24 October 2010


The last couple of weeks my inbox has been filled with news from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and it’s now time to share with you all the great things that are happening!

1. In response to user requests, for the month of November 2010, the National Archives at College Park, Maryland (Archives II) will undertake a pilot program to provide archival records retrieval service for textual records on Saturdays. Check out the details of what records can be pulled, pull times, etc. As an aside, I have to laugh as I will be at NARA II on Friday, October 29th, after waiting for three months to find a weekday when I could visit! At least visiting in the future might be easier if this is a success! So, do let everyone in the DC metro area or with planned November visits know about this and show that they support this increased access to our National records.

2. Archives.gov, the website of NARA, is getting a redesign. Initially announced in July, you will be able to preview the redesign at the 14th Annual Archives Fair to be held 27 October 2010. As this has been an ongoing project, at the redesign page you can see what has already transpired with regard to this initiative.

I think this next bit of news is just a lot of fun! Though it’s not increasing record access through a redesigned website or allowing pulls on Saturday at NARA II, it gives a fun perspective on our National heritage.

3. History Happens Here! is a new way to use NARA’s historic photograph collections by combining the old with the new in the same frame. What a unique perspective on how our country has evolved over time. Here’s how you can participate:
• Go to a collection of iconic photos at NARA’s Flickr History Happens Here! photostream, select one in your area or that you will be visiting, and print it out.
• Hold the picture up in front of the building/landmark, and take a picture of your augmented reality.
• Visit the History Happens Here! group on Flickr and share your “mash-up.”

We always enjoy looking at older photos of our ancestors and now here’s a chance to share older photos, juxtaposed against modern reality, of our iconic landmarks!

The website warns “History Happens Here is an addicting project. You will want to go to lots of places and see how things have changed. So get ready to experience history today through the lens of the National Archives!”


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  1. There is an article where one can look at some Scottish locations as they looked in history and as they look now, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12019593. If you are interested in the juxtaposition of the old and new, you might want to check this out.

  2. There is a contest associated with "History Happens Here". The news release from NARA states:

    The National Archives has launched its first-ever online photo contest - History Happens Here! This innovative competition invites participants to capture an historic image from the expansive online still picture holdings of the National Archives within the frame of the current landscape. Such images, called “mash-ups,” reflect the past within the present. This unique approach augments reality and combines the old with the new in the same frame, combining elements of a past time within the everyday world.

    Twenty winning photos will be chosen by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero and the National Archives Digital Strategies and Services Staff. These photos will be printed in a History Happens Here! postcard book to be sold in the National Archives Shop and online eStore [www.estore.archives.gov]. The grand prize winning photo will be featured on the cover. One of the 19 finalists will receive a special “Fan Favorite” title - determined by the number of people who vote to “favorite it” on Flickr.

    The History Happens Here! photo contest runs through January 21, 2011. History Happens Here! photo “mash-ups” can be entered at http://www.flickr.com/groups/historyhappenshere. Photos must be selected from National Archives online Archival Research Catalog [http://archives.gov/research/arc/]. See full contest rules and details [ http://challenge.gov/NARA/86-augmented-reality-photo-contest].