Thursday, June 30, 2011

NARA thinking of automating record request process

NARA has been hearing this from the research community for some time : let us request records electronically, before our visit to NARA and on-site.  They have finally started a serious process to see how this can be facilitated. From past discussions on this subject it seems to cover two different issues.  Will a researcher, not at a NARA facility, be able to identify an item from ARC or another finding-aid to generate a pull-request to be submitted ahead of their visit to NARA; or will this only be a paper elimination process and researchers will still be required to submit requests on-site at a NARA facility, but just using a computer instead of a pen?

There are two obvious problems... (1) if a researcher submits an electronic request from home or the office the day before planning their research trip and then never shows-up, the staff has wasted their time performing the pull, and the record remains unavailable to other researchers for a period of days; and (2) the electronic finding aides, including ARC and its successors, are not yet complete enough to enable identification of box level items without intervention of an archivist or technician.

There are probably many more questions and issues that need to be addressed.  NARA staff will be holding a public meeting on this subject (this schedule is probably tentative) :

The meeting dates are:
Archives 1, Thursday July 7, 2:00-3:00 Room G-24
Archives 2  Tuesday July 12, 10:00-11:00 Lecture Room B
Come to the meeting.  However, if you can't be present you should post comments and questions here, and on the NARAtions blog on other issues relevant to record-requests that you would like to have addressed.

No comments:

Post a Comment