Please join us on March 19th at 1 PM at Archives II in College Park (room TBD) for the first of a new series of monthly researcher meetings. Continuing the tradition of our Archives I Users Group, we will be holding monthly meetings with researchers to keep you informed of what is happening at Archives I and II. The meetings will alternate between Archives I in Washington, DC, and Archives II, in College Park. We hope you will join us at these meetings to share you ideas and suggestions. The minutes from the Archives I Users Group meeting on February 26th (PDF) are now available on the Archives.gov page for the Researcher Users Group at the National Archives in the Washington, DC Area.
What would you like to hear about at the meetings? Please let us know here on NARAtions and we’ll pass your ideas along to Diane Dimkoff and the Customer Services Staff or you can contact Diane directly at email@example.com.
19 thoughts on “DC-area Researchers: Mark your calendars for the next researcher meeting.”
I would like to see added to the agenda:
1. Report on when WiFi will be installed at A-I
2. Report on digitization project and timeline (When will records digitized by partners be available on NARA Website? will they be free? How will errors be corrected? etc.)
3. Update on the forthcoming electronic method for requesting records
4. Is NARA considering a service like that offered by the National Archives in Paris, allowing advance, online request of records?
If these items are added to the agenda and discussed, I would expect any statements NARA makes to be posted immediately to this blog or distributed in some other manner. These issues are important and of interest to a much wider community than just DC-researchers.
Kate – The minutes from the researcher meetings will be posted on the Researcher Users Group page on Archives.gov.
I think it is important to follow up on some of the suggestions we discussed with the new Archivist David Ferriero when we met with him in January. In addition to the items Claire Bettag mentioned, please add the following to the agenda:
1. Pull times – Increase the number of pull times and add Saturday pulls.
2. Webinars – Record the “Know Your Records” programs and other lectures and put them online as webinars so that researchers from across the country can benefit.
3. Links to digitized records – Put a list on the NARA Web site of which federal records are digitized and link to where they are available online.
A couple of you have asked if the Know Your Records talks can be offered as webinars. This is a great idea and we are looking into this possibility. When we know more we’ll update you here on NARAtions.
Thank you for letting us know where the minutes are posted. However, I do find it surprising that, given the broader scope of the topics people want to see addressed in these meetings, that you seem to be pointing to a very “Web 1.0” means of distributing information, rather than replying that these are topics that will be addressed here.
Specifically, I think the following topics are exactly the kind of thing this blog was intended to discuss:
– Report on digitization project and timeline (When will records digitized by partners be available on NARA Website? will they be free? How will errors be corrected? etc.)
– Update on the forthcoming electronic method for requesting records
– Is NARA considering a service like that offered by the National Archives in Paris, allowing advance, online request of records?
– Webinars – Record the “Know Your Records” programs and other lectures and put them online as webinars so that researchers from across the country can benefit.
– Links to digitized records – Put a list on the NARA Web site of which federal records are digitized and link to where they are available online.
I think many of these subjects would benefit from a more lengthy discussion than the brief format that minutes provides, as well as providing the information to a larger audience than those who follow up and read the minutes of past meetings.
I’m sure if there is anything significant to report on these subjects that you would write about them in this space, but since you have previously asked for reader input about what we’d like to see covered here, I thought it was worth making this clear.
Kate makes a good point. The minutes are cryptic. I was out of town and missed the meeting and cannot tell from reading the minutes precisely what what was said (by whom) on the various “topics” that are listed in the “minutes.”
Thanks for your suggested agenda items for the next researcher meeting. I’ve passed them along to the Customer Services Staff. We now have a place for the meeting. The meeting will be held in the auditorium at Archives II (in College Park) on March 19th at 1 PM.
How can I subscribe to this blog by email (not RSS) and in digest form? Please post a response here so others can see.
Claire – We are looking into how we can provide the blog to people via email but we don’t currently have that feature. When we know more we will post an update on NARAtions.
I also would like to be able to subscribe to the blog via email. This would help us follow the conversation without having to remember to check the blog.
Add me to the list for the blog via email
The way to subscribe to the blog and get email posts is by RSS (go to the bottom of the page an look “Entries (RSS) – Comments (RSS). NARA staff posted some info about this method on the About NARAtions page:
Our tech staff let us know about this tutorial (Video: RSS in Plain English) on YouTube that you might want to check out. It’s 3:44 minutes long.
Apologies if the links don’t work, I’m not an expert on RSS feeds so I’m still trying to figure it out too.
Can you let us know whether the agenda requests that I made and that Angela made have been / will be added to the agenda?
Claire – I passed the suggestions you and Angela had along to the Customer Services Division. The agenda for the meeting was posted on NARAtions yesterday.
I don’t know if this needs to be on the agenda for the next meeting, or if it’s something that I just don’t know about…
When I submit requests for service, pension, or bounty land records, I am allowed four per pull. I can write them all up at once, if I want to, and just have them marked with the appropriate time for each pull, I don’t have to be physically present to put them in the box at four separate times of the day.
This is different, however, for textual records. I cannot put in all of my requests for the various pulls and then go upstairs to begin reviewing files. Just last week, when trying to put in a request for the 11:00 pull at 20 minutes before 10:00, I was told I needed to hold it and bring it back in 20 minutes! I can’t come up with any good reason at all why a researcher would have to do this, can you? It would be more time efficient, both for the researchers and for NARA staff, to know what people are requesting as early in the day as possible.
On the same subject, when the budget money was given and the hours were restored, why weren’t all of the pulls restored? There used to be three pulls before noon. As it stands now with only two pulls, if I have textual records where I need to order an index to it first, in order to see which boxes of the actual documents I need to order, I won’t be able to see the actual documents until sometime after 2:30 in the afternoon! If I put the request for the index in at 10:00, it is not going to come up in time for me to look at and put in a request for the documents I need by the 11:00 pull. That pushes it to the 1:30 pull, which I won’t see until sometime after 2:30. When is that third pull in the morning going to be restored?
If it isn’t going to be restored, then how about putting a box in the “old military” section, where we can put our file requests labeled with the time for our pulls, just like we do with the “requests for military records” forms.
Thanks for your consideration.
Peggy – Thanks for the suggestions. I passed your comment along to the Customer Services Division. They are working on the agenda for the next researcher meeting and will see if they can add your suggestion to the agenda. We’ll be posting the agenda on NARAtions next week.
One more comment…I would like to compliment the staff on the improvement in accuracy of pulls. Mr. Edelin does a great job, and recently Mr. J.P. Jones went out of his way and found something for me that had been misfiled, rather than just giving me a rejection slip outright. Gentlemen, your work ethic is noticed and appreciated! Thanks also to the public contact employees in both research rooms who know us “regulars” and keep us advised of closings, fire drills, and other aberrations to help us plan our time accordingly. You are all appreciated, too!
Peggy – Thanks for sharing your experiences. I passed your comments along to the Customer Services Division.