National Archives’ Chief Innovation Officer Receives American University Award
Press Release · Friday, November 18, 2022

Washington, DC

American University has selected National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Chief Innovation Officer Pamela Wright for its 2022 Inclusive Technology Policy Changemaker Award.

Since being named the inaugural Chief Innovation Officer in 2012, Wright has proven to be a pioneer in innovation and advancing inclusivity in the technology sector. Her leadership combines NARA’s core values–Collaboration, Innovation, Learning, Acting with Integrity, and Advancing Equity–with the exploration and introduction of evolving technologies and digital spaces for the nation’s most valuable historical records. Earlier this week, Wright was also named as a recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award. See related press release

“I am pleased that Pam’s work here at NARA continues to be recognized by organizations such as American University,” said Acting Archivist of the United States Debra Steidel Wall. “Pam’s leadership within the Office of Innovation and with NARA’s program offices speaks directly to NARA’s vision of being known for cutting-edge access to extraordinary volumes of government information and unprecedented engagement to bring greater meaning to the many different American experiences. This award recognizes Pam and NARA’s role in leading from the front in digital engagement and archival description.”

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. 

“I’m thrilled to be honored by American University with this Changemaker Award,” said Ms. Wright. “At the National Archives, we share the historical records in our care through established and emerging technologies in pursuit of creating equitable access for all. This award in recognition of what we are accomplishing is very meaningful to me because Inclusive Technology Policy’s goals are the same ones that have always guided my career: embrace inclusivity, collaborate widely, and identify and implement innovations that support the common good.”

“We are excited to present this year’s Changemaker Award to Pamela Wright, a champion who has demonstrated her commitment to amplifying underrepresented voices across our nation through the digitization of our shared history,” said Diana Burley, AU Vice Provost for Research and Innovation.

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 and made them shareable on Wikipedia and Wikidata, Giphy, and on other platforms; she has worked with her colleagues to map out the path to 500 million in the Catalog by 2026.

Under Wright’s leadership, NARA launched its first social media program, its Citizen Archivist program, and History Hub, which engages users in archival pursuits. Wright has been a member of advisory boards to the Digital Public Library of America and the Library and Archives of Canada, and she chairs NARA’s Reparative Description and Digitization Working Group.


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