National Archives and Records Administration: The Nation's Recordkeeper

What better NISO member to spotlight for this issue’s theme of preservation than long-time NISO voting member, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Marilyn Redman , Management and Program Analyst, and Laura McCarthy , Senior Policy Analyst, responded to questions from the ISQ editor about NARA and their involvement with standards and preservation.

For readers who aren’t familiar with NARA, can you briefly explain what the agency does?

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation’s recordkeeper. We preserve, safeguard, and make available the records of our Government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. We establish policies and procedures for the preservation and management of U.S. Government records; manage the Presidential Libraries system; and publish Federal laws and regulations, as well as Presidential and other public documents

How do people who don’t work for the government benefit from NARA’s preservation activities?

In a democracy, the records of the Government belong to its citizens, and providing access to them is a vital service. Working with Federal agencies as our partners, the Archivist and NARA staff identify records to be retained for posterity. NARA then gathers, stores, processes, and preserves the records. Our holdings can only be made available to current and future generations if we invest in the archival preservation and processing of records in our custody.

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