SAA Statement on Obama Presidential Library

February 28, 2019—The decision not to build a federally administered presidential library as part of the Obama Presidential Center has resulted in a robust discussion within and beyond the archives profession. SAA has not taken a position on the matter, but is aware of the many challenges associated with the rapid transition to electronic and born-digital records.

President Obama, the "social media president," led an administration that relied heavily on online communication. As a result, although there certainly are some paper records from his presidency, there are far fewer "wet" signatures and handwritten notes of historic value; most documents were conceived, written, and amended online.

From SAA's perspective, the National Archives and Records Administration has been proactive in managing and making accessible the original documents of all presidential records under its purview. We trust that the agency will continue to uphold its charge to ensure that the American people have access to these records, regardless of their format.

NARA currently hosts the archived version of the Obama Administration's website, which includes executive orders, issue discussions, videos, and more. See the NARA website for "Information About New Model for Obama Presidential Library."