Tag it! Introducing the National Archives Facebook Chatbot

Today’s post comes from Pamela Wright, Chief Innovation Officer.


What do you get when you have an audacious strategic goal to have one million records enhanced by citizen archivists in the National Archives Catalog and an idea to try something new on a social site? You create a Facebook Messenger Chatbot, of course!

This American Archives Month, I’m excited to present an awesome new project from the National Archives, developed by NARAtions’ own Mary King. The Facebook chatbot is a way for users to interact with the National Archives and help us make records more accessible. Let’s take a walk through the chatbot and I’ll show you how you can participate.

From your phone or desktop, navigate to the National Archives Facebook page (Give us a follow! We post about lots of cool finds and interesting events!). To start chatting with the bot, tap on the Send Message button, and type “hi” in the text box.

Screenshot of US National Archives Facebook page
To start interacting with the chatbot, click on the Send Message button on our Facebook page, and say “Hi!”

The chatbot will open, and give you the option to tag a document or ask a question. Let’s tag a document!

When the bot serves you a record, you can tag the document as typed, handwritten, or both. This helps us sort the documents by difficulty, which can then help our citizen archivists transcribe the records in the Catalog.

Chatbot Screenshot showing a document and the options to tag is as Handwritten, typed, or both.
Tag it! Select handwritten, typed, or both to tag the document.

You can keep tagging and sorting documents, but you can also use the bot to answer your questions about visiting the National Archives and starting your research, learn some archives trivia, or see an interesting photo (like these awesome track workers in 1943!).

Screenshot of an interesting photo in the chatbot. This photo is of five women trackworkers with shovels. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, 1943.
Ask a question, learn Archives trivia, or see an interesting photo in the chatbot.

The most exciting part of this chatbot is that it makes participating in citizen archivist activities easy and available on a platform most people are familiar with. So stop by our Facebook page, say “hi” and let’s get tagging!

7 thoughts on “Tag it! Introducing the National Archives Facebook Chatbot

  1. The chat feature only works if you are logged into Facebook. So anyone who does have a Facebook account cannot see the whole page or use the feature.

  2. Hey! Loved the idea! Had a lot of fun and found a few interesting things! Would love if when it clicks to see bigger it was full size. Lots of scrolling back and forth to read things. Other than that very cool. Thanks for sharing!

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