Monday, September 25, 2006

This week’s readings seemed centered on access issues and databases. There was definitely a great deal of technical jargon that was tough to grasp. As you read, Lyman and Varian’s report “How Much Information?” you can really get a sense of the incredible shift in the way information is now stored. At the National Archives, we are currently dealing with this shift. Over the last 10 years, our electronic holdings have grown 100 times fasters than traditional paper records. Along with preservation, access is of great concern, which will hopefully be solved with the creation of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA). The goal of ERA is to provide access to all types of electronic records via the Internet to anyone, anywhere, at any time. The system will not be dependent on a particular technology.

Currently, the National Archives’ Archival Research Catalog (ARC), which contains descriptions of our holdings, can only be searched through the Archives web site. Researchers searching through Google or Yahoo are not directed to ARC descriptions in their search results. This frustrates some of my colleagues and it was interesting to see Dempsey write about such systems in his article “The Three Stages of library search”. On a brighter note, the Archives and Google do have a partnership, which gives Google users access to historic videos from the Archive’s collection.

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