as many as possible...only reason to remain classified = national security
need to be reviewed by those agencies which initially classified them
looking at ways to bulk-declassify
2400 different classification guides...susposed to be reviewed every five years...50% have not...a flawed classification system
goal is to streamline the process...How?
Looking at ways to use technology to do this
chosen by POTUS...what kind of influence do you think POTUS and admin has over the archives?...what direction can they give it?...what did previous admins do/not
can't have open govt if you don't have open records
need to consider that from the time the records are created
records need to be not an afterthought...considered at the start of new system implemenations
big meeting btw cio (Chief Info Officers) and Chief Records Managers from each agency coming up...big disconnect btwn CIOs and CRMs...in most agencies...need to come together
going to meet with White House CIO, and co-host the meeting to bring these peeps together
ambition / mission
when he was @ nypl (for five years)...half of new yorkers used internet @ libs...powerful lesson re importance of libraries...wants to take that to the archives...open them up...access
web site being re-designed
big emphasis on education
blockbuster exhibit on Civil War coming up + online version...focus on K-12
lots of tours of school kids: AOTUS listens to the kids...encourages to write letters to the Pres...are kept in Presidential Libraires!!!
has not met POTUS!...yet...
nice having a boss down the street, not in your face!!!
lots of the archives jobs are mundane...pulling records etc...but there are ways of making such jobs enriched...hoping for better job satisifaction
meeting with staff, LISTENING... “Employee Viewpoint Survey” done at all govt agencies... Archives got v bad reviews
was bad mojo on FB (from staff), so AOTUS joined the convo and addressed the issues
during the big DC snowstorm, AOTUS had a chance to chat up the security peeps -- had never had a tour of the VIP stuff...didn't know what they were guarding, so arranging that now
in the digital environment...not too much saved/preserved...with e-records,....email recognized as a “record” in some cases but not others...lots of erocords getting lost
concerns re digitizing records...eg ancestry.com...large commercial digitization projects...language that locks up content for a specific time (5 years for Ancestry) ...concern that these are public records, in a lot of cases...big value to having them available electronically...concern re locking them up for a period of time...
divide btwn physical and digital world...where do you see the tension?
AOTUS does not own a Kindle!!!
is a big reader...has a thing for physical books (got lots of applause!)
“wikipedia is my favourite tool”!
Needs the print to read
Nicholson Baker = fave writer...wrote about what happened when card catalogues were discarded...look him up!!!
had written controversial stuff...in to preserving print (eg last print copies of newspapers saved from British Library)
set self up as newspaper librarian
gave collection to Duke...proper preservation
what is he reading now?
A book about Abe Lincoln...Vampire Hunter!!!
presiously read a book about Walt Witman and his siblings...author used Nat archives / NYPL / Duke Univ to write the book...esp letters from Mrs. Witman
what is your greatest burden?...what keeps you up at night?
The electronic records...largest / messiest / most expensive thing to get right
balance btwn getting to know staff and the collection itself
what do you think the libs here today need to pay attention to most?
Push your supervisors!
Look for ops to get involved / get your ideas out there
fokls at the top need to be pushed!!!...that's the only way we're going to get better
one of his best hires = Josh Greenberg...taught him a lot re thinking differently re how we package / organize info / where we should be...vs expecting people to find us
future for you?
Has said only next job = The Vatican!!! (was in a NY Times Article!!!)...”and I'n not talking about the Library!!!!” super ending!!!!