Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies News

Archivist of U.S. to Share Information Preservation Challenges, Opportunities at Sept. 28 Inaugural Hiler Theater Lecture

September 8th, 2017

10th Archivist of the United States David S. FerrieroThe Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, will share the many information preservation challenges and opportunities faced by the nation in the Inaugural Hiler Theater Lecture sponsored by the Purdue University Libraries.

Ferriero, confirmed as the 10th archivist of the United States in November 2009, will deliver, “Preserving the Past to Inform the Future: The View from the National Archives,” in the Hiler Theater, located in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28. The lecture is open free to the public.

At the entrance to the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., the monumental statues declare: “Study the Past” and “What is Past is Prologue.” According to Ferriero, in 1934, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the legislation that created the agency responsible for government records, he had in mind a vision of the power and responsibility of the American people to use those records in the ongoing work of creating a more perfect union.

“At the dedication of his Presidential Library, FDR stated, ‘It seems to me that the dedication of a library is itself an act of faith. To bring together the records of the past and to house them in a building where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future.’ Now, 83 years later, the world is a very different place,” Ferriero noted. “The government has grown, the methods of creation and dissemination of information continue to multiply, the attitudes toward privacy and secrecy shift, citizen expectations for access and participation in their government increase, and the veracity of information available is under attack. This view from Washington will share the challenges and opportunities before us as we strengthen FDR’s original vision of the mission of the National Archives.”

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) preserves, and provides access to, the records of the U.S. Government and has 43 facilities across the country, including 14 Presidential Libraries, containing approximately 13 billion pages of textual records; 42 million photographs; miles and miles of film and video; and an ever-increasing number of electronic records. The Rotunda of the National Archives Building in downtown Washington, D.C., displays the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.

Before his 2009 confirmation as the 10th U.S. Archivist, Ferriero served as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries and held top library positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Duke University. Ferriero earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from Northeastern University and a master’s degree from the Simmons College of Library and Information Science. He also served as a Navy hospital corpsman in Vietnam.

For more information, contact Teresa Koltzenburg, director of strategic communication, Purdue University Libraries, at (765) 494-0069 or via email at