A “Researcher Forum” was held October 26, 2012, at the National Archives at Atlanta, 5780 Jonesboro Rd, Morrow, GA 30260. The purpose of the forum was to present updates about services for researchers; a group dialog was presented on responsibilities, needs, and how to work together.
Bill Mayer, Executive for Research Services, NARA, Washington , D.C. and Michael Moore, Access Coordinator for East Coast, NARA, Washington, D.C. began the meeting with a brief description of their work.
A few of the highlights from Bill include:
- the archives is a steward of federal records
- the records must be accessible to the public
Four key areas of responsibility:
- ingest – taking in records
- discovery – aids to finding records
- access – public availability
- preservation – for future users
Questions Bill asked the attendees:
- Why are you here?
- What do you want to do?
- How can we get there together?
Bill concluded with his promise for this and future forums:
- To make contact
- To make community
- Together we can
As Access Coordinator, Michael is responsible for finding ways to connect the researcher with the records. This connection includes physical access and internet access. The staff is currently updating finding aids and communication between regional branches.
Robert Richards, Director of Archival Operations, Atlanta, updates:
- new computers in research room
- enlarged textual room with added scanner
- finding aids such as Freedman’s Bureau and Native American
- public programs such as monthly “First Friday Freebees”
- program collaboration between National and GA Archives
The concerns of both the staff and attendees are:
- how to introduce NARA to the general public
- how to continue access and education of records. Bill concluded with “I am hearing your concerns, we will work on it.” This first researcher’s forum in the Atlanta area was an opening, a beginning. May everyone be more open and work together for the preservation and access of YOUR federal records.
Thank you Bill Mayer and Michael Moore for attending our first researcher forum!
Thank you Rob Richards for introducing our speakers and updating the researchers on Atlanta’s progress!
Thank you Emma Davis Hamilton for coordinating and publicizing this event!
Comments or questions, Selma Blackmon.