Alumni Spotlight: Robert Nowatzki

Black and white photo of Robert Nowatzki

M.L.I.S. '19
Archives Technician, National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) in College Park, Maryland

As an archives technician at NARA, Robert is responsible for quality control of archival data for World War II-era U.S. military records. Robert also works on NARA's Black History Portal, tagging records in NARA's catalog related to African American history and creating blog posts and research guides.

Before he began working from home due to the pandemic, he would pull and refile records to fulfill researchers’ requests, and he was in charge of scheduling pulls and troubleshooting retrieval and refiling issues.

“My advice to iSchool students is to push yourself to learn about subjects, skills, and experiences that you don't feel are in your wheelhouse.”


While in the LIS program, Robert stepped out of his comfort zone to learn new technological skills by taking courses such as Digital Curation, Cultural Heritage Informatics, and Digital Technologies. Two elective courses, Foundations of Recordkeeping in Society and Archival Appraisal, provided him with a strong conceptual understanding of archival work and prepared him for his current job as an archives technician. His article, "From Datum to Databases: Digital Humanities, Slavery, and Archival Reparations," was recently published in The American Archivist. He developed this research article from an essay he wrote for his Archival Appraisal course.


Robert participated in two summer internships at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). During his first internship, he edited posts from NARA's blog, The Text Message. His second internship focused on scanning prints of Mathew Brady photographs from the 1860s and 1870s. Not only did Robert gain archival skills during these internships, but he also learned about what archival professionals do on a daily basis and built important professional relationships. Robert believes his internship experiences helped him get hired at NARA after graduation.


Robert was part of a team that received the Outstanding Achievement (Group) award at NARA's Annual Archivist's Achievement Awards in 2021. He is a member of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) and the American Library Association (ALA). While finishing his M.L.I.S., he attended the SAA Annual Conference.


“My advice to iSchool students is to push yourself to learn about subjects, skills, and experiences that you don't feel are in your wheelhouse,” Robert says. He also recommends attending at least one professional conference while pursuing your degree. For those entering the archival profession, Robert believes it is important to know how to attract users to your institution's records and help them locate the information they are seeking. “Writing blogs, and making them discoverable through internet searches, can be a good way of attracting users by writing interesting narratives about records,” he says. He also advises viewing archival records from the user's perspective and making records more accessible through tagging and other methods.


Robert is open to receiving and answering questions from current iSchool students via email. Please reach out to to obtain Robert’s email address.

Learn about other successful iSchool graduates in our Alumni Spotlights.