Presentation on theme: "National Archives Primary Sources available ONLINE Archival Research Basics with the National Archives Lesson # 7 The National Archives and Records Administration."— Presentation transcript:
National Archives Primary Sources available ONLINE Archival Research Basics with the National Archives Lesson # 7 The National Archives and Records Administration Pacific Alaska Region Seattle, Washington & Anchorage, Alaska 9/1/2009
www.archives.gov Many original documents are available online at the National Archives website, as well as many useful resources for educators and their students. In this lesson we will explore the website and discover how the NARA holdings reproduced there might be efficiently accessed and used by teachers and students.
There are several different groups of document reproductions (scans) available at www.archives.gov. www.archives.gov ALL OF THEM ARE COLLECTIONS of National Archives records (see Lesson 2). That means they have been gathered for a specific purpose, such as an exhibit. There are billions of documents held in NARA facilities that have not been reproduced on the website.
In this lesson, we will examine the following: The Archival Research Catalog (ARC) Access to Archival Databases (AAD) Commercial websites offering National Archives documents and associated indexes Online exhibits that might contain reproduced documents on your topic
The Archival Research Catalog (ARC). ARC is the place where all of NARA’s holdings will EVENTUALLY be described. “Described” means there will be all or a portion of the “finding aid” available online. (See lesson 5 for an example of a finding aid.) It does NOT mean that all of the documents themselves will be online, at least not for a very, very long time.
ARC Currently (2009) … About 36% are not yet described or scanned Nearly 64% of NARA holdings are described at the SERIES level in ARC 1,900,000+ cubic feet of original documents 140,000+ Documents have been scanned and are available for use on ARC Series: Group (large or small) of related records Example Civil Case Files, 1936 – 1980", from the Seattle Division, Western Washington District, US District Courts (RG 21)
www.archives.govwww.archives.gov main page www.archives.gov In order to access ARC, scroll down toward the bottom of the opening page
You can see that if you have problems navigating the site, there are many articles posted here to help you.
You can also share this page with your friends or students.
Typing your topic or the name of a federal agency into this box will result in a general search. It will return a combination of descriptions and scanned images of actual documents.
Alternately, clicking here will take you to a page where you can choose a TAB and decide if you want to search: descriptions, scanned documents, people, or organizations.
Tabs Archival Descriptions Archival Descriptions Digital Copies Digital Copies People People Organizations Organizations
An “Archival Descriptions” search means you may search for and find: 1. The description of a “series,” like the one in the “finding aid” you saw in Lesson 5. 2. The description of an “item” (sometimes a digital image of the document as well). This search is useful if you are looking for documents that are NOT yet scanned, but are held at a National Archives facility. It is also useful to locate “finding aids” and citations for particular series of records.
The “Digital Copies” tab will result ONLY in scanned documents. This is most useful for immediate needs. Generally the documents are in the public domain and have no copyright restrictions. This search is useful if you are looking for PRIMARY SOURCE DOCUMENTS that you can copy and paste or save to your computer. Occasionally the resolution leaves something to be desired. To make copies, select the largest image possible, then save it to your computer for best results.
The “People” tab searches individuals. This is great for searching for famous people, but includes some regular folks as well. (Remember that this is a collection of documents.) The browse facility is organized alphabetically. This search is useful if you are looking for records of an INDIVIDUAL
The “Organizations” tab returns names of organizations, agencies, companies and sometimes the names of the officers within the organization and a historical summary. However, occasionally there is nothing more than a note about the name being from an LCNAF file conversion (Library of Congress Name Authority File). This search is particularly useful if you are looking for an organization that might have had dealings with the National Archives.
A “simple” search on any TAB will find any of these words (up to 100 hits)
However, you can choose to return up to 2000 hits.
If you click this box the words you searched for will be highlighted in the resulting windows. The highlighted words will print out bold.
Use EVERY POSSIBLE search term you can think of … The descriptions were not written originally for you and me. Early entries were written by archivists for archivists. A word from the name of the agency is always a “safe” search.
This was the result of a SIMPLE “archival descriptions” search for “civil war women.” Notice that some are civil war records, some are civil defense records, and some contain one of any one of the three terms … like #2 from World War II.
You can also do an advanced search to be more specific.
The advanced search is more EXACT. In this search we put “civil war” in the EXACT PHRASE field.
You will notice that this “advanced search” received only 41 hits and focused on descriptions that included the words “civil war” and “women”.
For this search … search-term [Japanese balloon] … there are some additional items to notice.
This little symbol means there is at least one scanned document (digital image) included. (This one is a clip of a moving picture.)
This little symbol means there is an online resource available, such as additional finding aids.
“Add to My List” gives you the ability to make a list that can be printed or e-mailed to yourself. THIS LIST ONLY LASTS FOR 30 MINUTES. SEND TO YOURSELF OFTEN!
This page is the result of a simple “archival descriptions” search on the term “glacier bridge”. You can see that there are several textual entries (with no digital copies) and one panoramic photograph (with the digital copy symbol next to it). Let’s click on the photograph.
This is what the page usually looks like that you will receive. (Sometimes there are no scope and content notes or digital copies, however)
The details tab gives you more information about the series or document.
The Scope and Content note (if there is one) gives you background information. LOOK FOR THESE!
This tab tells you if there are other copies of the document (perhaps on microfilm).
The Digital Copies tab gives you a thumbnail image that you can click on for a larger printable copy.
Hierarchy refers to the relationship of the document to the Record Group and Series … great for citations!
The National Archives The National Archives Access to Archival Databases (AAD)
Access to Archival Databases (AAD) AAD is the place where the National Archives posts and indexes records that have ALWAYS been electronic or were converted to electronic records at a later time. AAD is the place where the National Archives posts and indexes records that have ALWAYS been electronic or were converted to electronic records at a later time. It currently includes records of: Japanese Internment Camps War Casualties from Korea and Vietnam Enlistment records from World War II Immigration records from the 1800’s
It is located just below ARC on the main page (www.archives.gov)
Commercial Sites utilizing NARA records (And creating new indexes) Ancestry.comFootnote.com Heritage Quest online
Commercial Sites utilizing NARA records Ancestry.com –Available at: National Archives facilities at no cost Many public libraries at no cost On your own computer for a fee –Geared to the family historian (genealogist) but extremely useful for historical topics as well.
Commercial Sites utilizing NARA records Heritage Quest Online –Available at all National Archives facilities at no cost –Available through many public and private libraries at no cost –Often available from home through your local public library (using your library card)
Commercial Sites utilizing NARA records Footnote.com –Available at all National Archives facilities at no cost –This company plans to digitize ALL National Archives microfilm –Is scanning documents from other archives and libraries as well (Including the LDS library in Salt Lake City, Utah and the Pennsylvania State Archives ) –Available from home for a fee
Exhibits online Exhibits are a good way to locate documents that are related by topic for use in the classroom.
Prologue and Other Online Articles Prologue magazine brings readers stories based on the rich holdings and programs of the National Archives across the nation—from Washington, DC, to the regional archives and the Presidential libraries.
Prologue has been published quarterly by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for 40 years. Prologue is filled with articles that tie documents together by topic and can be searched using the www.archives.gov main search engine.www.archives.gov
Just type your topic into the main search engine. Prologue articles and other references will be listed.
You will notice that the fourth item on the list is a Prologue article. The other articles are from lesson plans, reference papers, and other sources. Notice how many hits contained those search terms!
These articles are secondary sources on topics that might be of interest to anyone. And they usually link you to a primary source! This article is about women who tried to enlist in the Army during the Civil War.
Review ARC (Archives Research Catalog) contains descriptions of nearly 64% of our holdings and over 140,000 digital images of primary source documents. Practice using the website! Practice using the website! Use “advanced search” to focus more closely Use “advanced search” to focus more closely Use every search term you can think of Use every search term you can think of E-mail or print your saved list frequently E-mail or print your saved list frequently
Review AAD (Access to Archival Databases) contains electronic records. These records were either created electronically or added later. Use it to discover lists and details about people from: Japanese Internment Camp records Japanese Internment Camp records Military records - casualty and enlistment Military records - casualty and enlistment Immigration records during early periods Immigration records during early periods
Review Commercial Websites scan and index our records and make searching for individuals much more efficient and FAST. The major companies are: Ancestry.com - the most comprehensive to date. (Free at NARA and local libraries. Subscription from home.)Ancestry.com Footnote.com - currently scanning all NARA microfilm … keep checking for updates. (Free at NARA and local libraries. Subscription from home.)Footnote.com Heritage Quest online - (Available at local libraries, and NARA only.)
Review Online Exhibits can help you find documents grouped together in topics. Exhibits can be found at: The NARA Charters of Freedom Page (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and more.)The NARA Charters of Freedom Page NARA’s Main Exhibit Page (A large group of exhibits on various topics of National importance.)NARA’s Main Exhibit Page Our Documents Our Documents (America’s 100 Foundation Documents, including transcriptions and background information.) America’s Historical Documents (A collection of important documents that link to more information.)America’s Historical Documents NARA pages at YouTube and FlickrYouTubeFlickr NARA’s 75 th Anniversary Exhibit (A collection of photos showing the development of the National Archives.)NARA’s 75 th Anniversary Exhibit
Review NARA’s website holds thousands of articles (secondary sources), written by scholars and archivists. Search by topic using the main search box at the top right corner of www.archives.gov Search by topic using the main search box at the top right corner of www.archives.govwww.archives.gov Use common search terms Use common search terms Narrow your topic by using additional search terms Narrow your topic by using additional search terms
Self-directed Study Search ARC using all methods and using several subjects (particularly ones that interest you). Use lots of search terms … remember ARC was created by archivists for archivists. Review AAD for the records of the Japanese Internment camps or another topic. Find secondary sources among our articles for one of your subjects of interest. Look at all of the exhibit collections.
Be aware! Searching for ARC records will be practiced with supervision during your archival visit. You must be able to show the archivist or educator at the archives that you understand how to use the online catalog while you are there. Please practice before you come and arrive with questions.
Questions NOW? The National Archives at Anchorage 654 West Third Avenue Anchorage, AK 99501-2145 907-261-7800 firstname.lastname@example.org The National Archives at Seattle 6125 Sand Point Way, NE Seattle, WA 98115-7999 206-336-5115 email@example.com