The National Humanities Alliance 2011 Humanities Advocacy Day will take place March 7-8 in Washington DC. With the newly elected Congress, and increasing budgetary pressures on federal spending, your help is needed now more than ever to defend critical humanities programs. The National Coalition for History is a co-sponsor of the annual event.
On November 3, voters dramatically changed the landscape in Washington. Republicans gained control of the House and although the Democrats retained control of the Senate their margin was reduced to 53-47. As this is being written, a few days before Thanksgiving, what we have can best be described as 535 piece puzzle with only the borders in place.
On November 4, the White House issued an executive order (EO 13556) to establish a uniform policy for handling “controlled unclassified information” (CUI), which is information that is restricted from disclosure because it involves personal privacy, proprietary data, law enforcement investigations, or for certain other reasons besides national security. (Story used with permission of Steven Aftergood of Secrecy News)
This past summer Archivist of the United States David Ferriero created a staff task force to draft a plan for the “transformation” of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In September, a draft report was circulated to all NARA staff seeking their input. In October, the final report, “A Charter for Change,” was released. The plan outlines a new organizational model for the National Archives.
On November 10, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility released a draft of its recommendations to the President on ways to reduce the federal budget deficit. Among the recommendations was a proposal to reduce federal funding to the Smithsonian Institution and the National Park Service and allow the programs to offset the reduction through charging visitors fees at the Smithsonian and imposing or increasing them at Park Service facilities.
On November 10, the Advisory Committee on Presidential Library-Foundation Partnerships met at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Committee advises the Archivist of the United States on issues affecting the functioning of existing Presidential libraries and library programs and the development of future Presidential libraries.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued two reports evaluating the effectiveness of the National Archives in overseeing the government-wide management of records, and in implementing its own internal security controls.
K-12 history, social studies and English teachers are invited to apply to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History for its 2011 Summer Seminars series. Taught by renowned historians on college campuses in the US and the UK, these one-week seminars give educators the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of topics in American history. There are thirty-nine seminars available to choose from addressing a broad array of topics.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is seeking public input on the redesign of its web site. NARA intends to phase in the new web site over the coming year. Phase I of the project, with a scheduled launch during the Winter of 2010, will result in the basic redesign the home page and top task pages to focus on primary customers.
The Library of Congress recently unveiled a completely redesigned special collections search system to help researchers locate primary-source materials. The new search engine can be found at www.loc.gov/findingaids/.