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“What Are You Working On, Dan Rooney?”

by on September 15, 2010


Ever wonder what exciting new projects the many employees at NARA are working on? The “What are You Working On?” blog feature aims to introduce a variety of NARA employees and highlight some of the exciting projects we are working on around the agency. Check for this blog series on Wednesdays!

This week, we introduce Dan Rooney, supervisory archivist in the Motion Picture, Sound, and Video unit.


What is your name and title?

Dan Rooney, Supervisory Archivist, NWCS-M

Where is your job located?

I’m at Archives II, Room 3360

What is your job in a nutshell?

I am the new supervisor of Motion Picture, Sound, and Video unit.

I share responsibility for the management of the Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS) with the Stills and Cartographic supervisors.

What are you working on right now?

For about the last 8 months, I’ve been working on a Business Process Reengineering (BPR) Project focused on digitization activities. The primary focus of the project has been special media records; we’ve examined how NARA digitizes analog records (for both access and preservation purposes), shares and moves digital files, interfaces with ARC and ERA, and provides access to the public. Although the focus has been on special media records, the project really touches many parts of NARA and we’ve examined many other projects going on in the NWTS labs and with the digitization partners and vendors.

It has certainly been educational for me; the process of digitization in a large organization such as NARA is complex, and will ultimately become part of many people’s every day work in one way or another. We need to find ways to continue to build on what we’ve already accomplished in the last few years, maximize efficiency, and develop what I perceive to be the critical technology infrastructure to support new ways of achieving the same mission.

How long have you been at NARA?  Have you worked at any other NARA location?

My anniversary date is this week! It’s been exactly 8 years. My whole tenure has been in College Park, although I’ve worked for a few different units. The bulk of my time has been with NWCS.

What has changed since you started at NARA?

What hasn’t?!? The biggest change I would probably point to is the staff. We’ve seen many retirements in recent years of dedicated, career professionals who served NARA with distinction. I think it’s fair to say that the agency is at somewhat of a generational crossroads. I hope that we can live up to the high bar set by our predecessors.

Do you have a favorite day at NARA, or a favorite discovery or accomplishment?

So many things can be rewarding around here, particularly when the public compliments us for a job well done. There’s a certain satisfaction in that whereby you can feel really good about the work that NARA does.

Dan in the Flight Director's Chair in the Old Apollo Mission Operations Control Room in Houston, TX.

Otherwise, there are some really cool opportunities that working in NWCS has afforded me over the years. For instance, last fall I traveled with my colleague Billy Wade (NWCS) to NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, TX for 3 days to examine and advise them on their special media holdings.

Dan in the Flight Director’s Chair in the Old Apollo Mission Operations Control Room in Houston, TX.

That was quite the experience! Here is a photo of me in the Flight Director’s Chair in the old Apollo Mission Operations Control Room. The room is no longer actively used, actually it’s been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is run by the Smithsonian now.

What are your passions or interests outside of work?

I’ve been teaching myself to fly fish for the last few years, which is a challenging endeavor that I just can’t say enough about. It has led me to explore some absolutely beautiful Maryland rivers that I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. I also have always been a big baseball fan.

Right now I’m preparing to be a new dad . . . This will change my life outside of work big time!

What is the last book you read, or the last book you loved?

This summer I read The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. It was a great read about the Court and the history of its makeup.

Lately though, I’m only reading books about babies :-)


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