How to Use the New National Archives Catalog (broadcast 2015 July 1)

>>Welcome to the National Archives “Know
Your Records” program. My name is Andrea Bassing Matney. We’re so pleased you have joined us
here today. We are broadcasting live from the Washington, D.C. National Archives building
with an onsite audience. Before we begin I have a few tips I’d like to share with you.
For those of you who have joined us here on site, welcome. Hopefully you picked up the
handouts that I left outside for you. And we are taking questions but we ask that you
wait until the very end and use these aisle microphones, please, so that everyone can
hear you. For our online audience, those of you watching
on YouTube, all of the handouts are available as a web link. If you go to the description
portion of this video, you will see them there. There is also a handout and you will also
find a link to captioning so you can watch us broadcast live and see the text.
Today we are so pleased to have Jason Clingerman introduce the new National Archives Catalog
which provided improvements and updates to the initial Online Public Access prototype
for an online catalog. Mr. Clingerman started with the National Archives in 2007 as a student
employee. He currently serves as an archives specialist in the Office of Innovation, Digital
Public Access Branch. Before coming here, he went to undergraduate
school at the University of Maryland College Park and grad school at Towson University.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming our presenter, Jason Clingerman.
>>Jason Clingerman: Hi, everybody. I’m Jason Clingerman. You heard everything about me
there is to know. I’m here today to introduce to you the new National Archives Catalog.
Before I delve in, I want to discuss the history of our catalogues and how we came to the National
Archives Catalog. Before the National Archives Catalog, there was the Archival Research Catalog.
That was from 2001 to about 2010. That was replaced by the Online Public Access or OPA
system in December 2010. Now, OPA was designed to be a prototype. We
had full intentions of using the prototype and learning from it and making future improvements
in both the function and design of the catalog. We didn’t get everything right the first time
so we wanted to try to make it better the second time. We’re still working to improve.
So we’re always open to suggestion. After OPA, that’s where the National Archives
catalog comes in. We went live with the catalog on December 5, 2014. So for about six months,
the new National Archives catalog and the OPA system lived simultaneously because we
didn’t want to pull OPA from researcher use until we were sure that the catalog worked
flawlessly. We know a lot of people depend on the catalog for research.
We’ve had some hiccups with the new catalog since OPA has gone down but we’re trying to
not have any down time. We hired a company called Search Technologies to develop the
National Archives Catalog. They’re one of the leading industry developers for search
engines, coming up with search algorithm that are customized to different institutions.
We think they’ve done a great job. They’re really giving us a lot of input on how we
can improve what we had before. We’ve enjoyed working with them.
What’s new about the new National Archives Catalog? The most important thing I would
say is that we’ve improved search, especially improved the relevancy ranking of search results
and response times. We’ve also designed the catalog to be scalable for the increasing
number of digital images and descriptions. Currently there are about 3.2 million digital
images in the catalog. 1.1 million of these have been added just this year so far. And
we’re actually slated to add another 1.2 million in the next two months. So as time goes on,
you can see that the number of digital images in the catalogue are going to grow almost
exponentially. We needed to design a new system that could handle that quantity of data and
digital images. And the old catalog, OPA, was not designed to handle that. So it was
a shortlived system. And it couldn’t sustain. But now we have a system that is scalable
for a theoretically infinite number of digital images.
Another nice thing about the new National Archives Catalog is we get weekly updates.
So new descriptions and digitized records will appear weekly. In the future this will
be shortened to every day we’ll have updates. So as we work to improve the new catalog,
you’ll get updates sooner and sooner. So before, in OPA, you had to wait I believe it was about
a month for new work done by our Archivists to appear in the catalog but now it happens
in a week or less. We’ve also made changes to the design and
interface of the catalog. Now, if you were a frequent user of OPA, you might notice that
it’s not that different at the moment. It still has the same kind of blue banner at
the top. But there are some other things that we’ve changed about the design and interface.
But we also in a future version are going to improve upon the design and interface even
more. And I’ll get more into that. Another feature that we’ve added, because
in OPA we allowed users to tag descriptions so anybody could jump on and add a tag about
what the description might be about. If it was the document for the Truman doctrine,
somebody could go in and tag it Truman. But now we’ve added transcriptions. So now users
can go on and transcribe digitized records in our catalog. And this is immensely helpful
for researchers because those transcriptions then get indexed and become searchable. So
terms that appear in the transcription will actually become searchable. So maybe the description
itself didn’t have the term in the document but now a search will pull it up if the transcription
has been done for it. It also indexes the tags – I forgot to mention.
I’m sorry. The tags can also now be done at the digital image level. So before tags were
just at the description level but now tags can actually live on each page of a record.
You can tag one page different than the next page. So for whatever purpose you might be
tagging, this could be really helpful for your research or helping other researchers
pinpoint exactly where what they’re looking for is.
We’ve also added an API, Application Programming Interface. This is basically a way for other
computer systems to interact directly with our catalog. You can pull data from our catalog
or actually add data to the catalog, too. So through the API you can actually add transcriptions
and tags as well. API is probably for more advanced users but
it will help us a lot in the future in terms of interacting with other institutions. For
example, the DPLA, Digital Public Libraries and Archives, they are going to use the API
to pull pretty much all of our descriptions and index them, themselves, for their searchable
database. That’s one example how it will be used for other institutions.
Another thing we’ve added is the bulk export feature. If there are search results that
you want to download that are larger than the system will let you do in 30 seconds or
less, it will create a bulk export. You can basically export as much as you want from
our catalog. It might just cue up to download later. You’ll have to have a user name to
do that. I’ll jump into the user names and why to create a log-in in a moment.
I also want to mention what’s coming in the catalog. As I mentioned, we’re still in development.
We’ll be developing for at least the next few years. So we’re still open to researcher
suggestions as well. That’s why I’m always soliciting comments from researchers and staff
to suggest how they think the catalog can be better.
So what’s coming, like I mentioned, is further changes to the design and interface. So we’re
getting rid of the whole blue color schema that we have and have a gray site that will
look kind of lining Bing. It will have a landing page that uses actual records from our catalog
and transposes the search bar over top of those. It will present you some cool records.
It’s just when you first jump on, it will be kind of more aesthetically pleasing. We’re
having some design experts from Search Technologies helping us with that. So it’s going to be
a lot better than we got initially with OPA. We’re also adding additional user contributed
fields. So on top of tags and transcriptions, we’re also adding translations in which you
can translate a document from English into any number of languages that we support or
from another language into English or into another language. So you can basically save
multiple instances of transcriptions for different languages.
And we’re also adding comments. So we will allow researchers and users to actually comment
on records in there. So if somebody can go on and say, hey, this is really cool or somebody
can go on and post the question, and perhaps the staff member or another researcher could
answer their question. We’re trying to design it to be a much more social catalog.
We also have a lot more coming so we will be making announcements with future releases
as to what the new futures are. So keep your ears to the wind for future changes.
On that note, let’s actually jump into the catalog and check it out. There’s two ways
we can get to the catalog. You can either go from, and that’s where our
landing page is on the bottom link, or you can go to directly, which
brings you to the basic blue banner at the top with a big white screen. It’s not the
prettiest right now. In the future when you go to the site, you’ll be brought to the landing
page we’re designing. I’m going to jump over to the catalog. I’m
going to show you guys really quickly how to get to the catalog from the
homepage for those of you who might not already be familiar. So you go to and
this is the homepage. So if you click on research our records right here on the left, you’ll
be brought to this page. And here’s where you see the link, National Archives Catalog,
at the top under search online. Click on that. That brings you to our catalog landing page. So you can actually start your search right from here. If you don’t want to use just the
search bar, you can jump into advanced search like so or you can go directly to the That will bring you right here so you won’t get all the information and help links that
the landing page provides but you can still access those by going to home up here at the
top. In the future version, we’re going to have the help pages more integrated with the
catalog. First I kind of want to explain — you’ll
notice over here on the right you can log in. So let me explain the advantage of having
a user name versus not having a user name. So basically unregistered users can only retrieve
10,000 search results and no user contributions. So you cannot – if you don’t have a log in,
you basically cannot provide transcriptions or tags but you can still access those. So
it doesn’t prevent you from accessing them. You just can’t contribute. But it does limit
search results. So if you want more than 10,000 search results, go ahead and create a user
name. Registered users can get up to 25,000 search results and they can make user contributions
and do bulk exports. They can also create saved lists. So you can save descriptions
and digitize records on a list for you to access later if you’re trying to kind of browse
through the catalogues and collect things to look at later. You can save a list.
Then we also have a power user status which we actually saved for pretty much other institutions
and specific staff members. But those users are allowed up to 50,000 search results. We’re
experimenting with increasing these limits, so as we improve the catalog and improve its
performance, we’re actually going to up these limits even more hopefully. We’re trying to
make as many records as available while still retaining fast performance on the catalog.
We don’t want there to be noticeable load times or wait times. That’s our goal.
So I’m going to go ahead and just show you what you get when you do a basic search. So
I’m just going to search for the term Truman. And here you have what you get when you do
a search on the catalog. The first thing you’ll notice is probably the thumbnails. These thumbnails
represent digitized records. This little grouping in the third position are actually webpages, webpages. We tried to group those on here so that way your search results aren’t
cluttered with webpages. We pretty much assume that most people come into the catalog aren’t
trying to search Most people have gotten to the catalog from
So we didn’t want your search to bring up undue amount of webpages. So we group them
all in the one position. Then we also have descriptions of records that are not available
online. You’ll see those icons there. We have at the top – the way OPA worked before
was we had these groupings — for example, we had online holdings, description only,
authority records. I believe there was also pages. But now we’ve created these
tabs at the top. So the first tap it brings you by default is the all tab. The all basically
brings back every search result possible but it does provide a relevancy ranking that boosts
digitized records to the top but doesn’t bury descriptions of records. So we wanted to help
people who wanted to do the research primarily online find what they were looking for but
also not exclude people who do their in-person research with the archives.
So all brings back everything. Available online brings back digitized records. So at the moment
there’s actually a known glitch where web pages are showing up in available online.
So that’s what these little globes are here. But in a future release those webpages will
be removed and available online will look just like this. It will just be digitally
available records. All record types, textual records, videos, audio, photographs, any type
of record that could be digitally available. Webpages is just webpages. So webpages brings
back just webpages. Documents is just digitized textual records.
So if you’re looking for textual records that are available online, you might want to jump
over to the documents tab. Images are digitized photographs and other
graphic materials. So at the moment there’s also a glitch in this tab where it’s pulling
back textual records as well. And that’s because the images for those records are saved as
jpegs and the system is recognizing those as photographs. So in the future version that’s
coming out, we’re actually going to remove those so it will look just like this where
you’ll just have photographs and other graphic materials.
Then the video tabs are just videos available online. So if it has this little film reel
icon, that means there’s a video that you can watch on that description. So we have
video formats in all different types. Depending on what browser you are using, you may or
may not need a plugin to view the video. But once you have the appropriate plugin, you
can view the video right here in the window. Also, in a future version, because there’s
been some confusion about what all of these tabs mean and what goes into these tabs, we’re
actually going to have hoverovers where once you hover over, see how it says “All” and
the number of results? It will say what that tab is. So, for example, documents, when you
hover over, will say something along the lines of digitally available textual records. So
it will define it for you when you hover over it.
On the lefthand side, the other thing you’ll notice is the refinements. This is how we
can refine what we’re looking for. So in the example what I’m looking at, textual records
– say I want to narrow it down. I say because I searched Truman, I just want the textual
records available at the Truman Library. Because I don’t want anything else. I just want Truman
Library. You can refine by location, click on that, and now only have the digitally available
records from Truman Library. So you can click on any number of these refinements. You can
refine by date, by location, by file format, by type of materials, by level of description,
or by data source. And I’ll get into the data sources in a little bit here.
I’m going to go back – I’m going to jump into one of these search results and show you what
is on a digitized record. Here you have diary appointment book of Harry
S. Truman. It doesn’t want to load the cover page. Let’s try another one. Well, it doesn’t
look like the catalog wants to load the images. It might be taking its time.
Let me explain what you see here. Normally the actual record would appear in this box
right here and you could zoom in or out, down here on the bottom. You could pan left, pan
right, up or down. And if you click this, it would bring you back to the standard zoom.
You can also download the image, download full size image. Or if you click on this button,
this is where you can view and add the contributions, which, at the moment, are just tags and transcriptions.
So let me go back to one that has multiple pages so I can show you – in this example,
you’ll see a bunch of these pages have blue tags. But some of them don’t. So the ones
that have blue tags means that there is a user contribution on that page. If it doesn’t
have a blue tag, that means nobody has contributed to that page yet.
Just because there’s a tag doesn’t mean the contribution is complete. So somebody may
have done half a transcription and stopped but it would still show the blue tag. In a
future version, we’re going to have transcription statuses. So there will be complete, incomplete.
So you’ll be able to tell that way. But at the moment, you can just tell whether or not
there is a contribution. And you can also tag here at the description level. So if you
want to tag up here, you can. To go between pages, you can either click on the page you
want to go to – I wish this was loading the pages but it’s not. That’s not very helpful.
Or you could also jump with these buttons, left or right, to the first and last pages
or you can enter which page number, if you know where you want to go.
Also, if you want to browse more – by default, the system will only load the first 30 pages.
But if you load more, it will load the next 30 pages and you can browse all 60 or the
first 60. If you hit load all, it will load every single page.
Please be aware, some of these documents can be thousands of pages. So if you hit load
all, it might wait a while. Luckily with this one it’s only 81 pages so it didn’t take that
long to load. A lot of our records also have a PDF version
which is basically instead of going pagetopage, you can see the whole document in one PDF.
And you can now view those within the catalog. So it looks like the PDF is loading. We’ll
go with that for now. Take that back. Ok. I’m going to jump into the user contributions
window. I think we can just show you the user contributions. I was going to do a transcription
for you guys but I think we’re out of luck. I’m going try this in another browser really
quick before I give up. Give me one moment. I was just on the catalog this morning so
this must be a relatively new issue. Ok. Much better. Now I can show you that you
look at the pages on here. So I’m going to click on the page. You can zoom in with this
bar or you can use the scroll bar on your mouse. You can zoom in pretty well, especially
if it’s a highresolution. You can zoom in and it will still look pretty good. Not all
of our images are highresolution but a lot are. And the new ones we’re adding are high
resolution. We’re not adding any new images that are low resolution.
Now with this page I’m going to jump into the contributions. I hit view/add contributions.
And it brings this popup window where you can see the document up here at the top again
with the same zooming and panning options. And then down here, you’ll see that you can
tag or you can transcribe. So this page doesn’t have any tags or transcriptions. If you’re
not logged in, it will prompt you to log in to contribute. So I’m going to go ahead and
hit log in to contribute. I have a moderator account which has a lot more data behind it.
So it takes a little longer to load than a normal user account would take. Don’t expect
it to take this long to log in. If it does, don’t hesitate to contact us because that
shouldn’t be the case. If you ever have this much trouble logging in, please let us know.
So also, in a future version — you’ll notice it didn’t bring me back to my result that
I was looking at. It didn’t bring me back to the record. That’s a current defect we’re
waiting on getting fixed. So in the next version, when you log in on the contributions window
like that, it will bring you back to where you were. But I had to manually go back to
it. I apologize for the inconvenience in the meantime.
Ok. Back to page 14. Now that I am logged in, I can tag. Now it says enter new tags.
Or I can transcribe. I’m going to tag this page, Truman. If you want to do more than
one tag, you can type them in a stream and just separate them with commas. So I’m going
to tag this Truman and diary. If I hit enter, I’ve now added those tags and those tags will
become searchable within 24 hours after entering. Now, to do a transcription, you’ll notice
when you hit transcribe, you can’t click into this box. It’s blue. But once you hit the
edit button, it now becomes a text box that you can enter into. The way we designed the
system is that only one user can transcribe at a time. So if somebody else is logged in
and in the middle of transcribing this document, you won’t be able to put it into edit mode
until they’re done. If somebody goes idle on the computer and they walk away, it will
kick them out after a half an hour. So basically it should let you back in. I would check back
in a half an hour, basically, if you can’t get into a transcription. If you’re lucky,
the person will have transcribed the whole thing and you can go to the next page.
To transcribe this one — I’m going to zoom in because I can’t read it that small. So
I’m going zoom in here. I’ll start with the first page. I’m not going to do the whole
thing. Don’t worry. I’m just going to type in Friday, May 4, 1934, 124th day, 41 days
to come. So, now below this is handwriting. That’s
where transcriptions become really helpful. A lot of our documents that aren’t handwritten
can be – we have a search function called OCR or Optical Character Recognition, where
the system can actually recognize most words on a typed document and actually make them
searchable. But if it’s a handwritten document, that system fails. This is where transcriptions
come in handy. The first line – and somebody feel free to
shout out if you think I’m transcribing the wrong word. I’m not that good at reading handwriting.
I think it says “To Jefferson City” but abbreviated Jeff City, May 4, 3:30. And then I think that
says miles, mi, 4794. So now that I have added that text it becomes searchable. So if somebody
was searching for Truman and Jefferson city, nowhere in the description did it mention
Jefferson City but now that I’ve added an anchor – it just says Jeff City, but it would
make it more searchable. So I can add a tag on that same note for Jefferson City. And
it actually will help with the relevance of a search that somebody might have conducted
with both of those terms. Now that you’re done your transcription – I’ll
just finish this. It’s a short one. Except I can’t read –
>>[Inaudible]>>Jason Clingerman: Ahh. There you go. LV?
Good eyes. This is where I’m not that good.>>[Inaudible]
>>Jason Clingerman: I’m sorry. I was about to type something else – I typed to Jefferson
City and we just had a correction from an audience member who noticed it looks like
it says leaving Jefferson City, lv. And this is where the user crowd is really useful.
Just because somebody did a transcription, doesn’t mean it’s right. And so sometimes
it takes another user with another set of eyes to realize somebody may have transcribed
it incorrectly and it’s up to them to fix it. You can log in and fix somebody’s transcription.
Any transcription can be edited. One question I’ve gotten a lot is: What if
somebody deletes my transcription? I spent an hour transcribing this long document. What
if somebody deletes it? No worries. As long as you catch it and email us, we can actually
restore a previous version. So we don’t actively moderate these contributions unless it’s spam
or vulgar language, offensive language. We don’t actively moderate them so we won’t notice
if somebody deleted it. But if you go back to your old transcription and say I know yesterday
I typed four paragraphs and now they’re gone, if you tell us, we can restore to a previous
version. Fret not. It won’t be gone forever. Just pay attention if it’s that important
to you. I’m going to finish this real quick.
All right. Now I’ve done a whole page. When I’m done, I’m going to hit save. It will let
you know that your work has been saved. So make sure you save your work before you close
the window. If you just close the window, it won’t save it for you. Remember, if it’s
a long document, save it half way through, a third of the way through. Just make sure
that you’re always thinking about saving. And once you’ve saved it, you can still type
but if you’re done with your transcription completely and you hit cancel, it will bump
you out of that transcription for somebody else to jump on if they want to or look at
it. Once you’ve done a transcription, it will
show who contributed that transcription. So here it says contributors Jason Clingerman
and then it says NARA staff. So we put in for every NARA staff member who has a user
account, any contribution they make will be identified as being done by NARA staff; just
to help people know kind of to be more transparent about contributions but also to know maybe
something might be more authoritative if it came from NARA staff. Sometimes we get transcriptions
from agencies and we might actually just copy and paste those transcriptions in there. And
it will give you the timestamp, too. I’m going to jump out of user contributions
right now. The next thing I want to show you is the export feature. So I’m going to go
back to my search results. Up here at the top you’ll see it says that I have 71,827
search results. I say to myself, oh, I want all of that. I don’t want to look through
this all right now. I want to save that for later. If you hit this export button, you
can basically export either of the results on the page or the top results.
Mine say top 50,000 because I’m a power user but if you’re just a regular user, it will
say top 25,000. So you can only export up to 25,000 results. So in this example where
there’s 71,000, I’m not going to be able to get all of those. But I suggest if you’re
not finding what you’re looking for in less than 50,000 results, you should probably find
a way to narrow your search. We can help you with that. Never hesitate to email us.
I’m going to hit the top 50,000. Then you go over to the right and click this export
button. And you’re presented with a popup with some options. So you can do either of
the brief results or the full results. And you can include the thumb nails of the images.
And you can also include user contributions in your export. So if you want the transcriptions
and/or the tags, you can include those as well. And you can choose your format. You
can export in CSV which is for Excel. JSON is a programming language. PDF, everyone knows,
or a text, which is basically a notepad document on the computer. And XML is another coding
language that we store all of our data in XML. So XML is the rawest format of our data
as it comes directly from us. Some people might want to use that if they’re familiar
with those codings. If you’re not, you probably want either CSV, PDF or text. I’m going do
a PDF and just – I’ll do the full results. I’m going to include all the thumbnails and
all the transcriptions and tags. I’m going to hit export. What it does at this
point, whereas if your export takes more than 30 seconds, it will create a bulk export for
you that you can download later if you have a user account if it takes less than 30 seconds,
it will just download it directly to your computer at this point. So it looks like this
one’s probably going to take more than 30 seconds. If it takes significantly longer,
I’m going to jump out and show you where the bulk exports live.
Ok. We’re not going wait for this. I will show you where you can find your bulk exports
once it’s executed. I’m sorry the system seems to be going slow at the moment. I’m actually
going to find out what’s going on with that later. Of course. I was too impatient. There
you go. So if you go to your user account page – right
here where I see my user name, if you click on that, you can see your bulk downloads over
here. So if you click on this link, it will show you all of your bulk downloads. So I
have none at the moment. But it will show you the status of your bulk downloads. It
will say either complete or in progress. And it will say the percent complete. So if it’s
a big one that might take a while, and you can jump on 10 minutes later and it might
only be 50% done. But once it’s done, you can come back to it. And there will be a link
over here to download it. It tells you the size, the number of items in it, and it will
tell you when it expires. So please, by no means, treat the bulk export lists as a permanent
storage place for your search results that you want to keep. It only allows you to keep
your bulk here for two months. So try to download it within two months of creating it. It will
tell you when it expires. It won’t remind you but it will tell you. Just be aware of
that. That’s it for exports. I’m actually going
to show you guys, now, advanced search. It seems a lot of researchers are really interested
in advanced search. If you remember OPA, OPA had all of the fields that were searchable
on this screen. One major change is that now you can’t see all the fields. That’s a major
complaint that we’ve gotten. So the next version we’ve improved this.
I’m going to explain to you right now how to get to those fields. So by default, all
of these data sources are selected. So to get to the fields that you may be used to
searching, you have to deselect all of them. I know this is not the simplest way of getting
to it. If you hit either archival descriptions or to digital objects, you’ll now see the
fields displayed that relate to those. So what the system is doing here, is it’s
basically only displaying the common fields between all of those data sources. That’s
why when you have all selected, those disappear. Not all of those data sources share the same
fields. So, for example if I were just to go to presidential/vice presidential electronic
records, just the fields that are pertinent to that data source are available. So you’ll
see down here FOIA case number, type of records, White House emails. Most researchers tend
to be interested in the archival descriptions and with digital objects. Note you can limit
it to any number of these. In the future version, instead of having to
click the data sources to get these fields, it will display all fields. But if the fields
aren’t pertinent to the data source you have selected, it will be grayed out and unavailable
for you to use but you could still see it there. So basically you would have to click
until it appeared. I’m going to do an advanced search here. I’m
going to follow this format. I’m going to do Truman. I’m going to say that I only want
Truman items and I only want things that are from the National Archives in College Park
textual reference. You can also add search terms for the title, for geographic references.
You can add the record group number and/or the collection identifier which in a future
version, this is a request we got from researchers that we had implemented.
We had researchers tell us that they want the record group number at the top. That’s
one of the first things they wanted to limit to, the record group. So we are pushing the
record group field up to the top. That’s very apparent for people to use.
You can also search on the creator. So this is either the person or the organization that
created the records. And you can also search on a description identifier. So if some of
you are familiar with research here, we have all sorts of identifiers that apply to records,
local identifiers what we call HMS record entry numbers. We also have the old MLR numbers.
So if you’re a seasoned researcher, you’ve been coming here for years and you know the
identifiers you’re looking for, this is where description identifiers – is where you would
enter those. I’ll run my search now with just those things
I limited. Now I have a search results with my advanced search limitation that I put in.
And you can actually see those up here at the top. So it shows me in the refinements
column what I’ve limited. So you’ll see I mentioned that I limited it to the National
Archives in College Park textual reference. That is over here. That’s also up here at
the top. So you can actually X any of those out. You’re like, well, I don’t care if it’s
an item or file unit. I’ll cross that out. Now it expands my results. So you can tweak
your results how you want from advanced search. I’ll jump back to advanced search really quick
and show you another new field. Down here at the bottom we have the Congress range.
This field is specifically for the records of the Center of the Legislative Archives.
You can limit it based on the begin and end Congress number. So it goes from the first
Congress to the most recent Congress. You can just pick this little white bubble and
slide this where you want it. There’s a bubble on each end. Or you can type it in manually
if you know the number. So say 25. It will jump to that. It will display the dates of
each of those Congresses. If you’re not familiar with the Congress numbers, you could limit
it based on the dates that it displays. One thing about this field, as I mentioned
how in a future version it will gray out the fields that aren’t relevant, this field is
only available if you have all locations selected or just the Center of Legislative Archives
selected. So if you remove that and you just select Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, you’ll
notice this is gray and I can’t do this anymore; it doesn’t apply to those records. In the
future version, it’s a much more dynamic thing where fields will gray out if they’re not
relevant. So you don’t have to worry about entering something on the wrong field.
That’s kind of it for advanced search. I’m going to field questions after this. I’m sure
there will be questions about advanced search. But basically these are the things you can
enter in advanced search. If you have any questions or trouble with advanced search,
finding what you need, please never hesitate to contact us. I’m going to provide contact
information at the end of this. Before I open up to questions, I want to show
the new API that I mentioned. So API, like I mentioned, is for advanced users. I’m not
even an expert on API by any means even though I’m the catalog guy. But it will bring you
to our GitHub page if you click on that. If you’re not familiar with GitHub, it’s a developer
space where people can comment or help improve on or, you know, share software or other codes.
So on here is a readup on using the API and what is the API. So feel free to come to this
web page and read up on it. I’m just going to show you what the API is
for people who have no idea. There’s the URL path to access our API directly. If you click
on that, it looks like of this. This is JSON code. This is – this probably makes no sense
to most users but if it was a computer communicating directly with this system, then it could actually
read that. It’s a machine readable versus human readable. But if you want to interact
with our API in a userfriendly way, you can click on the interactive API sandbox right
here. And that brings you to our sandbox. So here I’m just going to briefly show you,
you can create a user account on the API. You can log in on the API. You can search
on the API. You can do bulk exports. You can make contributions, so tags and transcriptions.
You can also do bulk imports of those. And you can also search on user names. If you
want to search for a particular user’s contributions, you can just enterer that user name.
I’m just going to show you a basic API search. So with the sandbox, I’m going to do the same
search I’ve been doing for Truman in the query. And the only other thing I have to do, because
you don’t have to enter all of these fields, is select the format that you want the information
in. So from our API, you can get JSON, XML, CSV or PDF. I’m going do XML.
I want to show you how this works. So when you do the query on the API and you hit submit,
you basically get all of this data. So like I mentioned, this is for advanced users but
if you are an advanced user, you can use the data from the API and really manipulate it
in powerful ways because of all the tags and hierarchies built in. You can restructure
this in your own custom way or cut out what you don’t want or actually just cut out what
you do want. It makes the data much more manipulatable and open. There’s also fields that aren’t
displayed on the UI side, user interface side, that you can see on the API.
For example, you can see when a description was created at the National Archives. For
example, this digital object was created on June 1, 2015, whereas the UI side won’t tell
you that. It will be there or won’t be there. Here you can get a lot more information. So
you can basically search all new objects added since a date, for example. That’s one way
you could search the API. I’m not going to get anymore into the API. At some point in
the future, we may have a demo of the API if anyone’s interested.
At this point, I’m actually going to open it up to questions. Does anybody in the audience
have any questions about any of the things I’ve covered so far? I’ve gone over basic
search, the new layout, the tabs. I actually did some contributions. And I did advanced
search and API. So does anybody have any questions? Yes? Could you please go to the microphone?
Thank you.>>Can you go over how you establish the user
name?>>Jason Clingerman: Yes. Thank you for bringing
that up. I should have gone more into this. I’m going to log out. If you don’t have a
user name – hold on one second. If you don’t have a user name, if you hit this log-in button
right here – if you’re not registered already, there’s a link down here at the bottom for
not registered. If you click on that, all you need to have is a user name. You have
to enter your full name. We’re not going to verify whether it’s true or not. You can also
choose whether or not you want the full name displayed and then just an email address and
password. In the future, we’re going to allow theoretically
third party volume. So we may allow you to log in with your Facebook account or your
Google account. But at the moment you have to create one through us. But all NARA users
— so if we have NARA staff users create accounts, their full name will be public. They can’t
exclude their full name if they’re a NARA staffer. We want to be as transparent as possible.
Thanks for that question. I should have pointed that out earlier.
Are there any other questions in the audience? Yeah?
>>Thank you so much, Jason. We a question from online from Fred. He asks: With the tabs,
can I select all items except images?>>Jason Clingerman: You mean like all digitally
available records except for photograph, I’m going to assume. Yeah, you can kind of do
that. I’ll do the same search I’ve been doing, Truman. And if I go to available online – so
you want to exclude basically photographs and other graphic materials? Oh, I’m sorry,
you have to do that through the advanced search. I’m going to go to archival descriptions,
digital objects, type of materials. Basically, if you select all of them – I’ll do a shift
click. I’m going to select all. Then I’m going to deselect photographs. So I’ve had every
type except photographs selected, then hit search. Theoretically this should provide
me everything online except for photographs and other graphic materials such as artwork
or drawings or anything like that. So hopefully that answers the question.
Any other questions? Yeah?>>As a processing archivist, I use the bulk
export a lot in our other systems that we use, the description authority system, maintenance
system. I know that you already talked about the bulk export but when it comes down to
the format that you used, which one were you saying works with excel?
>>Jason Clingerman: CSV.>>Does it look the same? I don’t know if
there was a way you could show ->>Jason Clingerman: I can show what that
would look like. It might take a little while.>>If it’s going take a long time –
>>Jason Clingerman: We’re only doing 500 now that I’m logged out. I’ll just do the
brief results. I’ll just select CSV. Hopefully this won’t take too long.
>>Ok.>>Jason Clingerman: Ok. So now it’s prompting
me to download my CSV file. I’m going to hit ok to open it.
>>And this will open up into Excel exactly?>>Jason Clingerman: Yeah. What it does here
– this is where we get a lot of complaints. Basically because we have so many different
types of search results, most people are probably looking for one level of description whether
that be series or file units or items but because we have so many different types of
search results across the search engine, we have to put each type into its own column.
But what it does do is separates the field with this little line which is the button
that lives right above the enter on your keyboard. So if you’re familiar with Excel, you separate
it out. Say I’ll cut out all of this fat because all of these fields have nothing in them.
I’m just going to do the ones that I have. You can actually do what’s called a texttocolumns
with a delimiter. Sorry if this is advanced for anybody. I’m just trying to demonstrate.
If you do a delimiter — I’ll do other, enter that line. Hit finish. It will actually break
out all the information into their own column. One of the complaints is that it puts it all
into one column. We understand. We’re working on developing an even more customized export
within each description. But for the moment, this is kind of the only way to export.
>>Still, this is great regardless. Thank you.
>>Jason Clingerman: We’re working with the reference units and researchers on developing
a better export. Thank you.
Any other questions?>>Yes. Jason, I have another basic question
for you. At the beginning of your presentation you decided to change to a different browser.
So my question is: Are you finding that one browser works better than the other? For instance,
does Internet Explorer work better than Google Chrome or Mozilla?
>>Jason Clingerman: In most cases Google Chrome is actually the best browser to use
for the catalog. Today for some reason it wasn’t really working for my demonstration.
I’ve never had a problem in Chrome on my computer. But the developers tell us the best browser
to use is Chrome; the worst to use for the system is Internet Explorer. That’s where
we noticed the most errors. It’s not that it won’t work. You just may experience more
errors. They’re working to improve those errors. Hopefully as we notice those and users report
them to us, we’ll minimize them and bring all browsers up to a better level. But, yeah,
Chrome is the best. Internet Explorer is the worst.
Do you have a question?>>In terms of downloading images what is
the – first, you can show us – I’m sorry – can you show us how to download the image, the
format to put them into a PowerPoint format?>>Jason Clingerman: Sure. Yeah. In this example
I’m going to exclude – I’ll pull up this example. It’s a mural. To download it, when you click
into it, there’s this little button right here which says download fullsize image. You
can also right click on this and save the image from there. But if you hit this, it
will download the highest resolution version that we can provide you. So in this example,
I’m downloading it. Well, this is not the best example. Basically from there — so in
this example it downloaded a GIF image. Once it’s on your computer, you can drag that on
to your PowerPoint presentation or insert a picture from file, I guess is what it says
on Microsoft, I believe. So once you’ve downloaded it, you can treat it like any other. I imagine
that you would and put it on your PowerPoint presentation.
>>Which is the best image to download – [Inaudible]>>Jason Clingerman: Could you ask on the
microphone, please. I’m sorry. We have users online.
>>Sometimes it gives you three different sizes that you could download. I’m trying
to figure out which is the best in terms of inputting it into a PowerPoint. Sometimes
it cuts to make it fit. What is the most traditional or the easiest way just to say, ok, I can
download the medium, is that the best in terms of the highest resolution or go to the small
and enlarge?>>Jason Clingerman: The way our new system
works, we only allow you to download basically one image of it. So there aren’t – it does
tile it within the system. That’s how we’re able to zoom and where you get the medium,
small, large, and all different variations. But when you download, you’re downloading
one image. We’re providing the highest resolution version we can provide at the moment.
There are some images that don’t have their highest version available but that is a future
improvement we’re making. But there’s just the one image so it shouldn’t be an issue.
On that same note, really quickly, when you’re in the contributions work space, you can also
download the image with the same button right there. So there’s this little download, fullsize
image button. Thanks.
Any other questions?>>Yes, Jason. I have a question following
on to your last question about downloading an image. With anything that you download
from the online catalog, I think it’s important to have the citation so that others can duplicate
your research, even you might want to go back and find that image or that document. What
do you recommend – how should we cite the download?
>>Jason Clingerman: That’s a good question. The National Archives doesn’t endorse one
fixed citation format. There’s a bunch of different formats out there. But we do have
a document – I’m going to show where you to find this. Go to We have
a whole document on citation. So if you type in – I’m going to type in citations. Oops.
Right here. Ok. Citing records in the National Archives of the United States. It’s General
Information leaflet 17, which you can download as a PDF. And this document, which is on,
gives you recommended formats. So we provide multiple formats in here. But this is what
we recommend. Some people prefer Chicago style, MLA, APA format. But this is – it’s not showing.
You can find this document on our website. And that provides our recommended citation
format. And we do encourage citation because citation
helps other people find related records. So if they read your book or your document or
your blog, they can find the document the same way you found it from there.
Any other questions? All right. I thank you so much for coming
in today. If you guys have any further questions or you have any issues that you experience
in the catalog – because they’re out there, trust me – email us. You can either email
me directly at [email protected] or you can email – we have [email protected] is
the contact for any catalogrelate issue. Any question you have about the catalog or any
error you experience, just do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] All of
your emails help us with future development, with suggestions, or help us with defects
when you notice errors. And questions help us find you, what you’re looking for, and
help us conceive some of the ways that people are looking for records that we may not have
been aware of. Thanks.
>>Thank you so much, Jason. That was very helpful. Thank you so much for providing this
presentation for us today. For those of you who have attended here onsite,
we have an evaluation. If you don’t mind taking a few seconds to fill that out and leaving
it for me at the back table. For those of you online, we also welcome your comments.
Feel free to use the chat feature to leave your comments and suggestions there.
Again, Jason mentioned that you can leave suggestions about the catalog at [email protected]
>>Jason Clingerman: I apologize. I should have put that on the slide here.
>>Thank you so much. We look forward to seeing new developments with the catalog.
>>Jason Clingerman: Thanks.

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