Campaign: Open Government and Access

Public Access to Government Records

As a professional researcher, access to the documents located both in the Federal Records Center and National Archive are an invaluable source of information. The following recommendations are provided to help with open government and access:

 

1) Adhere to established records schedules and accession records to the National Archives in a more orderly and timely manner.

 

2) Create a system by which researchers may access records at the FRCs without going through a Freedom of Information request. Historical research requires reviewing records within the context of decisions made leading up to a specific decision or document. However, records mangers frequently deny access to groups of records and will only search for a specific document. This is contrary to historical research methodology and limits access to records which, unless classified, should be open for public review.

 

3) Revamp 135 Forms to provide more detailed descriptions of what is being stored in the Federal Records Center.

 

4) Maintain 135 Forms in electronic format for increased public access.

 

5) Teach Federal Record Center records managers that 135 Forms are open to public review without obtaining permission from the agency.

 

6) Formalize access and copying procedures at all National Archives throughout the country.

 

7) Update and scan finding aids on an ongoing basis for Record Groups at all archives. Place the finding aids online for public review.

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Idea No. 30