Better know a blog

Today’s post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty.


The National Archives keeps biggering and biggering on the Internet. Almost two years ago we sent out our first tweet, and just six months later we posted our first YouTube video. Since then we’ve expanded our online presence to suit every niche there is at the Archives, from those interested in records preservation and research, to those interested in policy, all the way down to folks like us who just like to rummage around and find interesting, well, pieces of history.

To better equip you with all that’s going on, we want you to better know our blogs. Here’s a rundown of what we’re currently working on. Expect this list to grow in the future, and be sure to let us know how we can better serve you.

  • AOTUS: Collector-in-Chief — You’ve heard of POTUS (the President) and SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States); now you can throw AOTUS into the alphabet soup of DC. The Archivist of the United States’ own blog provides insight into what the man upstairs is thinking. A former Navy man and Beverly, Massachusetts, native, Archivist Ferriero recently stirred the pot with a debate on the birthplace of the Navy (Beverly claims the title, as do five other spots.) One of the other advantages of this weekly blog is that the Archivist, by nature of his title, gets the scoop from across the nation on his travels to the regional archives, the latest of which was an audio clip of an inmate at Alcatraz. It’s the only known recording of a disciplinary hearing on the notorious island.
  • The Hoover Blackboard — Unequivocally the most adorable blog run by the National Archives, the Hoover Blackboard is a blog for students and teachers visiting the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library. It’s a very interactive site with plenty of comments and posts peppered with drawings done by students visiting the West Branch, Iowa, library. Teachers looking for lesson plans are certainly encouraged to visit the web site, even if they can’t make it to the library.
  • NARAtions — Started by the Online Public Access team, this flagship blog covers a gamut of material geared toward researchers. Genealogy insights, profiles of helpful NARA staff, and the latest online developments by NARA are just a few of the topics covered here. If you’re a researcher at the National Archives, this is the go-to blog to know the latest updates that affect you.
  • NDC Blog — The National Declassification Center was set up by Executive order to help streamline and make transparent the declassification process that goes on here. If you’re concerned with Open Government initiatives and Government accountability when it comes to declassifying documents in a timely manner, then go no further. Responsive and always available, this blog is a great way to keep tabs on the declassification process. The NDC blog has quite a bit to brag about, too: within the first six months of operation it declassified over 8 million pages of documents — that’s over 23 pages a minute!
  • Prologue: Pieces of History — At the back of each issue of Prologue magazine, there’s a feature called Pieces of History that usually highlights quirky discoveries made at the National Archives. The trouble is, with 10 billion pages of documents, there weren’t enough issues to fit in all the great things we’ve found over the years. So, we started a blog. Since then we’ve embraced the lighter side of archival existence: chuckling at strange photos, uncovering the history of facial hair in America, and sharing with the masses only the most peculiar discoveries in our holdings with a new blog post every weekday.
  • Reagan Education Workshops — Love Ronald Reagan? Believe it or not, there’s an app for that. But if you’re more interested in primary source lesson plans than showing off the Gipper on your iPhone, then look no further. Built as an offshoot of the Document of the Month workshops that take place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, this blog brings together archives experts and teachers so they can collaborate on informative lesson plans built on original source material.
  • Records Express — What began with a tweet for the Records Administration Conference has now evolved into the Records Express blog (though they’re still tweeting). Run by the folks who run our records management program, this blog explains how we manage the Federal Government’s records. How do we handle electronic records? How have Open Government initiatives affected our records management mission? What’s a Federal agency to do to record its Facebook updates and tweets? The answers are at this informative blog, run by the experts who know.
  • ***UPDATE*** We’ve got one more blog to add to the mix. Called The Text Message, this blog is brand new and run by the Textual Records Division up at our College Park, Maryland, facility. Check back for new updates and new discoveries from this crew of archivists!

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