National Archives Chief Innovation Officer Pamela Wright Takes Top Award
Press Release · Wednesday, November 16, 2022
The White House announced today that National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Chief Innovation Officer Pamela Wright has been selected for a Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award (PRA) in recognition of her extraordinary work as a career federal employee.
“Pam’s exceptional executive leadership is invaluable to NARA, our strategic goals, and our mission,” said Debra Steidel Wall, Acting Archivist of the United States. “She is NARA’s first Distinguished Rank recipient. Her nomination and award is a huge accomplishment, as only one percent of Senior Executive Service members of the federal government may win the prestigious Distinguished Rank title.”
Established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, PRA recognizes career members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) for exceptional performance over an extended period of time. Executives from across the federal government are nominated by their agency heads, rigorously evaluated by citizen panels, and approved by the President of the United States.
As NARA’s inaugural Chief Innovation Officer, Ms. Wright is recognized as an industry-wide expert on emerging digital technologies designed to dramatically expand public access to the archived permanent records of the federal government. She has focused on leading projects that combine NARA’s values to Collaborate, Innovate, and Learn with the exploration and introduction of evolving technologies and digital spaces for the nation’s most valuable, historical records.
Wright is NARA’s lead for Open Government, and guided by the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration, she has spearheaded numerous agency-wide initiatives that have moved the agency forward and democratized access to the records. She and her Office of Innovation staff steer agency-wide description and digitization efforts that have created more than 210 million digital copies of records in the National Archives Catalog; she has worked with her colleagues to map out the path to 500 million in the Catalog by 2026.
Wright developed the Citizen Archivist program that has produced more than nine million tags, transcriptions, and comments for the Catalog, resulting in millions of records becoming much more accessible and easier for the public to find. She championed the launch of the Internal Collaboration Network, NARA’s first digital platform that supports open communications across organizational, hierarchical, and geographic barriers for staff.
Wright launched History Hub, the agency’s first digital public reference platform. Collaborating with universities, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian, she has hosted town halls and conferences on the use of artificial intelligence for archival processes. Wright opened the Innovation Hub at the National Archives Building to provide a collaborative center for meetings and digitization projects for the staff, Wikipedians, other agencies, and the public. She also established the Catalog newsletter, which reaches 350,000 subscribers around the world. The popular newsletter has motivated NARA Catalog users to transcribe millions of handwritten pages, which improves the search results for a better user experience for everyone. Working with staff across the agency, she led the launch of the popular 1950 Census website.
Wright was selected to chair the Description subgroup of the Archivist's Task Force on Racism. The task force recommended a robust series of actions to move NARA forward on a path toward diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion. In 2021, she was appointed as the Chair of the Reparative Description and Digitization Working Group for a newly created Equity Team.
Ms. Wright is recognized as an industry-wide expert on emerging digital technologies designed to dramatically expand public access to the archived permanent records of the federal government. She has focused on leading projects that combine NARA’s values to collaborate, innovate, and learn, with the exploration and introduction of evolving technologies and digital spaces for the nation’s most valuable, historical records. She is NARA’s first Distinguished Rank recipient. Her nomination and award is a huge accomplishment, as only one percent of Senior Executive Service members of the federal government may win the prestigious Distinguished Rank title.
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This page was last reviewed on November 16, 2022.
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