Statement on the Qualifications to be Archivist of the United States

The mission of the National Association of Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA) is to support and champion the government archives and records administration profession. There is no more visible model for our profession than the Archivist of the United States.

Appointed in November 2009, David S. Ferriero, the current Archivist, committed the National Archives and Records Administration to the principles of Open Government—transparency, participation, and collaboration. NAGARA recognizes Mr. Ferriero for his leadership, dedication, and vision during the past 12 years.

As steward of federal government records and archives, the Archivist serves as a de facto national and international leader in the professions of archives and records management and serves as a role model for archivists and records managers at all levels of government. Therefore, NAGARA recommends the following characteristics as vital for the chief officer responsible for preserving, protecting, and providing access to the permanently valuable records of this country:

Professional Values

  • Commitment to protecting the professional integrity and political non-partisanship of NARA as a governmental agency in carrying out its essential functions.
  • Advocacy for and practitioner of the standards and best practices the profession has developed over a century of American archival practice.
  • Championship for the historical record, ensuring it can be relied upon as a source of fact and truth.
  • Dedication to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and commitment to ensuring diversity of the archival record of the nation.

 Leadership and Advocacy

  • Commitment to modernization and innovation of data/records/information systems to meet the increasing challenges of the digital age, such as big data and emerging technologies.
  • Advocacy for greater investment in preservation of and equitable access to our public information.
  • Commitment to collaborating with other offices of the federal government, with state and local governments, and with other archival programs, including those in foreign countries, to effectively address shared responsibilities and concerns.

Personal Expertise and Reputation

  • Knowledge and understanding of the critical issues confronting NARA and the archival profession today, especially those resulting from the competing demands of public access to government records, privacy, homeland security, while maintaining the authenticity and integrity of all public records.
  • Strong commitment to the principles of public ownership of governmental records and to the goal of holding public leaders accountable to the people through documentation and records of their actions.
  • A reputation as a strategic, thoughtful, consistent, reliable, and steadfast leader among information professionals.

See also NAGARA's companion document: Statement on the Selection of the 11th Archivist of the United States.