The National Archives and Records Administration
Annual Report 2001
This annual report is available in two formats: HTML and PDF (1.5 MB). The HTML text appears below. Only the PDF version, however, contains the tables and charts listed under "Statistical and Financial Reports." If you do not wish to view the entire report in PDF, you may choose to view a smaller file that contains only the "Statistical and Financial Reports" (659 KB).
NARA's Importance in Our Democracy
; ;Message from the Archivist of the United States
You Can Help Tell Our Nation's Story
; ;Message from the President of the Foundation for the National Archives
; ;A Time of Transition for the Archives
; ;Our Top Priority: You, the Customer
; ;Keeping the Past in Our Future
; ;Tracing Our History, Assuring Our Rights
; ;A Steward of the Presidency
; ;Pieces of History: All "Originals"
Statistical and Financial Reports (Available in the PDF version [659 KB] only)
; ;Holdings and Use of NARA
; ;Financial Operations
; ;Records Center Revolving Fund
; ;Trust Fund and Gift Fund
; ;Records Disposed by NARA Records Centers
Foundation Supporters (Available in the PDF version [165 KB] only)
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is our national record keeper. An independent agency created by statute in 1934, NARA safeguards records of all three branches of the Federal Government. NARA's mission is to ensure that Federal officials and the American public have ready access to essential evidence - records that document the rights of citizens, the actions of government officials, and the national experience.
NARA carries out this mission
through a national network
of archives and records services
facilities stretching from
Washington to the West Coast,
administrations of Presidents
back to Herbert Hoover. Additionally,
NARA publishes the Federal
Security Oversight Office,
and makes grants for historical
documentation through the
and Records Commission.
NARA meets thousands of information needs daily, ensuring access to records on which the entitlements of citizens, the credibility of government, and the accuracy of history depend.
In June 2001, Pulitzer Prize - winning author and historian David McCullough spoke to an overflow crowd in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building. He was there to talk about one of our Founding Fathers - John Adams - as part of a series of events leading up to the 225th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
In vividly bringing to life Adams the patriot, Adams the President, and Adams the man, McCullough also gave tribute to the Charters of Freedom - the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
McCullough said he was honored to be "in the presence of the three great documents at the heart of all that we are and all that we hope to remain forever. . . . I feel deeply indebted to this magnificent institution where the life of our country is recorded in trust forever.""
As McCullough so eloquently stated, the National Archives and Records Administration is a public trust on which our democracy depends. We allow people to see for themselves the workings of our unique government. We make transparent the story of the American people - our collective successes and triumphs as well as our blemishes and failures. All of the records we hold - from naturalization papers and military service records to land warrants and census rolls - are the records of our people, as essential to the functioning of our democracy as the Bill of Rights.
Without these records, we would not know or be able to understand our past. We would not be able to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. We would not be able to claim our rights and entitlements. Without these records, we would no longer live in a democracy, for a society whose records are closed cannot be open, and a people who cannot document their rights cannot exercise them.
In this report you will find evidence of how we at the National Archives continue to ensure that we all have ready access to the records of our government.
For example, in 2001 we helped our country transition from one Administration to another. We began conservation treatment on the Charters of Freedom to ensure they will be available for many more generations of Americans to see. The National Archives Building is undergoing a major renovation, after which we will be able to showcase how the records of our people shape the history of our nation. We made important strides in our quest to find new ways to preserve electronic records far into the future, while at the same time providing our visitors the research tools and assistance they need to locate the genealogical records of their own family tree.
The work we do makes it possible to document the actions of our Government, the rights of our citizens, and the history of our nation. Please keep this in mind as you examine this report, as it is our commitment to these ideals that shapes both our daily work and our goals for the future.
John W. Carlin
Archivist of the United States
For more than 60 years, the National Archives has kept, as a public trust, the recorded evidence of our nation's history, beginning with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The Archives holds more than 4 billion cubic feet of documents, millions of feet of film, and thousands of photographic images in its facilities around the country. This material is the evidence of our nation's unprecedented journey. It represents each of us and our forebears. And each of us has the right to access everything that is there.
On July 5, 2001, the National Archives Building's Rotunda, our premier exhibit area, closed for 2 years. A major renovation is now taking place and will allow us to create an exhibition space that will stand beside other great Washington attractions as an important visitor destination on the National Mall.
When our doors reopen in 2003 to a refurbished Rotunda, the three founding documents - our Charters of Freedom - will return as the centerpiece of what will be the "National Archives Experience." In the following year we will expand the impact of the Charters, with new "Public Vaults" - spaces that put each visitor into direct contact with our country's documentary holdings - to celebrate our democracy, to enlighten, to enrich, and to educate. Supported by a new Constitution Avenue Theater and a Learning Center with interactive distance capability, the Public Vaults will add a new dimension to a National Archives visit.
For the first time, visitors will be invited to participate in the making of history, rather than just passively observing it. The "National Archives Experience" will offer the public an experience unique to its mission. At last, the Archives will become the place where we celebrate our history in a way that equals the great resources we hold.
We have come a long way to make this a reality. To date, $106 million in public funds has been committed to refurbish the Rotunda, renovate the National Archives Building, and transfer the three Charter documents. Individuals and corporations are giving generously. But we need your help to raise the remaining $17 million. The Foundation for the National Archives hopes you will join us and support this vision for the "National Archives Experience."
At this moment in our country's history, we pause to take stock. We think about what we must do to keep our democracy vibrant at home and be an example around the globe. Our gifts for the "National Archives Experience" will ensure that the records that define our country continue to inspire Americans as they make their personal contributions to America's future.
In this report we recognize those who are making thoughtful contributions and invite you to join them. To learn how you can be a part of the "National Archives Experience," please call Naomi Revzin, Director of Development (1-888-809-3126) or visit the National Archives online at www.archives.gov.
Charles E. Guggenheim
Foundation for the National Archives
The Fourth of July at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, is always a festive and special event. Along the National Mall, precision drill units and actors portraying our Founding Fathers entertain visitors. Long lines of Americans wait to see our treasured Charters of Freedom - the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
This past Fourth was even more special than usual.
On July 4, 2001, we observed the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration with observances in our Rotunda, as well as outside along Constitution Avenue. Guest speakers offered readings of the Declaration, military bands performed patriotic music, and visitors signed facsimiles of the Declaration.
The day was special in another, more important way, as it marked the last public display of the Charters until 2003. After nearly 4,000 visitors had seen these founding documents on July 4, the parchments were lowered that evening into their underground vault for the last time. They are now being removed from their half-century-old encasements and receiving needed conservation treatment. Afterward, they will be placed in new state-of-the-art encasements and returned to the Rotunda in 2003. Then, for the first time, all four pages of the Constitution (not just two), along with the Declaration and the Bill of Rights, will be on permanent display.
Meanwhile, our 65-year-old National Archives Building is undergoing a long-needed and extensive renovation. Outdated plumbing, electrical, and ventilation and air conditioning systems are being upgraded to comply with applicable codes. All fire safety issues and deficiencies will be resolved. Storage conditions for records will be upgraded.
The public areas of the building will be consolidated on the lower floors. These areas, as well as our entrances, will be modified to comply with the Americans for Disabilities Act. The space surrounding the Rotunda will be expanded for exhibits, educational activities, and public outreach programs. And the re-encased Charters will be displayed so that they are easier to view by all our visitors.
Our research facilities also will be expanded and upgraded with the establishment of a new Genealogy and Community History Research Center as the focal point for all genealogy research. Security - already being upgraded before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks - will continue to be strengthened to protect our documents as well as our visitors, researchers, and staff.
During the renovation, you may encounter some dust and noise, but all our research facilities are open and accessible from our Pennsylvania Avenue entrance.
The renovation will also open a new window on the National Archives and a new means to access the incredible history documented in the public record. Our goal is not only to build a world-class visitor destination, but also to improve civic and historic literacy. The "National Archives Experience" will give a million visitors a year an opportunity to explore the world that researchers, historians, genealogists, and archivists spend their lives mining.
The "National Archives Experience" will include the Rotunda, a temporary exhibit gallery, a theater, a learning center - and new Public Vaults, which will combine authentic documents, videos, and software to create truly "minds-on" exhibits. It will give visitors the chance to see history being made and, better yet, to make history themselves out of the raw evidence in our records. And on July 4, and every other day, it will transport visitors into the heart of our mission.
To find out more . . .
* Learn more about the Charters of Freedom project as well as the long history of the Charters.
* Learn more about our future "National Archives Experience".
* To help with the "National Archives Experience," contact Naomi Revzin, NARA's Director of Development, at 301-837-2097 or 1-888-809-3126, or go to Make Your Signature Count!
Our mission at the National Archives and Records Administration is strictly customer-oriented: "Ready access to essential evidence."
We mean exactly what we say, too.
We will provide the records you need as quickly as we can, whether you are the President of the United States, a Member of Congress, a historian, journalist, professional researcher - or just an average American in search of details about your family history.
Moreover, at all our locations in the Washington area and around the country, we are working hard to improve not only the quality of service you receive from us but also the surroundings you'll work in during a visit to one of our facilities.
At our regional archives around the country, for example, we are now open on some evenings and some Saturdays and have added more staff to help customers during these extended hours. This year, the public took advantage of 5,878 extended hours through more than 22,500 additional research visits.
At our facilities in Washington, DC, and College Park, MD, we have speeded up registration for researchers so you'll have more time to find and review the documents you need.
For our many microfilm users, we have overhauled and updated our microfilm locator database - correcting mistakes, resolving inconsistencies, and finishing incomplete sections. You can go to any NARA location around the country or access it on our web site and use it to locate any microfilm in our holdings.
Our National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis more than tripled the percentage of written records requests answered within 10 working days. The Center also neared its goal of a 10-day response to most requests for a copy of a veteran's military separation document (DD 214), the document used by veterans to determine eligibility for Government benefits and employment.
Our Presidential libraries also have customers in mind. The Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, NY, significantly improved the quality and selection of merchandise in its museum store. And the Kennedy Library in Boston instituted timed ticketing at one of its exhibits so visitors would not have to wait in line for long periods.
We have also improved customer service for those of you who deal with us by phone or on the Internet. First, we've made it easier to reach us with new toll-free numbers. We'll connect you with the person who can answer your question or solve your problem. If you have ordered copies of records or photographs from us, we'll be able to tell you when you can expect it.
For Internet customers, we have also improved our web site, www.archives.gov, so you can more easily and more quickly search for records or documents or simply learn more about us. The addition of such features as an index and a drop-down menu make the site more user friendly.
We're proud of what we've done, but we know we need to do more for our customers. And we are working on further improvements - such as public access computers in all our facilities nationwide and speedier delivery of requested documents - in the near future. Let us know how we're doing at email@example.com.
Day in and day out, we keep you, our customer, in mind. That's why we work so hard to make sure "ready access to essential evidence" is more than just a slogan. It's a way of life.
To find out more . . .
* Call the National Archives on our toll-free numbers. For general questions about our holdings, call the National Archives Building in Washington, 1-866-325-7208, or the National Archives at College Park, 1-800-234-8861. To order a publication or check on the status of an order, call 1-800-234-8861. You can also ask questions by email at Contact NARA.
* Our regional archives now have extended hours in evenings and on Saturdays. For the addresses and phone numbers of these facilities, see NARA Facilities.
* For information on how to do research at any of our facilities, go to www.archives.gov/research_room on the Internet.
As we intensify our efforts to develop ways to preserve our Government's rapidly increasing production of electronic records, we are struck by one singular fact: The National Archives and Records Administration is not alone in this endeavor.
Experts from around the world are joining us in partnerships, dialogs, and information exchanges as they, too, search for the best way to preserve growing caches of electronic records in every country, in every government - in nearly every facet of life.
Recordkeeping agencies in other countries and our own private industry have come to us, too, seeking our guidance on how best to preserve their own electronic records. And we have strengthened our existing partnerships with other Federal agencies to bring as many resources as possible to our research efforts.
We are working with our partners in Government to build an "archives of the future." This Electronic Records Archives (ERA) will preserve records free of any specific computer system or software application and will enable users many years from now to retrieve them with technology yet to be developed.
In 2001 we began to see results of research from laboratories and universities around the world. We applied some early research findings to practical pilot and prototype projects. We added expert staff and an experienced contractor to help manage the ERA's acquisition and development. And we won recognition for our work at the highest levels of Government.
At the San Diego Supercomputer Center, where much of our ERA research is being done, experts are seeking to preserve the newest kind of public record-Federal agency Internet sites. They are using the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library's web site to test ways to preserve the content, appearance, and organization of these sites, many of them multilayered, complex, and constantly changing.
With the Georgia Tech Research Institute, we are working on a project at the George Bush Library aimed at more timely and efficient processing of Presidential records preserved on computer hard drives. Software tools being developed there have proven thousands of times faster than manual techniques for retrieving records from other kinds of computer files.
As tools for archivists emerge from our research and pilot projects, they are put to use right away. For example, we are assisting other Federal agencies with guidance and tools to help them properly manage their electronic records, including permanent records being created now that eventually will feed into the ERA. At the same time, we want the technology we develop to be useful to other recordkeeping institutions. That's why we're making it "scalable" so it can be adapted by smaller archives in state and local governments, libraries, colleges and universities, and historical organizations.
Meanwhile, we are reaching out to our constituencies to explain the ERA and why it's needed and to tell of our progress in creating it. And those efforts have paid off. In a report on Federal research activities for the fiscal year 2002 budget, the White House signaled that research on preserving digital records was crucial. "The obsolescence of older storage hardware and software threatens to cut us off from the electronically stored past," it said.
We have a long way to go in building the ERA, but we have made a solid, encouraging start toward ensuring that these electronic records will be available to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
To find out more . . .
* For a full background on our ERA project, visit our ERA web page at www.archives.gov/electronic_records_archives.
* Learn more about the San Diego Supercomputer Center at www.sdsc.edu. The National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure, created to take advantage of emerging opportunities in high-speed computing and communications, is at www.npaci.edu.
* To learn more about Georgia Tech Research Institute's Presidential records project at the Bush Library, go to http://perpos.gtri.gatech.edu.
One of our many roles at the National Archives and Records Administration is that of helping researchers of all kinds - Americans seeking to document their citizenship, verify military service, or trace their family history.
Margie Wilson Green of Orange, CA, had tried for years to learn more about the World War II death of her brother, Lonzo Junior Green, on a submarine sunk by the Japanese. At a genealogy lecture by an archivist from our Laguna Niguel, CA, regional archives, she told him of her search. He found photographs of her brother's submarine in our Still Picture Branch and located his name on a memorial in Hawaii. And he helped her track down, through a Freedom of Information Act request, the final Navy report on her brother's death.
Anunziata Laurilla, 96, needed documentation of her birth in New York City to continue receiving Medicaid benefits for nursing home care. A caseworker came to our New York regional archives with only a few clues. Within an hour, a reference archivist used an address on a 1917 grammar school letter to find the Laurilla family in the 1910 census, which listed Anunziata as a 4-year-old born in New York City.
S. C. Donnelly of Ceres, CA, came to our regional archives in San Bruno, CA, because she needed verification of her naturalization to take a foreign trip. She didn't have a U.S. passport or time to get one. Our staff located, through Federal court records, verification of her naturalization. That, along with her birth certificate, allowed her to leave the country and return. She is now applying for her passport.
These are just a few of the kinds of requests we receive every day from people who need our help. In 2001 we took more strides to make records documenting individuals and their rights more readily accessible.
In an action important to African-American genealogy research, we began the 5-year job of microfilming the records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (Freedmen's Bureau). From 1865 to 1872, the bureau provided newly freed slaves with food, clothing, transportation, and medical care, and its records document labor contracts, marriages, and family reunifications. We are microfilming the Florida records in a pilot project and will process records of other Southern states in alphabetical order. As each state's records are microfilmed, they will be available in our facilities around the country and through our microfilm rental program.
In St. Louis, experts at the National Personnel Records Center are preserving the flight records of the U.S. Air Force and its predecessor organizations from 1911 to 1995. These records document anyone who flew in any capacity on one of the flights.
We also accepted the Bureau of the Census' plan to convert the digital image files of the 2000 Census to microfilm, guaranteeing they will be preserved for eventual release in 72 years.
And we prepared for the release of the 1930 census on April 1, 2002, by developing print and online census catalogs as well as a database that helps to guide you to the correct roll of microfilm. To meet customer demand for access to these records, we have upgraded or expanded several of our research rooms around the country.
All these things will make it easier for you to document your role in America's past and your rights in America's future.
To find out more . . .
* The popular Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives is now available in an extensively revised and expanded third edition. For details, call 1-800-234-8861 or check with NARA publications shops in Washington and College Park or other NARA facilities around the country.
* For more background on the Freedmen's Bureau, go to www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/
summer_1997_freedmens_bureau_records.html. To get a free copy of the new Reference Information Paper 108, Black Family Research: Records of Post - Civil War Federal Agencies at the National Archives, call our Customer Service Division at 1-800-234-8861.
* To learn more about the 1930 census, available to the public on April 1, 2002, and how to get information from it, go to http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1930/.
As Americans went to the polls in the fall of 2000 to choose a new national leader, we at the National Archives and Records Administration performed some of our most important duties as a steward of the institution of the American Presidency.
We oversaw the electoral college's selection of a new President. We took custody of the records of the outgoing President. And we offered expert advice to the incoming President on records management.
Throughout the autumn of 2000, our staff at the Office of the Federal Register coordinated the work of the electoral college, acting as an intermediary between the states and the Congress. In November, voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia chose the electors, who then met in their respective states in December and cast votes for President and Vice President. We received and certified the official ballots of the electors, then assembled them for delivery to Congress.
Our officials were on hand in the House of Representatives on January 6, 2001, when outgoing Vice President Albert Gore presided over a joint session of Congress convened, as the Constitution directs, to count the electoral votes and announce the winner. The result was 271 votes for George W. Bush and 266 for Gore (one ballot was left blank).
Meanwhile, space was leased in downtown Little Rock, AR, to store the records of President William J. Clinton in preparation for the Clinton Library, now under construction nearby. The Clinton Presidential Materials Project began receiving shipments of Clinton records during the autumn of 2000. Eight C-5A transport planeloads of records - some 625 tons - were shipped to Little Rock, with the final flights just a few days after Clinton left office.
The 8-year Clinton administration generated 80 million pages of records, compared to the 8 years of the Reagan administration, which produced 50 million pages. The Clinton administration also produced 8 years' worth of electronic records.
Included in the electronic Clinton records were about 40 million email messages, and we took formal, legal steps to ensure we have sole legal custody of these emails. This was necessary because after January 20, these emails needed to undergo some restoration and reformatting before they could be accessioned and preserved by NARA. This project is expected to continue through 2005.
Also among the records of the Clinton administration was something else new: White House and Federal agency web sites. To preserve these kinds of records, NARA asked all Federal agencies to submit a pre-January 20 "snapshot" of their web sites, including all the files associated with an agency's public presence on the Internet (except databases).
We were also able to post on the Clinton Project's web site on January 20 snapshots of four versions of the Clinton White House web site, taken at different times during Clinton's tenure, and all searchable. It marked the first time any kind of Presidential records have been available to the public the day a President left office.
As the new Bush administration took over, our officials established working relationships with the new White House team, which welcomed our expert assistance on managing Presidential and Federal records, especially the rapidly expanding area of electronic records.
NARA is proud to serve in a key and important role in this quadrennial transfer of power that is one of the hallmarks of our democracy.
To find out more . . .
* Learn more about the electoral college and see images of the Certificates of Attainment for the electors and their actual ballots at www.archives.gov/federal_register/electoral_college/electoral_college.html.
* The Clinton Presidential Materials Project's web site (to become the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum), http://www.clintonlibrary.gov, has information about Clinton administration records as well as a sampling of White House web sites from the Clinton years, which are searchable.
* For background on the Memorandum of Understanding affecting the emails of
the Clinton-Gore administration, go to www.archives.gov/presidential_libraries/presidential_records/
They were often written in haste, maybe under pressure. Sometimes they show revisions. They might contain errors, and even corrections, but not always. They did not necessarily begin life as "historic documents."
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's handwritten "in case of failure" statement to the world that the D-day invasion had not succeeded contains a wrong date, July 5, instead of June 5, 1944, the day before the Allied invasion of Europe began on June 6. The statement, of course, was never needed.
As the Civil War began, a letter from Robert E. Lee to the Secretary of War, written on a plain piece of lined paper, announced Lee's decision to resign his commission in the U.S. Army rather than take up arms against his native South, whose armies he would soon lead.
Actor John Wayne's application in 1943 for a commission in the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner to the CIA, was followed years later by the request of another celebrity, singer Elvis Presley, to President Richard Nixon for credentials as a Federal drug enforcement agent.
These and other small pieces of history, despite humble or workaday beginnings, are included along with well-known documents in our "American Originals" exhibit. Different versions of "American Originals" have been shown at the National Archives Building in Washington since 1995, and a new traveling version is touring the country through 2004.
The documents in "American Originals," the famous ones and the not-so-famous ones, breathe life and reality into the stories and ideals found in every history book. And the lesser-known documents provide fresh perspectives to some of our country's milestone events.
Some items in the collection were considered historic when they were created: The original copy of the Articles of Confederation, the Louisiana Purchase treaty; the Emancipation Proclamation; and Richard Nixon's letter of resignation. Other documents became important over time: The 1879 patent application by Thomas A. Edison for a patent for improvements in the light bulb and Rosa Parks' fingerprint chart after she was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, AL, in 1955.
Another popular exhibit, "Picturing the Century: One Hundred Years of Photography from the National Archives," toured the Middle East in 2001 and is now traveling throughout the United States. It depicts the 20th century, the first to be photographed in full, and draws on our collection of more than 14 million photographs - ranging from ordinary Americans in everyday life to well-known figures at historic moments.
Elsewhere, an exhibit for the 60th anniversary of the first Presidential library, the Roosevelt Library, is titled "Oddities, Etc.: A Display of Affection." Included are more than 200 gifts to the Roosevelts from heads of state as well as from ordinary Americans, including a 7-foot-high papier-mâché sphinx with FDR's visage and a pipe with his head carved in the bowl.
The Ford Museum's "Style and Substance: America's First Ladies," included such artifacts as Abigail Adams's Revolutionary War bullet mould and writing instruments used by Sarah Polk to review her husband's papers. The Kennedy Library's exhibition of original clothing and accessories worn by Jacqueline Kennedy was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (An online version is at www.jfklibrary.org/jbk_wh_years_01.html.)
These exhibits - featuring the famous as well as the obscure - help us carry out our mission to make history more accessible to our citizens.
To find out more . . .
* Online versions of "American Originals" and "Picturing the Century" can be found at www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall.
* Both "American Originals" and "Picturing the Century" are touring the country through 2004. For a schedule of "American Originals" locations and dates, go to www.archives.gov/exhibit-hall/american_originals_iv/traveling_exhibit.html "Picturing" is part of the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibits. For a schedule of locations and dates, go to www.sites.si.edu.
* Catalogs for "American Originals" and "Picturing the Century" are available in NARA publications shops in Washington and College Park, or you can order them by going to www.archives.gov/publications/how_to_obtain_publications.html. You can also order them from the University of Washington Press at www.washington.edu/uwpress/ or 1-800-441-4115.
Our guiding document, Ready
Access to Essential Evidence:
The Strategic Plan of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1997 - 2007 (revised 2000), describes the key goals our agency strives to achieve.
While the Government Performance and Results Act requires agencies to measure and report their progress to Congress, we at NARA have worked hard to make performance measurement a part of our agency culture.
As we complete our fourth year of performance measurement, we have begun to notice performance trends that can help us identify areas where we need to work harder and where we can exceed our earlier expectations.
By measuring our current performance regularly, we can better predict our future performance. That allows us to use our resources where they will be most efficient and beneficial to you, our customer.
The first goal in our plan is that essential evidence - documentation of the rights of American citizens, the actions of Federal officials, and the national experience - will be created, identified, and appropriately scheduled and managed for as long as needed. Our duty is to ensure that records are kept long enough to protect individual rights, assure Federal accountability, and document our history and that we destroy records when they are no longer needed.
In recent years, the look of records has changed significantly. While our current processes were developed primarily for paper records, today's records are mostly created through electronic means and maintained in a variety of media. We have several projects under way to examine different aspects of how these records are managed throughout their life and how long they should be kept.
Since 1999, Targeted Assistance has put NARA in partnership with 64 Federal agencies on 227 projects to help them resolve records management issues before they become problems. NARA records analysts work directly with agency records officers and program managers to help guide agency recordkeeping practices.
At the same time, we completed the first phase of an initiative to improve Federal records management - a study of Federal agency views and perceptions about recordkeeping, their business processes, and the records they generate. This information will help us analyze our current policies and lead to a more effective and efficient scheduling process, thus significantly increasing the numbers and kinds of records that are appropriately scheduled and managed for as long as needed.
Our second goal is to ensure that essential evidence will be easy to access for as long as needed regardless of where it is or where users are. More than ever, our customers expect to be able to access NARA records and services without visiting a NARA facility. We are pursuing that goal with an Archival Research Catalog (ARC), an online catalog of all our holdings nationwide. A prototype of ARC - the NARA Archival Information Locator (NAIL) - is available today on our web site and allows users to search records descriptions of about 13 percent of our holdings by title, subject, date, or other keywords.
Several performance objectives under this goal focus on customer service and facilitating communication with our customers. If you sent us a written request for information about our archival holdings, 93 percent of the time we responded to you within 10 working days, an improvement over the past 2 years. If you made an appointment to look at records in one of our research rooms, 99.6 percent of the time your records were ready when you arrived. And if you attended one of our education programs, workshops, or training courses, 96.5 percent of the time you rated it "excellent" or "very good."
We are committed to meeting or exceeding our customer service standards, and each year, in these areas and others, we try to do better than we did the year before.
Space and Preservation
Our third goal is that all records will be preserved in appropriate space for use as long as needed. The records of our nation have been entrusted to our care, and the work we do now will ensure the documentation of our past will be preserved and protected for our grandchildren and their grandchildren. We are making extensive renovations of the National Archives Building and are reencasing America's Charters of Freedom - the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. When renovations in the Rotunda are complete in 2003, all visitors will be able to view the Charters with ease and without assistance.
In fiscal year 2001, we took custody of the records of the Clinton administration and moved them from the White House to a temporary facility in Little Rock, AR, where we began preparing them for the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library. These are important steps in the process of the eventual opening of Clinton Presidential records to the public by 2006.
Our fourth goal is that NARA's capabilities for making the changes necessary to realize our vision will continuously expand. We continue to focus on our technical capabilities, such as improving the reliability and security of our computer network infrastructure.
Likewise, we have worked to improve employees' personal effectiveness and to ensure that each staff member has the skills necessary to competently perform his or her work. We began this year to link each employee's performance goals to NARA's strategic goals so he or she can see exactly how his or her work directly contributes to our goals. We believe employees perform more effectively when they understand that their work is important to the success of our Strategic Plan.
To find out more. . .
* Ready Access to Essential
Evidence: The Strategic Plan
of the National Archives
and Records Administration,
1997 - 2007 (revised
2000) can be found on our
web site at www.archives.gov/about_us/
* The Archivist's 2001 State
of the Archives speech is
available at www.archives.gov/about_us/
archivists_speeches/speech_12-5-01.html. Links to other important NARA statements are available at www.archives.gov/welcome/index.html.
* Read our performance plans and reports at www.archives.gov/about_us/
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Archivist of the United States
John W. Carlin
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