17 August 2009

New Blog: NARAtions appears

NARAtions is a new blog by the US National Archives and Records Administration. It will address online public access to NARA-held records and aims to improve researcher experience.

We hope to hear from NARA researchers and anyone interested in the Archives on topics related to online access and historical research in general. The plan is to post questions periodically and encourage you to share your opinions, ideas, and stories with us. We will also post news items about descriptions or digitized archival materials available online.

The most recent NARAtions post concerns Nara's redesign of ARC and tagging.

Our current online catalog, the Archival Research Catalog (ARC), does not allow for tagging. Staff archivists can add subject terms from our authority list of approved subject headings (based on the Library of Congress Subject Authority Headings), but in many cases there is not enough time to index the descriptions. People using the catalog would be able to add whatever tags or keywords to the catalog descriptions.

What do you think?

From the "about" section of the new blog:

NARA has custody of more than 9 billion pages of records. How do we provide online access to it all? It’s a big challenge. Everyone would love to see all of the records available online as high-resolution scans with full-text searchability and a variety of ways to tag, search, browse, and discover the documents, photographs, maps, and films. And how about we get this completed by yesterday?

We think numerous strategies will have to come together as a multifaceted solution to providing better online access to NARA’s treasures and the vast array of federal records. NARA already has started to implement some approaches (like making descriptions and digital copies available in our online catalog, forming digitization partnerships, and developing an Electronic Records Archives), but we are still looking to the future and would like your input on how things are now and how you would love for them to be.

If you have suggestions for questions we should ask our researchers and the public, please send them to us at socialmedia@nara.gov.

Let the discussion begin!
NARAtions bloggers are Jill and Kristen.

Jill joined NARA in 2004, and coordinates outreach and training for the online Archival Research Catalog (ARC). Her degees are MLS (Archival Administration and an MA (US History), University of Maryland; BA (English, French Studies), University of Delaware.

Kristen joined the ARC staff in 2007, and works on digital outreach projects like topical research galleries and Web 2.0 efforts. She holds an MLS (Archival Administration) , University of Maryland and a BA (Historic Preservation), Mary Washington College.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Jill and Kristen. Readers may suscribe to the RSS feed (see bottom of the blog's home page). I wish one could subscribe via email alerts as well.

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