The National Archives and Records Administration Annual Report 1998
This annual report is available in two formats: HTML and PDF (900 KB). The HTML text appears below. Only the PDF version, however, contains the tables and charts listed under "Statistical and Financial Reports."
What Is the National Archives and Records Administration?
How Have We Served the Public?
Message from the Archivist of the United States
Partnering for Public Access
Message from the President of the Foundation for the National Archives
Safeguarding the Charters of Freedom
Tracing "Nazi Gold"
Opening the Bush Library
Managing Electronic Documents
Finding JFK Assassination Records
Providing Online Records Information
Strategic Planning and Performance Reporting
Statistical and Financial Reports (Available in the PDF version only)
Holdings and Use of NARA
Trust Fund and Gift Fund
Disposal of Federal Records
NARA Managerial Staff
the National Archives and Records
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, including 10
Presidential libraries documenting administrations of Presidents back to Herbert
Hoover. Additionally, NARA publishes the Federal Register,administers the Information Security Oversight Office, and makes grants for
historical documentation through the National Historical Publications and
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.
We Served the Public?
What major services did we in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) provide the public in 1997-98? This report highlights six developments through which we helped meet particularly important needs for valuable records:
- We helped people from all over the world trace what became of "Nazi Gold"--assets looted from victims of the Holocaust;
- We helped scholars and citizens gain access to a special collection of records shedding light on the assassination of President Kennedy;
- We helped our Federal Government search for solutions to the problems of managing, preserving, and providing access to computer-created records;
- We enabled researchers, students, and teachers to find out about records in our holdings through their computers at school, at work, and at home;
- We expanded opportunities for the public to explore history by opening our 10th Presidential library, the George Bush Library and Museum;
- And we took steps to ensure the continued preservation of our nation's Charters of Freedom--the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
In previous years, we have reported on our activities office by office, program by
program, cataloging our accomplishments. But in the spirit of the National Performance Review
and the Government Performance and Results Act, this report is different. It features, in the front, major examples of services to our customers. And it begins, in a middle section, a report we will make yearly of where we are with our strategic plan and performance targets.
Are the six featured items above all we have done of significant service? Far from it. We could list many other achievements, including ongoing activities such as the following:
- We helped thousands of veterans document their entitlements to benefits;
- We helped thousands of individuals trace their families' genealogies;
- We helped thousands of visitors learn history from original documents in exhibits in our archival facilities and Presidential libraries;
- We helped Federal officials by pulling thousands of records they requested to meet needs of their agencies and of the public;
- We enabled numerous researchers to find information and illustrations for books, articles, films, and television documentaries;
- And through our work on records management, records preservation, and records processing, and through our grants for records work by others, we helped ensure that future generations of Americans will find the records they will need.
The archives of a nation document the legitimacy of its government, the rights of its citizens, and their history as an independent people. One of the United Nations' resolutions that led to the Gulf War was a condemnation of attempts by Iraq "to destroy the civil records maintained by the legitimate government of Kuwait." In fighting in the Balkans, public records documenting ethnic cultures and identities have been deliberately destroyed in Bosnia and Kosovo. And the charges our founders made against the King of England in the Declaration of Independence included this one: "He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records. . . ." Keeping public records safe and accessible is our goal at NARA.
John W. Carlin
Archivist of the United States
for Public Access
The priceless treasures of American history placed in the care of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) are the heritage of every American. One of NARA's strategic goals is to increase public access to its holdings on a nationwide basis. The Foundation for the National Archives was established in 1992 to help the agency meet this goal. The Foundation creates public-private partnerships to support vital activities that bring NARA's treasures to the public, such as documentary exhibits, educational programs, special events, and facility enhancements for public education and enhanced access.
In the period covered by this report, the Foundation has supported numerous events and projects that both showcase and enhance NARA's wealth of historical records. Through the Foundation, as part of the White House's Millennium Program, the Pew Charitable Trusts granted $800,000 in support of NARA's project to reencase the Charters of Freedom--the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. This particular effort, also supported by congressional appropriations, will ensure that these cherished documents remain safely on public view well into the future. In addition, private-partnership gifts to the Foundation made possible a traveling exhibit and educational document resource book entitled Our Mothers Before Us: Women and Democracy, 1789 1920. Featuring facsimiles of petitions to Congress from women, Our Mothers Before Us illustrates the vital roles American women played in our public life and policy debates, long before they won the right to vote. Foundation support also helped take a traveling exhibit, "Flexing the Nation's Muscle: Presidents, Sport, and Physical Fitness in the American Century," to NARA's Presidential libraries. Done in collaboration with the President's Council on Physical Fitness, "Flexing the Nation's Muscle" celebrated our 20th-century Presidents' encouragement of physical activity and their personal involvement in sports. The Foundation also sponsored receptions for the "Lincoln in Congress" exhibit in the United States Capitol, the 200th anniversary of the founding of the US Navy, and an international conference in Washington, DC, on the search for Holocaust-era assets.
The Foundation and its hundreds of participating members believe in bringing the National Archives and its holdings to as many people as possible. There are numerous opportunities to participate in and assist with these efforts. The Foundation invites you to become part of a group committed to furthering the public's understanding of our nation's story. For more information, please call Naomi Revzin, Director of Development at the National Archives and Records Administration, at 301-713-6146 or 1-888-809-3126.
Lawrence F. O'Brien III, President
Foundation for the National Archives
the Charters of Freedom
America's great Charters of Freedom--the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights--are preserved in the care of the National Archives and Records Administration. But this has not always been so. Consider, for example, the Constitution.
In Philadelphia, in the sultry summer of 1787, 55 men met to create a country. The Constitution that resulted, like so much work of human hands, was written on perishable material. The morning after its signing--in a world without floppy disks, word processors, photocopiers, facsimile printers, or even mimeograph machines--it was placed on the 11 a.m. stagecoach for delivery to the Congress in New York City. Over the next quarter-century or so, the document passed through several custodial hands in different places. Then on August 22, 1814, when British troops were advancing on Washington, three State Department clerks stuffed many government records, including the Constitution, into linen sacks. The clerks loaded the sacks onto carts and hauled them to an unoccupied grist mill on the Virginia side of the Potomac River until they could be safely returned to the capital.
Today, of course, about a million people a year visit the National Archives and gaze, awestruck, at the safely preserved 18th-century parchments of the Constitution and the other Charters. Their distance from us in time is underscored by their quaint capitalization of every noun, their proud display of signatures of great men long dead, and their very "handwrittenness." But the visitors filing by know that the parchments are more than untouchable relics. They represent an ever-unfolding saga of which our own lives are part. They are still the foundation of our government. And that is why we are so careful to safeguard them.
For many years now, the Constitution, the Declaration, and the Bill of Rights have reposed in glass encasements safely protected by an elaborate security system in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. But when a routine examination revealed small irregularities on the inner surface of the glass of the current encasements, we assembled an expert advisory committee. It found no immediate cause for alarm but recommended that we begin planning for reencasement, which we did. Otherwise the parchments eventually could become obscured by the deteriorating glass, and the changing glass boxes might produce chemical reactions affecting the parchments themselves.
So what to do? With the assistance of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and with funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts as well as the Congress, the National Archives is preparing two prototype encasements resembling large, deep picture frames. Seven final encasements based on the design of the prototypes will preserve the Charters well into the next millennium. Laminated, tempered float glass and a diamond-turned, plated, and post-polished seal surface will ensure that the documents can be viewed clearly and safely and that the encasements are well sealed. The encasements will be filled with an atmosphere of argon, an inert gas, that will slow chemical reactions by replacing the reactive oxygen of an air atmosphere.
Those who founded our country would be amazed at the technology used by today's "framers" of the Charters--archivists, architects, engineers, chemists, physicists, and conservators--who, in the period covered by this report, have begun planning and designing new boxes in which to "frame" our nation's founding documents. Their work will make it safe for citizens from all over the country to continue to come see the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives, gaining new appreciation for the documents that bind us together as a nation.
Jacob Friedman remembered making seven different trips from Romania to Switzerland between 1937 and 1938 to deposit his father's money into various bank accounts at three Swiss banks. The trips he took were extremely risky because, at the time, it was illegal for Romanian citizens to hold foreign accounts. Jacob Friedman's parents perished in Auschwitz in 1944. In the early 1970s, Jacob sent an acquaintance to Zurich to inquire about the money in his father's accounts. Bank officials told the envoy that they could not identify the Friedman accounts without an account number. In 1996 Jacob Friedman's son, Robert, made similar inquiries on his own father's behalf, yet received the same reply.
After the war, another Holocaust-victim descendant, Estelle Sapir, acting on information that her father shared with her before he died in a concentration camp, contacted a Swiss financial institution to request the return of all money in her father's accounts. Officials acknowledged the existence of her father's accounts, yet refused to return the money unless she could produce her father's death certificate, which, obviously, Sapir did not have and could not ever obtain.
These stories are representative of those of thousands of Holocaust survivors and their heirs who were the rightful owners of Swiss bank accounts yet have not been able to retrieve their money because they did not have sufficient documentation. In many cases, family members did not even know in which bank their relatives or a representative of their families deposited their assets. In response to Swiss authorities' initial unwillingness to return assets, thousands of Holocaust survivors came to rely on research carried out at the National Archives in what has become known as the story of "Nazi Gold."
As in a wartime spy novel, the activities of Hitler's Nazi era have come to light in documents in the National Archives' holdings from the World War II era. The documents have produced evidence of looted gems, stolen artwork, unclaimed bank accounts, and laundered gold, some of which Nazis may literally have ripped from the mouths of their victims. Revelations have come from the discovery of records relating to "Operation Safehaven," a US Government intelligence operation charged from 1944 to 1946 with tracking down assets that the Nazis moved into neutral countries such as Switzerland. The records suggested that Swiss banks had not disclosed all of their Nazi gold holdings. In fact, the documents revealed that the Nazis shipped billions of dollars of assets into Switzerland between 1938 and 1945. One document contained a list of 182 accounts held in a single bank, which, in today's dollars, would be worth $29 million.
In an ironic twist, it became clear that the Nazis and their victims shared the same banker. Investigators descended on the National Archives. Individual claimants, historians, foreign government organizations, authors, law firms, journalists, and print and broadcast media sought access to the files. Reference requesters ranged from individuals looking for specific records pertaining to assets in banks to Foreign Service officers engaged in efforts to identify, recover, and return looted artworks. The Archives staff compiled and issued a 300-page finding aid to the materials only to follow it up with a supplemental version that reached 750 pages. Originally published in May of 1997, it described more than 15 million pages of documents and included records from 30 US Federal agencies.
"All of the research depended directly upon the unfailing support, assistance, and encouragement of the Archivist of the United States and the staff of the National Archives and Records Administration," said Under Secretary of State Stuart Eizenstat, head of the Interagency Group on Nazi Assets. "Our work simply could not have been carried out without this assistance."
The National Archives staff subsequently produced an online version of the finding aid. This version is designed to enable researchers to do keyword searches. A point and click on the key term "looted art," for example, yields 26 record groups that contain at least one reference to the subject. Of course, a more precise keyword--for example, the name of a particular art gallery, artist, or collection--would allow you to narrow your search even further. As one official put it, "This on-line version of [the] finding aid has saved the US team of the ICE ([Swiss] Independent Commission of Experts) countless hours of sifting through boxes of irrelevant material and has also provided us in some cases with references to record groups we might have overlooked had we relied on more conventional archival research methods."
The research into "Nazi Gold" continues along with countless seminars and symposia on the subject. The Swiss Government helped establish "The Swiss Fund for Needy Victims of the Holocaust," which is funded by some $204 million from the Swiss National Bank, Swiss banks, and private individuals, and two Swiss banks have agreed to a $1.25 billion out-of-court settlement. Additionally, and most notably, the Swiss have begun publishing the names of every account that was opened during World War II and has remained inactive since. Speaking of the "Nazi Gold" records, John Carlin, Archivist of the United States, said, "Everyone should understand the role of records in establishing rights and entitlements, and legitimizing identities and liberties." The Friedmans and Sapirs among thousands of Holocaust survivors and their families would surely agree.
In his will, President Washington gave his Presidential papers to his nephew, Justice Bushrod Washington, to whom they passed upon his death. On Bushrod's death, most of Washington's Presidential papers passed to Congressman George C. Washington, who, in 1834, sold the majority of the papers to the United States for $25,000. President John Adams's materials remained in his family's archives for decades, until they were transferred to the Massachusetts Historical Society, where they long remained closed to the public. President Jefferson took with him his own personal Presidential papers, including his Presidential correspondence, and this material ultimately passed to his heirs. Similarly, Presidents Madison and Monroe willed their material to their heirs.
In the past, Presidents had tremendous power to dispose of their papers as they saw fit. Of the first 30 men to hold the Presidential office, only 13 made specific bequests of their papers. Presidents Van Buren, Garfield, Arthur, Grant, Pierce, and Coolidge are among those who destroyed significant numbers of their papers. President Van Buren destroyed a large portion of his Presidential correspondence while he was still in office. Similarly, President Garfield destroyed many of his Presidential materials in the 2 months between being shot by an assassin and his death in 1881. President Arthur apparently burned three large garbage cans filled with his papers.
Franklin Roosevelt negotiated an arrangement with Congress in which he gave his White House materials to the United States on the condition that they be maintained in a library to be built on Roosevelt's estate in Hyde Park, NY. A historian is said to have asked Roosevelt why his papers did not come within the class of official government documents. The President replied that he was following the precedent set by Washington: "When I came to the White House there was not a scrap of paper in that room; when I retire, I shall not leave a scrap. The room will be swept clean for my successor."
The Presidential Records Act of 1978 terminated the long-standing historical tradition of private ownership of Presidential papers and hence the reliance on Presidential giving for the government to acquire legal custody. The Act established the public ownership of records created by Presidents and their staffs in the course of fulfilling responsibilities of their offices. It entrusted to the Archivist of the United States the task of preserving and providing public access to such records.
Accordingly, the National Archives and Records Administration operates a system of Presidential libraries covering administrations back to Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. And on November 6, 1997, we added a 10th. In ceremonies that drew 20,000 guests, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened on the southwestern edge of Texas A&M University. Three months later the library released its first batch of records, making public more than 2 million pages of documents that provide insights into the 41st Presidency. The records include a detailed daily log of President Bush's activities, documenting among other things his urgent calls to the Middle East when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
Such Presidential records, while comprising the first release of documents from the Bush White House, constitute only part of the 38 million pages of documents stored in the library-museum. The former President has a long résumé--Vice President, ambassador, envoy to China, head of the Central Intelligence Agency, soldier, and oil company executive, as well as husband, father, grandfather, and now, in his "retirement," college professor. At Texas A&M, the former President has been involved in the various academic activities of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service.
The Bush Museum houses memorabilia from the Bush Presidency and the Bush family, and a number of exhibits use state-of-the-art technology to educate and entertain visitors. There is a replica of Bush's office at the Presidential retreat, Camp David, a place the public rarely sees even in photographs. When visitors come, the room darkens, and a beam of light is directed toward each item as it is described in a narration by President Bush himself. In a mock-up of Air Force One, visitors can sit in the "plane" as they listen to descriptions of equipment and facilities aboard.
A portion of the museum is devoted to the war in the Middle East. The stark, realistic display includes scenes of the desert and men and women wearing sand-colored camouflage. The fires of Kuwait are pictured in a large mural of billowing, red-orange flames. The gratitude and respect of the people of Kuwait are demonstrated by an unusual gift--the Door of Kuwait--a large, rustic door, which, according to custom, expresses the sentiment, "When a man gives you the door to his home, you are a member of his family."
The Bush Library and Museum welcomed more than 275,000 visitors in 1998 from throughout the country, including more than 30,000 schoolchildren from across the state of Texas, broadening their appreciation of the Presidency, the White House, and our shared American heritage.
Let us suppose you are doing research that brings you to the National Archives in search of a crucial letter written by some government official long before word-processing computers were widely available. Chances are that the official drafted it with pen or pencil, or dictated the draft to a secretary, who typed it neatly on official stationery, dating it and indicating at the bottom to whom copies were to be sent. The official would then sign it, in effect verifying its authenticity, and the secretary would send it out, keeping a carbon copy as a record, indicating that it was signed. All, of course, on paper.
Let us suppose also the files were judged important enough to come to the National Archives, which would arrange and describe them along with others to help you determine which bodies of records would most likely contain items of value for your research. And after working with an archivist to determine which record group, series, box, and file might hold records of help to you, he or she would bring you one or more folders, in which you would find, yes--the paper letter!
It would be there in part because it got saved in a recordkeeping system, in part because paper lasts a fairly long time (depending on its quality), and in part because the National Archives keeps valuable records in storage conditions that enhance their durability. We have a lot of experience managing, preserving, and helping researchers use records--on paper.
But when your descendants come looking for documents in the National Archives, things could be very different. Today a government official likely will use a computer to write an important letter and simply send it electronically, along with copies, by "e-mail" or as a word-processing attachment to an e-mail message. Quite possibly there will be no secretary, no "official copy," no verifying signature, no recordkeeping system. Indeed, there could be no document if the official deleted the letter to make computer space for others or failed to transfer it to a new computer system before the "old" one "crashed" or became obsolete. The computer disk or tape "containing" the letter might deteriorate anyway before it ever reached the National Archives because electronic media are not nearly as durable as paper. And even if the disk did survive, and today's technology could "read" it, how would we help you find and get a look at the particular letter you wanted to see amid millions of electronically recorded e-mail messages or other forms of electronic information?
In short, we are having to cope with entirely new forms of information in mushrooming quantities. The description above oversimplifies the issues, but it does not overdramatize the challenges. In the era of electronic information, we must find new ways to deal with records at every point throughout their life cycles, even reevaluating what "records" are and what kinds of information about them we need to preserve along with the electronic documents themselves.
Such work is expensive and takes time, but in the period covered by this report we began to make significant progress, in collaboration with other concerned organizations, public and private. Here are a few examples:
Front-end electronic records management: With input from our staff, the Department of Defense developed a set of baseline requirements for the management of its electronic records and issued criteria for the design of computer software for use in electronic-records management. After independent evaluation, we endorsed this DoD standard as consistent with the Federal Records Act and of potential usefulness to other Federal agencies. The standard does not answer all pertinent questions nor preclude other approaches, but it does provide at least a starting point for agencies that want to begin implementing electronic recordkeeping now.
Electronic records evaluation and disposition: The Archivist of the United States created an Electronic Records Work Group, composed of staff members from NARA and other agencies, supported by outside expert consultants. At his request, the group produced recommendations on the basis of which we have subsequently issued guidance to Federal agencies on, among other things, scheduling how long to keep electronic copies of certain records that remain on an e-mail or word-processing system after a recordkeeping copy has been produced. In effect, this encourages agencies to evaluate the need for keeping copies that accumulate in the course of creating and using electronic communications.
Electronic records preservation and access: As the numbers of small, electronic record files judged to be of long-term public value grow into the millions, can we preserve them electronically? Facing the fact that available technologies were not adequate for this task, in 1998 we contracted with the San Diego Supercomputer Center, a national laboratory for computational science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego, to see if advanced computer infrastructures could give a "yes" answer.
In addition to preserving electronic records, we must make them accessible in ways that will enable your descendants to find "letters" they need for research, whatever computer technologies future researchers may be using. In 1998 we began developing plans to provide researchers with a single, easy-to-use access tool to search and retrieve records from hundreds of thousands of electronic files.
Also, we must find a way to screen millions of computer files to identify those we cannot disclose because of legal requirements to protect national security and personal privacy. So we contracted with the Department of the Army's Research Laboratory to see if artificial intelligence could be applied to such screening. Much, much remains to be learned before real success can be declared, but progress in all three projects is encouraging.
In these projects and others, we are dealing with electronic recordkeeping challenges from records creation through records use. Such efforts are exciting to us and critical for our country. In the era of electronic information, continued public access to government records--ready access to essential evidence--depends on their success.
JFK Assassination Records
According to surveys conducted by national news organizations both before and after the release of the popular 1991 film JFK, an extraordinary 80 to 90 percent of the American public did not believe the 1964 findings of the Warren Commission. The conclusions of that investigating group, chaired by United States Chief Justice Earl Warren, were that President Kennedy was killed by a single assassin named Lee Harvey Oswald, who was himself murdered 2 days later (while in police custody) by a second lone gunman named Jack Ruby.
Public doubt about the lone assassination theory stemmed principally from the Commission's essential reliance upon the "single bullet theory." Having determined that the alleged assassin's rifle was capable of firing only three times during the assassination sequence--one shot striking the President in the head and another hitting a curbstone and causing a ricochet injury to a bystander--Commission lawyers "deduced" that a third shot traversed the neck of the President from back to front, struck Texas Governor John Connally in the back, blew out his fifth right rib on exit, shattered his right wrist, pierced his left thigh, and was discovered at Parkland Hospital, where it was found on an unidentified stretcher in nearly pristine condition. Any other scenario would preclude a conclusion that a lone gunman fired on the motorcade.
Doubts about the theory persisted over the years and received renewed emphasis when Oliver Stone's film JFK dramatized the issue. Public interest in the film led to legislative action. Without endorsing the film's speculative conclusions about a conspiracy, several Members of Congress embraced the film's viewpoint that the continuing refusal of the United States Government to release classified records related to the assassination could be neither justified nor tolerated. Thirty years of secrecy, they concluded, had resulted in intense public skepticism and suspicion concerning the assassination and its aftermath--an unhealthy condition in any democracy.
On March 26, 1992, Senator David Boren (D-OK) and Representative John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the "Assassination Materials Disclosure Act of 1992," which called for the "creation of the JFK Assassination Records Collection at the National Archives." The legislation, which was signed into law on October 26, 1992, required "the expeditious public transmission to the Archivist and public disclosure of such records . . . most of which are almost 30 years old, and only in the rarest cases . . . [in need of] . . . continued protection." Congress explicitly made clear its intention that there was to be a "presumption of immediate disclosure" regarding all assassination records.
The new legislation directed the National Archives to begin preparing a "subject guidebook and index" to the collection of records pertaining to the assassination. With narrow exceptions, all assassination records were to be supplied expeditiously to the National Archives by government offices and Presidential libraries in whose files they resided. The Archives was charged with making all such records available to the public within 30 days after receiving them. The legislation also called for the creation of an Assassination Records Review Board, which would determine which, if any, of the assassination records met the national security and other criteria for delayed release. These criteria required "clear and convincing evidence" that public disclosure would reveal, among other things, "an intelligence agent . . . an intelligence source . . . [or] intelligence operations that would demonstrably impair the national security of the United States." In approving the postponement of public disclosure of an assassination record, the Review Board was obligated to release "any part of such record not requiring continued secrecy" and to provide a substitute record or summary of the "postponed" information to the public. Further, the Review Board was required to file with the Archivist a written justification for the postponement and a statement explaining the conditions under which the record should be released.
Among the newly discovered documents were the original notes from Lee Harvey Oswald's interrogation at the Dallas police station. Also opened was a CIA report of more than 250 pages concerning the activities of Oswald in Mexico City during the months prior to the assassination. Related to the Mexico City report were files relating to the late CIA Mexico City Station Chief, Winston Scott.
The Review Board, and the terms of its members, expired on September 30, 1998. By that time the National Archives had released almost 4.5 million documents previously unavailable regarding the Kennedy assassination. Have these records served to increase our collective understanding of what transpired in Dallas's Dealey Plaza that bleak day in 1963? It is too early to tell. Reaching conclusions was not part of the Board's mission, nor is it part of the mission of the National Archives. We will exercise ongoing responsibility for adding to the collection such relevant materials as may come to light and for providing access to records so that Americans, in this as in many other matters, may investigate the evidence for themselves and reach their own conclusions.
Online Records Information
Do you remember the Kennedy administration? Perhaps, if you're over 40. World War II? If you're around 60, you will have at least a child's memory of those years. But the ranks of those who went into uniform after Pearl Harbor, and those who waved goodbye, get thinner every year. World War I? The Rough Riders? You're not likely to have any first-hand memories. And there is no one around (as far as we know) who marched with Susan B. Anthony or personally saw Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.
Preserving images of such people and events, however, is a major part of the work of the National Archives and Records Administration. And now we are making many of the historical images in our care accessible everywhere by Internet.
Check us out at NAIL online. There you will now find more than 123,000 digital images of historical photographs, maps, charts, and textual documents that you can inspect on your computer screen or print out for study and classroom use. These images came from our archival facilities nationwide.
The digitized material covers a huge range of historical subject matter. You will find material illustrative of 20th-century Presidential administrations back to Herbert Hoover. You will find material on the Civil War and subsequent major armed conflicts up through Vietnam. You will find material on the women's suffrage movement and women at work; on the history of African Americans, Chinese Americans, and Japanese Americans; on child labor among other historical social issues; and on many environmental subjects. Included is material on Kitty Hawk and Project Mercury, on the Titanic and Three-Mile Island, on atomic energy and Albert Einstein, and on court cases, congressional activities, and even political cartoons. Included are images from such famous photographers as Mathew Brady, Ansel Adams, and Lewis Hine. And all this is only a surface description of what we have made accessible.
But even the digitized images are not all that we offer electronically. We have linked them to descriptions of thousands of documents in our holdings that you can learn about in our online NARA Archival Information Locator (NAIL). This is a prototype for an Archival Research Catalog through which we eventually will offer researchers descriptions of all records in all of our archival and Presidential library facilities, so that if you want to do research in our documents, you can start at home by searching our computer database for material relevant to your project. We made major progress with this project in the period covered by this report.
Also in 1997 98, we made major progress in creating electronic access to another of our services. The National Archives and Records Administration publishes the Federal Register, a softbound, daily newspaper through which the nation participates in an ongoing dialogue with its government. After Congress passes a law, agencies of the Executive branch write regulations to implement it. These proposed regulations are printed in the Federal Register, and comments from the general public are invited before the regulations are printed again as finally approved. Five nights a week, 18,000 "hard" copies of the Federal Register are printed at the Government Printing Office for distribution the following day to Federal agencies, the Congress, the courts, depository libraries, and 8,000 subscribers. But these numbers represent only a tiny fraction of Federal Register users.
That is because we have put the Federal Register and associated publications online, including the entire 200-volume set of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). As one of the public's primary sources of information about the government, the Federal Register was faced with meeting the call for instant access to information while also maintaining the integrity of official documents. Every business day, our Federal Register staff sends the latest changes in regulations through a high-tech laser beam to the top of a 96-year-old red brick building occupied by the Government Printing Office, proclaimed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest printer under one roof. The electronic files travel through a maze of rooms to desktop computers standing on thick wooden floors that once held vats of molten lead for hot-metal type. The blending of editorial tradition with up-to-the-minute technology now produces a Federal Register/CFR database that retrieves 18 million documents for the public every month.
The Federal Register staff continues to explore new electronic pathways for delivering regulatory information. We are experimenting with electronic submission and online document management to give our agency customers the tools to submit Federal Register documents over the Web. The agencies are building on our work by linking their Web sites to the electronic Federal Register. When these systems work together seamlessly, citizens will be able to read proposed regulations, immediately send electronic comments to agencies, and react to other public input posted online. As issues and questions arise, the agencies will respond by sending updated information to the Federal Register, creating a running dialogue with the American people. Our investment in information technology will draw citizens into the workings of their government and bring light to what has often seemed a veiled process.
Thus we are taking advantage of new technologies to help provide the American public with increasingly easier access to valuable information past and present. While you are checking the Federal Register online for the latest information on government regulations affecting your business, your children can be learning history from digital images of original photographs and documents available from our NARA Archival Information Locator. And you can do it via the Internet without leaving office, school, or home.
Planning and Performance Reporting
In September 1997, NARA issued a Strategic Plan entitled Ready Access to Essential Evidence: The Strategic Plan of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1997-2007. It defined our mission and goals as follows:
The National Archives of the United States is a public trust on which our democracy depends. We at the National Archives and Records Administration enable people to inspect for themselves the record of what their government has done. We enable officials and agencies to review their actions and help citizens hold them accountable. We ensure continuing access to essential evidence that documents:
- the rights of American citizens,
- the actions of Federal officials,
- the national experience.
This is our mission--to ensure, for the Citizen and the Public Servant, for the President and the Congress and the courts, ready access to essential evidence.
We identified four strategic goals that we must strive toward to fulfill our mission.
- One: Essential evidence will be created, identified, appropriately scheduled, and managed for as long as needed.
- Two: Essential evidence will be easy to access regardless of where it is or where users are for as long as needed.
- Three: All records will be preserved in appropriate space for use as long as needed.
- Four: NARA's capabilities for making the changes necessary to realize our vision will continuously expand.
In short, our plan commits us to strengthening records management in the Federal Government, expanding public access to records, preserving them in appropriate space, and expanding our capacity to provide these services. Extensive stakeholder and customer input went into the plan, including the results of congressional consultation, open forums with key constituents, and agency-wide brainstorming sessions. And the plan identified strategies for achieving our goals and targets for charting our progress.
We developed our first Performance Plan, which details the actions and outcomes that must occur if we are to meet the goals and targets in our Strategic Plan. In addition to listing performance goals and measures for evaluating the agency's performance, the plan describes the processes, skills, and technologies, and the human, capital, and informational resources needed to meet the year's performance goals. Our congressional budget request also is linked to the plan's performance goals.
We use four mechanisms to measure actual performance:
- periodic management reviews,
- formal audits of operations,
- an agency-wide performance measurement system, and
- systematic sampling of measurement system effectiveness.
In 1998 we began the development and implementation of an agency-wide performance measurement and reporting system. This system allows us to define and measure consistently data critical to the analysis of annual performance objectives. In the future the system will be expanded so that our strategic performance is measured using a balanced scorecard approach for tracking cycle times, quality, productivity, cost, and customer satisfaction for NARA products and services.
We also will review customer surveys concerning the agency's performance undertaken during 1999, and will take action to respond to customer service needs identified in these surveys. Together the program reports and evaluations, audits, measurement system, and customer surveys will enable us to identify program areas that need attention, analysis, and possible reengineering.
Our first performance plan was written in 1997-98 for fiscal year 1999. Our first performance report will be published in our annual report for 1999.
Archivist of the United States
John W. Carlin
Deputy Archivist of the United States
Lewis J. Bellardo
Assistant Archivist for Administrative Services
Adrienne C. Thomas
Assistant Archivist for the Federal Register
Raymond A. Mosley
Assistant Archivist for Human Resources and Information Services
L. Reynolds Cahoon
Assistant Archivist for Records Services--Washington, DC
Michael J. Kurtz
Assistant Archivist for Regional Records Services
Richard L. Claypoole
Assistant Archivist for Presidential Libraries
David F. Peterson
Gary M. Stern
Kelly A. Sisario
Director, Information Security Oversight Office
Executive Director, National Historical Publications and Records Commission
Ann Clifford Newhall
Director of EEO and Diversity Programs
Joyce A. Williams
Director of Development
Director, Policy and Communications Staff
Gerald W. George
Director, Congressional Affairs
Director, Public Affairs
National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20408-0001
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6701
Washington National Records Center
4205 Suitland Road
Suitland, MD 20746-8001
Diane LeBlanc, Regional Administrator
NARA-Northeast Region (Boston)
380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, MA 02452-6399
NARA-Northeast Region (Pittsfield)
10 Conte Drive
Pittsfield, MA 01201-8230
NARA-Northeast Region (New York City)
201 Varick Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10014-4811
NARA-Mid Atlantic Region
James Mouat, Regional Administrator
NARA-Mid Atlantic Region (Center City Philadelphia)
900 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4292
NARA-Mid Atlantic Region (Northeast Philadelphia)
14700 Townsend Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
James McSweeney, Regional Administrator
1557 St. Joseph Avenue
East Point, GA 30344-2593
NARA-Great Lakes Region
David Kuehl, Regional Administrator
NARA-Great Lakes Region (Chicago)
7358 South Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL 60629-5898
NARA-Great Lakes Region (Dayton)
3150 Springboro Road
Dayton, OH 45439-1883
NARA-Central Plains Region|
R. Reed Whitaker, Regional Administrator
NARA-Central Plains Region (Kansas City)
2312 East Bannister Road
Kansas City, MO 64131-3011
NARA-Central Plains Region (Lee's Summit)
200 Space Center Drive
Lee's Summit, MO 64064-1182
Kent Carter, Regional Administrator
501 West Felix Street, Building 1
P.O. Box 6216
Fort Worth, TX 76115-0216
NARA-Rocky Mountain Region
Robert Svenningsen, Regional Administrator
Denver Federal Center, Building 48
PO Box 25307
Denver, CO 80225-0307
Sharon Roadway, Regional Administrator
NARA-Pacific Region (Laguna Niguel)
24000 Avila Road
PO Box 6719
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-6719
NARA-Pacific Region (San Francisco)
1000 Commodore Drive
San Bruno, CA 94066-2350
NARA-Pacific Alaska Region
Steven Edwards, Regional Administrator
NARA-Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle)
6125 Sand Point Way, NE
Seattle, WA 98115-7999
NARA-Pacific Alaska Region (Anchorage)
654 West Third Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501-2145
NARA-National Personnel Records Center
David Petree, Regional Administrator
NARA-National Personnel Records Center
(Civilian Personnel Records)
111 Winnebago Street
St. Louis, MO 63118-4199
NARA-National Personnel Records Center
(Military Personnel Records)
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
Herbert Hoover Library
Timothy G. Walch, Director
210 Parkside Drive
PO Box 488
West Branch, IA 52358-0488
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
Alan Lowe, Acting Director
511 Albany Post Road
Hyde Park, NY 12538-1999
Harry S. Truman Library
Larry J. Hackman, Director
500 West US Highway 24
Independence, MO 64050-1798
Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
Daniel D. Holt, Director
200 Southeast Fourth Street
Abilene, KS 67410-2900
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library
Bradley S. Gerratt, Director
Boston, MA 02125-3398
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
Harry J. Middleton, Director
2313 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78705-5702
Nixon Presidential Materials Staff|
Karl Weissenbach, Director
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum
Richard Norton Smith, Director
Gerald R. Ford Library
1000 Beal Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2114
Gerald R. Ford Museum
303 Pearl Street, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504-5353
Jimmy Carter Library
Donald B. Schewe, Director
441 Freedom Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30307-1498
Ronald Reagan Library
Mark A. Hunt, Director
40 Presidential Drive
Simi Valley, CA 93065-0600
George Bush Library
David E. Alsobrook, Director
1000 George Bush Drive West
College Station, TX 77845