Gellhorn Innovation Award — National Archives News Release


December 20, 2012

National Archives Honored for Innovation and Best Practices in Government

Washington, DC…The Citizen Archivist Initiative at the National Archives has been honored for innovation.

The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) has recognized the Citizen Archivist Initiative at the National Archives with the 2012 Walter Gellhorn Innovation Award, and praised this Citizen Archivist Initiative for “transforming the agency’s relationship with the public through crowdsourcing projects.” The ACUS recognizes innovation and best practices by Government agencies.

“We are thrilled to win the Walter Gellhorn Innovation Award,” said Pamela Wright, who was recently appointed as the first director of the Office of Innovation.  “It encourages us to continue to provide opportunities for the public to work with us to provide greater access to the permanent records of the federal government.”

“We are honored to recognize the Citizen Archivist Initiative at the National Archives as the 2012 Walter Gellhorn Innovation Award winner,” said Paul R. Verkuil, Administrative Conference Chairman.  “The National Archives submission embodies the ideals of Walter Gellhorn and his commitment to transparency, innovation and customer service.  This initiative is a best practice that other government agencies should replicate.”

See more information on the award and ACUS.

The Citizen Archivist Initiative is an adaptation of the long-standing tradition of crowdsourcing in science. Citizen science projects engage amateurs and nonprofessionals in scientific research, like reporting bird sightings or categorizing galaxies. The National Archives has used digital technology to engage citizen archivists, who can use tags, transcripts, and digital images that increase public access to the records of the Federal Government.

The Citizen Archivist Dashboard ( is a central location for these crowdsourcing activities. Projects linked to the dashboard include transcribing digitized historic Navy ship logs to improve our knowledge of past environmental conditions, transcribing National Archives documents at various levels of difficulty, uploading images to a Citizen Archivist Flickr group, tagging National Archives records for better online searching, and contributing and editing articles on the Our Archives Wiki.

For more information about the Citizen Archivist Initiative at the National Archives, see

# # #