Archivist of the United States David Ferriero notices that I'm photographing him, 2010 Best Practices Exchange, Phoenix, Arizona, 29 September 2009.
As promised, here are the most interesting things that came to the fore during the second day of the 2010 Best Practices Exchange (BPE):
- Archivist of the United States David Ferriero seems like a really cool guy. He was this morning’s keynote speaker, and he deliberately allocated a lot of time to answering attendee questions. I’ve heard him speak before, but not in such an informal setting. He’s affable, articulate, funny, passionate about the rich store of materials that the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration holds, an ardent advocate of sound records management, and keenly aware of the digital challenges confronting archives and libraries.
- Writing a policy is not an accomplishment. Policies pave the way for accomplishments: they enable us to transform our professional principles and theoretical frameworks such as the Open Archival Information System Reference Model into real-world programs and day-to-day actions.
- Control doesn't always reduce risk. A lot of people assume that a data center that they operate and control is inherently more secure than a cloud computing environment -- even if unauthorized individuals could easily access the data center and walk off with hardware and the inner workings of the cloud environment can be accessed only by authorized support personnel or highly sophisticated hackers.
- When making the case for funding archives to elected officials, do your homework. Research each official's background and interests, tailor your remarks accordingly, and, if meeting with an individual legislator, try to bring with you a record that is likely to capture his or her interest. One archivist discovered that a legislator was particularly fond of a mid-20th century elected official and brought a record in which the official outlined his beliefs about health care policy. The legislator, who was deeply moved, brought the record onto the floor of the legislature and read it aloud and later facilitated the return of alienated records to the archivist's repository.
- If you're responsible for creating an emergency response plan, remember that human life is paramount, that first responders know what they're doing, and that you need to demonstrate that you know what you're doing. In the event of an emergency, you want to be able to report whether the building has been cleared, whether people with special needs or disabilities are sheltering in place or need to be checked on, and to hand over a floor plan.
- "Everything we invent is about to become obsolete." In other words, let’s just accept that every digital preservation tool we create has a short life span and move on.