As experienced employees retire at the National Archives, a $300 million digital boondoggle looms:
As a young historian visiting the National Archives more than four decades ago, Allen Weinstein met an employee named Mr. Taylor who seemed to know the whereabouts of every document - from the Declaration of Independence to the latest Bureau of Mines report - in the entire block-long neoclassical complex. Mr. Taylor was still working there last February when Weinstein was sworn in as the ninth archivist of the United States.
Weinstein has a lot to say about the 84-year-old civil servant when I meet him in his vast office, furnished mostly in the generic colonial-federalist style favored by embassies and bed-and-breakfasts. It doesn't matter that I've come to talk about the new Electronic Records Archives project, which Lockheed-Martin will build at a cost of $308 million over the next six years. "What are your hopes for ERA?" I ask the nation's archivist. "What are your
"I worry about losing Mr. Taylor," he mumbles, his voice barely audible.
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