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Today’s post comes from Larry Shockley, student intern in the National Archives’ Digital Public Access Branch

On June 2, 2014, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) announced a partnership with Imgur called the “Summer of Archives.” This joint project is designed to combine historical images with modern technology in order to give new life and increased usage to historical images.

DPLA is an all-digital library that utilizes metadata and images from many institutions all over the world, the holdings of the National Archives have played a key role with the project.

In a series called “Forever Loops,” Imgur collected short moving image files (gifs) that are displayed as continuous loops. Although the gifs encompass a myriad of subject matter such as the Apollo 11 space missions, public service films designed to aid the war effort during WW II, and musical performances from Korean War era USO tours, all of the images from the series were obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration through the DPLA.

Images taken from the NASA-created film "The Time of Apollo", obtained by DPLA from NARA

Images taken from the NASA-created film “The Time of Apollo”, obtained by DPLA from NARA

As the DPLA collects millions of photographs, sound recordings and moving images from various sources from all over the United States, they greatly increase the distribution of these materials via social media applications and resources such as Facebook , Twitter, Tumbler, Flickr etc. As the DPLA/Imgur partnership has already shown, whenever a collaboration such as this takes place on such a vast scale, the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration are utilized in ways that appeal to a new generation.

Animated gif created from WW II era images taken from the cockpit of an American P-38 as it attacks Germany in 1945.

WW II era images taken from the cockpit of an American P-38 as it attacks Germany in 1945.

The DPLA/Imgur partnership is a great example of how historical images from NARA holdings can take on new image formats, like gifs. This is likely a trend that will continue to grow and evolve well into the future.



Today’s post comes from Tim Enas, Chief of Textual Accessioning at the National Archives at College Park.


Staff at the National Archives at College Park are moving approximately 315 cubic feet of personnel related records to the National Archives at St. Louis.  The series being transferred complement the mission, function, and holdings of the National Archives at St. Louis.  These series document personal data and pertain to individuals, rather than organizations; and, logically belong with the records that constitute the core holdings of the National Archives at St. Louis.  This relocation to St. Louis will facilitate more efficient archival research and public access to these records.

The records transferred to St. Louis are:

Series Title: 

Panama Canal, Sailing Lists of Contract Laborers, 1905 – 1910, RG 185, A1, 138 (NARA ID: 7226554)

Panama Canal, Requests for Metal Check Issue Cards, 1930 – 1937, RG 185, A1, 139 (NARA ID: 7226555)

Panama Canal, Applications for Photo Metal Checks, July 1918 – July 1919, RG 185, A1, 140 (NARA ID: 6821421)

Panama Canal, Labor Service Contracts, 1905 – 1913, RG 185, A1, 141

Panama Canal, Records Concerning Individuals (“99″ files), 1907 – 1960, RG 185, UD, 264

Panama Canal, Service Record Cards (Form 177) for Persons Employed by PCC and Its Predecessors, 1904 – 1920, RG 185, UD-UP, 51 (NARA ID: 7226556)

Disinterment Records Files, Gravesite Reservation Cards, Record of Interments, and Grave Cards, RG 319, UD-12D, 2 (NARA ID: 7543569)

Closure Date at the National Archives at College Park:  August 1, 2014

Estimated Date Available for Researchers at St. Louis: September 8, 2014

Please keep in mind that the date listed above for opening the materials is an estimate. If there is a significant change to this schedule we will post it in the consultation areas at the National Archives at College Park. You can also check the status of the records, or request these and other records at the National Archives at St. Louis, by contacting that office in one of the following ways:

E-mail: stl.archives@nara.gov or send a letter to:

National Archives at St. Louis
Attention: RL-SL
P.O. Box 38757
St. Louis, MO 63138-1002

 



Today’s post comes from Markus Most, Director of the Digitization Division at the National Archives.


In September 2007, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) requested public input on a Draft Plan for Digitizing Archival Materials. Incorporating feedback from the public, NARA issued the Strategy for Digitizing Archival Materials for Public Access, 2007-2016 in May 2008. The strategy has served NARA well: the online catalog has over 2 million digital objects, the public has access to over 235 million images, and there were over 1.2 billion views of NARA content on Wikipedia in FY13.

Digital Equipment Machines, 1964

We’re updating our Digitization Strategy – have your say! (National Archives Identifier 3493265)

Since the strategy was published six years ago, there have been rapid advances in many areas including social media, crowdsourcing, and our understanding of access. It is critical that our digitization strategy build on our successes, but also incorporate and take advantage of these changes. NARA is revising its digitization strategy and is asking for input from you to make sure our strategy is current.

Using the existing strategy as a starting place, what changes would you make? The current strategy is available here: http://www.archives.gov/digitization/strategy.html

Some of the areas we are considering include:

  • Expanding partnerships beyond digitization of paper and microfilm;
  • Encouraging public engagement in digitizing and describing our records;
  • Creating additional streams of digitized content into our online catalog; and
  • Non-traditional sources of funding.

Post your suggestions on this blog post, or email digitization@nara.gov. Please send us your suggestions by June 30, 2014.



On Friday, May 31, 2014, the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero blogged about the release of our third Open Government Plan in the post, “Innovate to Make Access Happen.” You can access the agency’s newest Open Government Plan in PDF, Word, and at Archives.gov/open.

Open Gov Plan image

Thank you for your feedback! We received more than 50 thoughtful comments and suggestions for ways that NARA can increase transparency, participation, and collaboration in the way we do our work. We have summarized the feedback that was submitted in Appendix A of the plan and provided responses to many of the suggestions we received.

The development of our plan brought together more than 30 staff members from across the agency to describe and plan our open government efforts for the next two years.

We’ve aligned the Open Government Plan to the agency’s new strategic goals, and this is reflected in the Flagship Initiative, “Innovate to Make Access Happen.” The Flagship includes our work in digitization, description, and online access for the next two years.

Within the plan, you’ll also learn about our efforts to strengthen public and employee engagement, implement the Open Data Policy, and reduce our backlog of pending Freedom of Information Act Requests. We describe our work with Federal agencies to implement guidance that addresses the electronic management of email and other records, and our ongoing efforts to streamline processes in the National Declassification Center.

Yes, the plan is 58 pages (!), but I promise you’ll learn a lot about NARA and the important ways that we work to strengthen open government.
To learn more about our open government efforts, visit Archives.gov/open.  To provide feedback on NARA’s most recent Open Government Plan, please comment below or email opengov@nara.gov.



Today’s post comes from Ben Jordi, Technical Writer/Editor in the Office of the Federal Register.


The National Archives’ Office of Innovation and Office of the Federal Register teamed up with Wikimedia D.C. to host OFR’s first Wikipedia Editathon on Friday, May 23, 2014 in our Innovation Hub.  As part of our mission to inform the American public, OFR worked with NARA’s Wikipedian in Residence, Dominic McDevitt-Parks, to begin collaborating with the Wikipedia community.  Like NARA, our goal is to go where our customers are, rather than building our technology and social media footprint around our business structure and hoping our customers can find us through the noise.

Federal Register Editathon event
Office of the Federal Register staff collaborate with Wikipedians in NARA’s Innovation Hub, 5/23/14

At OFR we are responsible for several publications, including the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Government Manual, List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA), and the Public Papers of the Presidents, to name a few.  Each of these publications is aimed at informing the public about the business of their government and how to best find the information they seek.  In our work with Wikipedia, we hope to better connect the dots for our customers and how they find what they are looking for.  Two years ago we made a big step in that direction with our launch of www.federalregister.gov.  We sought to display the contents of the Federal Register in such a way that would make it more readable, pertinent, and understandable to our audience.

We hope our efforts with Wikipedia will teach us how the public expects to consume OFR content and hopefully, in the process, the public gets a better understanding of what we do. Some specific accomplishments from the event include a new article for the List of CFR Sections Affected, a new model for future articles about CFR parts (e.g. Title 49 CFR Part 600 – 699), and updating several more articles related to our work, including Title 35 of the CFR, Administrative Procedure Act, Executive order, and Electoral College. For this event, our goal was to make connections to the Wikipedia community and to build on those connections moving forward.  Introductions by David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and Charley Barth, Director of the Federal Register, demonstrated NARA leadership’s commitment to improving the quality of information about the Federal Register on Wikipedia. Of the ten members of the public who attended, there were representatives from Wikimedia, Wikisource, Wikidata, as well as members of NARA’s research community.  They were all very engaged and each brought a unique and fresh approach to presenting OFR content to our customers.  Our efforts moving forward will be to include Wikipedians in our weekly Wikipedia staff meetings and hopefully to determine other ways to engage the public.

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