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Agenda for the DC-Area Researchers Meeting on February 18th

by on February 14, 2011


Have you marked your calendar to join us for the next DC-area Researchers Group meeting on Friday, February 18th?  We will meet at 1 PM in room G-24 of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.

The agenda includes:
1. A discussion of NARA’s Transformation Plan (read more on the Archivist’s blog)
2. An update on NARA’s plans for the 1940 Census
3. An update on the renovations at Archives I
4. An update on the purchase of microfilm reader-scanner(s) for Archives I
5. A discussion of plans for the potential move of pension files (see pages 6 and 7 of the minutes from our November meeting for more information)
6. A discussion of the Library in Archives I

We hope to see you there!


Comments

Pat Richley-Erickson February 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Owing to our travel schedule out west, we are unable to attend the NARA DC Area users’ meeting on the 18th. I am posting these comments and trust they will carry as much weight as if presented by my husband and myself in person.

Destroying the original 1940s enumeration pages is irresponsible. NARA’s previous reply that this is what has been done with all post 1900 census records is bureaucratic rubbish. Responsible archiving dictates keeping our nation’s documents in their original form. Something as essential as the voice of the people, used to determine the number of members of the House of Congress is certainly classified as “our nation’s documents”. The voice of the people reports on our ethnic, religious and socio-economic conditions are better than a band of high-faluting wall-street analyst’s reports. With their multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses paid despite this economic “down turn”, it is clear they don’t live in the real world. Who else can report on the “man on the street” point of view, if not those men and women enumerated one-by-one in a census?

Off-site storage, and the use of microfilm or digital images works fine, but the option to view pension files and census records in person is essential. You’ve documented cases where scanning isn’t clear, and looking at originals is the best alternative for scholarly research. Future generations will want to verify that entire segments of the population weren’t inadvertently missed, so don’t destroy originals.

Future historians must have full access to originals, even if in some lower-cost storage facility in Wyoming (for example), to verify that current influences haven’t effectively modified history by eliminating original documents considered unnecessary at this point.

Rebecca February 18, 2011 at 11:32 am

Hi Pat – I’m sorry to hear you won’t be able to join us for the researchers meeting this afternoon. The 1940 Census records that NARA accessioned from the Census Bureau are microfilm records. We are digitizing the records and will be making the digitized copies of the 1940 Census available to the public through our new online public access search in April 2012. We will also continue to store and preserve the accessioned 1940 Census microfilm.

Keep an eye here on NARAtions for more news about the 1940 Census as we get closer to its release on April 2, 2011.

- Rebecca

David McMillen February 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm

According to the Census Bureau, the stack of forms printed for the 2010 census would be about 29 miles high. Imaging the cost of storing all those forms.

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