Comma

From top secret to publicly disclosed: engaging with NATO’s declassified records

Comma (2015), 2015, (2), 55–65.

Abstract

This article addresses an international organization’s capacity to generate interest, engage public and organize outreach in a sensitive security environment. The NATO Archives follows strict processes for the declassification and public disclosure of documents, some of which can be leveraged to improve accessibility and engagement. The web also offers a certain unfiltered platform on which the Archives can conduct outreach and distribute documents. But online engagement does not lead to long-term users: physical visitors, through ongoing contact, create a rapport that is mutually beneficial for archivists and researchers alike. Yet most modern archival users are not used to the screening process and security checkpoints required to visit the public reading room. How can the NATO Archives, or the archives of any other security-conscious organization, engage and foster a community of users in this environment? New technologies, combined with existing organizational advantages, have allowed the NATO Archives to overcome security barriers and provide a more engaging, a more interesting and a more inclusive user experience.

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Author details

Roche, Nicholas