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Today’s post comes from Markus Most, Director of the Digitization Division at the National Archives.

In September 2007, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) requested public input on a Draft Plan for Digitizing Archival Materials. Incorporating feedback from the public, NARA issued the Strategy for Digitizing Archival Materials for Public Access, 2007-2016 in May 2008. The strategy has served NARA well: the online catalog has over 2 million digital objects, the public has access to over 235 million images, and there were over 1.2 billion views of NARA content on Wikipedia in FY13.

Digital Equipment Machines, 1964

We’re updating our Digitization Strategy – have your say! (National Archives Identifier 3493265)

Since the strategy was published six years ago, there have been rapid advances in many areas including social media, crowdsourcing, and our understanding of access. It is critical that our digitization strategy build on our successes, but also incorporate and take advantage of these changes. NARA is revising its digitization strategy and is asking for input from you to make sure our strategy is current.

Using the existing strategy as a starting place, what changes would you make? The current strategy is available here:

Some of the areas we are considering include:

  • Expanding partnerships beyond digitization of paper and microfilm;
  • Encouraging public engagement in digitizing and describing our records;
  • Creating additional streams of digitized content into our online catalog; and
  • Non-traditional sources of funding.

Post your suggestions on this blog post, or email Please send us your suggestions by June 30, 2014.

On Friday, May 31, 2014, the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero blogged about the release of our third Open Government Plan in the post, “Innovate to Make Access Happen.” You can access the agency’s newest Open Government Plan in PDF, Word, and at

Open Gov Plan image

Thank you for your feedback! We received more than 50 thoughtful comments and suggestions for ways that NARA can increase transparency, participation, and collaboration in the way we do our work. We have summarized the feedback that was submitted in Appendix A of the plan and provided responses to many of the suggestions we received.

The development of our plan brought together more than 30 staff members from across the agency to describe and plan our open government efforts for the next two years.

We’ve aligned the Open Government Plan to the agency’s new strategic goals, and this is reflected in the Flagship Initiative, “Innovate to Make Access Happen.” The Flagship includes our work in digitization, description, and online access for the next two years.

Within the plan, you’ll also learn about our efforts to strengthen public and employee engagement, implement the Open Data Policy, and reduce our backlog of pending Freedom of Information Act Requests. We describe our work with Federal agencies to implement guidance that addresses the electronic management of email and other records, and our ongoing efforts to streamline processes in the National Declassification Center.

Yes, the plan is 58 pages (!), but I promise you’ll learn a lot about NARA and the important ways that we work to strengthen open government.
To learn more about our open government efforts, visit  To provide feedback on NARA’s most recent Open Government Plan, please comment below or email

Today’s post comes from Ben Jordi, Technical Writer/Editor in the Office of the Federal Register.

The National Archives’ Office of Innovation and Office of the Federal Register teamed up with Wikimedia D.C. to host OFR’s first Wikipedia Editathon on Friday, May 23, 2014 in our Innovation Hub.  As part of our mission to inform the American public, OFR worked with NARA’s Wikipedian in Residence, Dominic McDevitt-Parks, to begin collaborating with the Wikipedia community.  Like NARA, our goal is to go where our customers are, rather than building our technology and social media footprint around our business structure and hoping our customers can find us through the noise.

Federal Register Editathon event
Office of the Federal Register staff collaborate with Wikipedians in NARA’s Innovation Hub, 5/23/14

At OFR we are responsible for several publications, including the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Government Manual, List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA), and the Public Papers of the Presidents, to name a few.  Each of these publications is aimed at informing the public about the business of their government and how to best find the information they seek.  In our work with Wikipedia, we hope to better connect the dots for our customers and how they find what they are looking for.  Two years ago we made a big step in that direction with our launch of  We sought to display the contents of the Federal Register in such a way that would make it more readable, pertinent, and understandable to our audience.

We hope our efforts with Wikipedia will teach us how the public expects to consume OFR content and hopefully, in the process, the public gets a better understanding of what we do. Some specific accomplishments from the event include a new article for the List of CFR Sections Affected, a new model for future articles about CFR parts (e.g. Title 49 CFR Part 600 – 699), and updating several more articles related to our work, including Title 35 of the CFR, Administrative Procedure Act, Executive order, and Electoral College. For this event, our goal was to make connections to the Wikipedia community and to build on those connections moving forward.  Introductions by David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and Charley Barth, Director of the Federal Register, demonstrated NARA leadership’s commitment to improving the quality of information about the Federal Register on Wikipedia. Of the ten members of the public who attended, there were representatives from Wikimedia, Wikisource, Wikidata, as well as members of NARA’s research community.  They were all very engaged and each brought a unique and fresh approach to presenting OFR content to our customers.  Our efforts moving forward will be to include Wikipedians in our weekly Wikipedia staff meetings and hopefully to determine other ways to engage the public.

Your participation and feedback is essential to the operations of the National Archives. As part of ongoing budget adjustments, the National Archives at Anchorage will close in the coming months, and archival records will be moved to the National Archives at Seattle.

In order to make the Alaska records more broadly available to the public, we are planning to digitize records from the Alaska field office. As valued stakeholders in the National Archives, we are seeking your participation to help select the Alaska records that should be prioritized for digitization.

To help identify which records should be digitized first, please see the list of accessioned holdings relating to Alaska**, as well as the 24 series of records from the Alaska facility that have historically received the most reference requests. You may also write-in your choice of records if it does not appear on the list.

Color post card. "Cape Prince of Wales Reindeer Herd--largest in Alaska."
Color post card. “Cape Prince of Wales Reindeer Herd–largest in Alaska.” National Archives Identifier 297780

After we receive your feedback, NARA will also take into consideration access and use restrictions, preservation issues, series size, and ease of digitization when determining the final prioritization. Your participation will also help NARA better understand the interests and needs of researchers and stakeholders, as well as further participation and transparency in an open government.

We welcome your feedback as comments on this blog post. Alternatively, you can send feedback in an email to We would like your input by June 30th.

Thank you for your continued interest and participation.

**The list of accessioned holdings relating to Alaska was updated on 5/27/14 to include Creating Organization.

It’s that time again! We are developing the agency’s third Open Government Plan and we need your suggestions for 2014-2016.

Take a look at our overview of proposed actions for this plan and our previous plan and tell us what you would like to see included. How do you think we should further transparency, participation, and collaboration at the National Archives?

We’re looking for your feedback on a variety of topics, including:

  • Innovation, crowdsourcing, and public engagement

  • Digitization and online public access

  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

  • Declassification

  • Records management

Post your suggestions on this blog post, or email Please send us your suggestions by April 23, 2014 so they can be considered for the plan.

NARA Open Gov Plan #2

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