Press/Journalists
Press Release
April 8, 2003
Thousands Search National Archives New Electronic Database

College Park, MD. . . The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently launched Access to Archival Databases (AAD), a new research tool that makes a selection of the Archives' most popular electronic records available to the public over the Internet. The URL is http://aad.archives.gov/aad/.

AAD is the first publicly accessible application developed under the auspices of the National Archives Electronic Records Archives Program. The Electronic Records Archives Program is addressing the larger challenges of preserving the increasing variety and volume of Government records that have been created and stored in electronic form. AAD addresses just access to a specific type of electronic record—databases and records that are structured like databases.

In announcing the new system, Archivist of the United States, John W. Carlin said, "This groundbreaking system will provide a new way for customers to access records over the Internet. Until we launched AAD, researchers needed to contact us directly to gain access to our electronic records. Sometimes we were able to supply them with copies of specific records after a period of time, but frequently they needed to purchase a copy of the entire file. Now they only need access to a computer connected to the Internet to reach these selected records. AAD is a crucial step toward fulfilling our mission by providing the public with 'ready access to essential evidence.'"

AAD provides researchers with:

  • Online access to more than 350 databases, which were created by over 20 Federal agencies. NARA plans to expand the system to more than 500 databases.
  • The ability to search, retrieve, print out, and download records. Researchers will need to determine the series and file units of interest before they begin their search.
  • Important contextual information to help researchers understand the records better, including code lists, explanatory notes from National Archives archivists, and for some series or files in AAD, related documents.

Notable databases in the initial release of AAD include:

  • Preservation survey of Civil War sites

  • Combat casualties from the Vietnam and Korean Wars

  • POWs from World War II and Korean War

  • Japanese-American Internee Files from World War II

  • Port of New York ship passenger lists,1846-1851 (Irish Famine database)

  • Death records from the Gorgas Hospital Mortuary in Panama, 1906-1991

  • Indexes to black and white and color NASA photographs, 1958-1991

  • After action combat and air sortie reports from the Vietnam War

  • Military Prime Contracts in excess of $10,000, 1965-1975

  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Ownership Reporting System, 1978-1998

  • SEC Proposed Sales of Securities System (Insider trading), 1972-1993

Since the launch of AAD, thousands of researchers have flocked to the site. Due to this heavy use, users may experience a wait time to access information. The National Archives is currently working to add additional capacity to the system to meet the demands of users.

For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 301-837-1700.

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