The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released a 2022-2026 Strategic Plan draft to maximize digital records’ access and availability, including a top-line goal of digitizing a half billion pages of records.
Notably, the strategic plan draft introduces a future vision of all-digital records, and more equitable access and availability for underserved communities.
The 2022-2026 Strategy Plan draft focuses primarily on technology, digitization of records, and ensuring equitable access. According to the draft, those focus areas come from the agency’s vision of being recognized as a supplier of “cutting-edge access to extraordinary volumes of government information and unprecedented engagement to bring greater meaning to the many different American experiences.”
The draft strategic plan lays out the agency’s objectives for improving equity of digital records, providing world-class customer experiences all around, and accelerating agency IT modernization. These objectives are becoming particularly crucial to NARA, as the agency will no longer accept paper records by the end of this year. And with an increasing digital archive, NARA wants to reach more users, especially those from previously underserved communities.
To implement a digital infrastructure, NARA plans by 2026 to digitize 500 million pages of records and make them publicly available online, ensure that 95 percent of customer requests are resolved within the promised time, and organize metadata tagging efforts to promote equity for records related to underrepresented communities.
Additionally, NARA pledges to interact with traditionally underserved communities and work with these communities to identify archived records significant to them. Once identified, they will be prioritized for archival processing and describing, digitizing, and accessing online. “We’re at the beginning of a process to build new relationships with underserved communities, and this draft plan reflects our intent to maintain and foster those relationships over time,” the plan states.
NARA on August 6 released an invitation for comments to gather feedback from agencies and the public on the plan’s current state. Comments are due by August 20.