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Prepared remarks for Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero at the CENDI (the Commerce, Energy, NASA, Defense Information Managers Group) workshop: "Mobile Computing: Delivering Content to the Research Community" Washington, DC

Who is the Archivist?

David S. Ferriero
David S. Ferriero The Archivist of the United States is the head of our agency, appointed by the President of the United States.

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What's an Archivist?

November 18, 2010

Good morning. I am David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States and I am pleased to welcome you to the National Archives for CENDI’s workshop on Mobile Computing.

When I started my own blog as Archivist last April, my very first post was about mobile computing. That month Apple launched the iPad, and it sold 3 million units in 80 days, bringing increased attention to mobile platforms.

The National Archives’ core mission is to preserve and make accessible the records of the Federal Government, and mobile connectivity can exponentially expand access to our records.

The National Archives’ first foray into the mobile world was an iPhone app launched last December by the Reagan Library. Last July we unveiled Federal Register 2.0, a re-imagined “newspaper” of the Federal Government that not only is accessible on smartphones but whose XML document format allows the public to develop digital applications that will make it easier to access and analyze its contents. And now all NARA blogs are mobile-friendly.

We continue to look for ways to generate more apps for NARA resources and are exploring agreements with museum and education organizations to help us bring mobile content to the public. In December we will release a mobile app version of Document of the Day that now appears on Archives.gov.

As the number of mobile Internet users continues to grow, customers’ expectations grow. More and more creative ways to use information are being developed—ways that encourage collaboration, speed, and portability. In order to reach and stay connected with our various online communities, we must meet—and exceed—their expectations of 24 / 7 access to everything from the palms of their hands.

When CENDI was created 35 years ago to stimulate cooperation among Federal scientific and technical information managers, the technological landscape was quite different. Today the average consumer takes for granted technology that was barely an idea in 1985—and the pace of change continues to quicken.

I expect today’s workshop to stimulate a vibrant exchange of ideas on how we, as information professionals, can further leverage the power of the Internet in the palm of our hands or with that chip implanted somewhere in our body!  I hope you saw yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article about the  NYU photography professor who will be broadcasting live images to a museum in Qatar from a thumb-sized camera affixed to his head through a surgical procedure akin to piercing.   So I hope you don’t limit yourselves to what you know today!

I’ll turn you back over now to Lisa Weber. Thank you.

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