Thursday, November 1, 2007

NARA wants your comments

I received the November issue of UpFront, the monthly newsletter from the National Genealogical Society (NGS), today. It had the following letter concerning the National Archives request for public comment on which databases they should digitize:


"The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is seeking public comment on its draft Plan for Digitizing Archival Materials for Public Access, 2007-2016. This draft plan outlines our planned strategies to digitize and make more accessible the historic holdings from the National Archives of the United States. A copy of the draft is available at

"The document is divided into several sections. The first section, INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND, provides information on NARA's mission, our archival holdings, and our past experience with digitization, to give you the context of the draft Plan for Digitizing Archival Materials for Public Access, 2007-2016. Section II, PLAN OVERVIEW, describes our planned goals, activities, and priorities for digitization. Sections III through V provide listings of current digitization activities being carried out by NARA and through partnerships to digitize and make available archival materials. Appendix A contains draft operating principles that we are using as we enter into partnerships and Appendix B references relevant NARA guidance that applies to handling of archival materials being digitized and the technical guidelines for image creation and description. NARA in particularly wants your comments on Sections II, III, V, and Appendix A.

"It is important that we receive as much public input on this plan as possible so that our plans adequately reflect the needs of the public. Comments are due to NARA by: November 9, 2007. Send comments to: or by fax to 301-837-0319.

"Thank you for taking the time to comment. Please forward this e-mail to any other genealogist that you may know."


I posted about this in "NARA Digitization Plans" in September. However, I didn't make a list of databases I would like to see digitized. Here is my short list in priority order:

1) Pension Files from all Wars
2) Military Compiled Service Records from all services and wars.
3) Naturalization records from all Courts
4) Passport applications

5) Native American records
6) African-American records
7) Federal court Records - criminal, civil, etc.
8) Land entry and patent records
9) Any other database with names and dates and events.

I know that some of these are already digitized or in the process of being digitized. The naturalization records are usually in State or Local courts - but they could be collected and put in one database.

What other databases would you like to see digitized? Tell them.

If you haven't sent your comments to NARA, I encourage you to do so - be a part of the solution.

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