Archive for October, 2011

Post Wikileaks

Written on: October 31, 2011 | 0 Comments

In early October President Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) covering “Structural Reforms to Improve the Security of Classified Networks and the Responsible Sharing and Safeguarding of Classified Information.”  The National Archives Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) is the Government entity charged with overseeing Executive Branch performance in executing the President’s program for classified information.  Three “generations” of ISOO directors, Jay Bosanko, Bill Cira (Acting), and John Fitzpatrick have been at the table for the seven months of policy discussions leading to this EO.

The EO spells out a set of responsibilities for those who operate or access classified computer networks, establishes a Senior Information Sharing and Safeguarding Committee and a Classified Information Sharing and Safeguarding Office (CISSO).  ISOO, whose role in helping blend the goals of safeguarding and sharing is recognized by the EO,  will be represented on the Committee and will work closely with CISSO on policy and standards issues.

In addition, the EO names the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Agency Director as the Executive Agent for Safeguarding Classified Information on Computer Networks.

Finally, an Interagency Insider Threat Task Force is established to develop a program for “…deterring, detecting, and mitigating insider threats…”  ISOO will also be represented on this Task Force.

Throughout this process the motto of our National Declassification Center has been very much in my mind—“Releasing … [ Read all ]

International Action On the Open Government Front

Written on: October 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

Today I am writing in from Toledo, Spain. I am pleased to be attending the 2011 Conference of the International Council on Archives (ICA). This morning I spoke on a panel with the National Archivist of Belgium, Karel Velle, and Director-General Arquivo Nacional Brazil, Jaime Antunes da Silva, for the ICA’s first plenary meeting on Open Government.

One of the contributions of the National Archives to the Administration’s National Action Plan for Open Government is to explore hosting a meeting of the national archivists of the eight founding members of the International Open Government Partnership to discuss our vital role in ensuring open government at the national level. Today’s meeting is a first step in that direction.

Here’s what I told the gathering:

Open Government Panel—the View from Washington

The philosophy of Open Government is embedded in the creation of the United States.  Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, writing from Paris in 1789, said:  “Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government…that whenever things go so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”

From the first day of his administration, President Obama has made Open Government a priority.  In a meeting with his senior staff on the day after his inauguration in January of 2009 he said:  “Transparency and the

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Digital Public Library of America

Written on: October 24, 2011 | 2 Comments

On Friday the first Plenary Session of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) was hosted at the National Archives.  The Project was launched in October 2010 at a workshop convened at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and was the inspiration of Robert Darnton, the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library.  The intent was to work toward the creation of “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in the current and future generations.”  A lofty goal, indeed!

Visual artist drawing on poster board.  Poster titled: DLPA - What is the DPLA?

In the intervening months since that original meeting, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, with funding from the Sloan Foundation, has taken on responsibilities for moving the project forward.  A Secretariat and Steering Committee have been formed, as well as six work streams—audience and participation, content and scope, financial/business models, governance, legal issues, and technical aspects.

This past Thursday the work streams met for the first time at George Washington University to discuss their work, create scope statements and identify their priorities.  Most importantly, each group identified and shared their overlap areas with the whole group.

On Friday more than 300 government leaders, librarians, technologist, makers, students, and others interested members of the public “occupied” the National … [ Read all ]

What’s Next?

Written on: October 19, 2011 | 5 Comments

Access to records in this century means digital access. For many people, if it is not online, it doesn’t exist. The use of social media to increase access is the new norm. NARA has been going after innovative tools and projects that increase digital access to our records, including projects that invite public participation. We are developing a Citizen Archivist Dashboard that will encourage the public to pitch in via social media tools on a number of our projects. You will hear about these and more of our projects at next week’s McGowan Forum, “What’s Next in the Social Media Revolution.”

The Forum is also intended to explore issues well beyond our current innovations, and to provide a discussion of what’s next in social media innovation within government and beyond. Our moderator for the evening is Alex Howard, the Government 2.0 correspondent for O’Reilly Media. Alex is @digiphile on Twitter, with over 100,000 followers on that social media platform alone.

Panelists include:

  • Macon Phillips, the White House Director of New Media
  • David Weinberger, senior researcher at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society
  • Pam Wright, Chief Digital Access Strategist at the National Archives

So come on over to the McGowan Forum Friday night, bring your inquisitive friends, and find out what’s next.


Friday, November 4, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater

Seventh … [ Read all ]

Life is Short

Written on: October 12, 2011 | 5 Comments

Steve Jobs will long be remembered for his entrepreneurial savvy, design intelligence, high standards, and ability to predict the future.  The Wall Street Journal called him “the secular prophet.”  I will remember him also as Steve Jobs the philosopher.  His 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford is among the best I have heard or read—and I have heard and read a lot!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

The older I get the more I do feel that my time is limited.  And I’m trying hard to help people discover and heed their own inner voice, heart and intuition.  But most importantly, I am working on tempering my own “noise.”  How about you?… [ Read all ]

Igniting Joy

Written on: October 6, 2011 | 2 Comments

Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer have been analyzing 12,000 diary entries created by hundreds of employees in many different organizations in an attempt to understand inner work life:  “the conditions that foster positive emotions, strong internal motivation, and favorable perceptions of colleagues and the work itself.”  It is about the work, not the “accoutrements.”  Meaningful work, clear goals, autonomy, help, and resources are the required elements identified in their new book, The Progress Principle:  Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work.  “And it depends on showing respect for ideas and the people who create them.”

Their work has revealed that “…people are more creative and productive when they are deeply engaged in the work, when they feel happy, and when they think highly of their projects, coworkers, managers, and organizations.”  They were also startled to learn that 95% of the hundreds of managers they surveyed misunderstood the most important source of employee motivation and ranked “supporting progress” least important.

Thinking back over my own career my inner work life has clearly been “joyful” in those situations where I felt good about the work I was doing, had the resources with which to be effective, and the trust of my supervisor to do the work.  I still remember going to the best supervisor I ever had with a problem to her expecting … [ Read all ]

In Support of Scholarship

Written on: October 3, 2011 | 4 Comments

As the nation’s record keeper, we are passionate about the opportunity to support research and scholarship at the National Archives.  As part of this commitment to research and inquiry, we recently awarded the first National Archives Legislative Archives Fellowship to Dr. Peter Shulman, Assistant Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University.

Peter Shulman in the research room at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

Dr. Shulman’s research focuses on technology and American foreign relations in the 19th and early 20th century, expanding his 2007 dissertation into a manuscript, “Engines and Empire: America, Energy, and the World, 1840-1940.”  By accessing the Congressional records housed at the National Archives, Dr. Shulman is not only able to explore the ways Congress handled questions of foreign relations and technology, but also surveys petitions and memorials as a way to better understand how Americans viewed their government.

The historical records of Congress, housed at the National Archives Center for Legislative Archives (CLA) in Washington DC, provide a wealth of information about the role of Congress since the First Congress convened in 1789.  Dr. Shulman described an exciting find during a recent visit to the CLA: a large collection of petitions and memorials from the early 1850’s asking Congress to reduce ocean postage rates.  He noted,

“Many Americans linked the cost of international postage to things

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