Introducing the Presidential Library Explorer

Today’s post comes from Jason Clingerman, Acting Director of the Digital Engagement Division at the National Archives.

Last fall, NARA launched the Record Group Explorer (previous blog post here), NARA’s first next-generation finding aid. I am pleased to announce today that we’ve launched the Presidential Library Explorer – NARA’s second next-generation finding aid, defined as a digital path into the record using data from the National Archives Catalog. This Explorer leverages the amazing work completed over the past two decades by Presidential Library staff.

The Presidential Library Explorer provides a visualization of NARA’s Presidential Libraries organized by size of textual records in their holdings. The Libraries, which all have scans available in the Catalog, are colored blue with a darker blue box within each record group box that indicates the amount of digital copies available for that record group. You can toggle between percentages and numbers. 

The blue Library boxes allow you to click into a second page that provides a visual summary of each Library. Like the Record Group Explorer, each Library’s page features:

  • a compelling image from each Library at the top, 
  • a bar that indicates the scanning progress for each Library, 
  • portals for browsing records within each Library organized by format,
  • portals for descriptions that do not have scans online, 
  • and a call to action for citizen archivists.

This tool is a new path into the digitized holdings of NARA’s Presidential Libraries, providing a browseable experience that complements the deep dive that search in the National Archives Catalog provides.

Please try out our Presidential Library Explorer! We’d love to hear your feedback about how you may find this tool useful, and how we can further improve it. The data powering the Presidential Library Explorer will be updated monthly, so check back to see what we have added and any changes we’ve made. Also stay tuned for future next-generation finding aid projects in the works!

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