National Archives Opens Online Digital Vault

National Archives Opens Online Digital Vault

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is even more than a repository for the census, military and immigration records naming individuals. NARA also holds pieces of our nation’s collective history—and it just launched a new Web site to display them. Digital Vaults hosts historical photographs, maps, posters and document...

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is even more than a repository for the census, military and immigration records naming individuals.

NARA also holds pieces of our nation’s collective history—and it just launched a new Web site to display them. Digital Vaults hosts historical photographs, maps, posters and document images from NARA’s file drawers.

You start with an array of small images. Click one and it swirls to the center (above). Click the magnifying glass under it for a closer look and details about it (below).

Then click another document or photo and the screen starts swimming again until that selection surfaces in the middle. If you like an image, more clicks add it to your Collection or link you to related resources at NARA.

Look to the left to see the Filter window, which lets you filter records by time frame, media type (such as Photo or document) and other parameters. Tags lets you view items tagged with certain topics.

Click Pathways at the bottom of the screen to create a challenge for others to follow: You choose records or photos, and use the details about them to write clues about how your picks are related. Click Create to make a poster or movie using records from your collection or from preselected records, then save it or e-mail it to people.

You also can click Search and find, say, all the immigration-, World War II- or Elvis-related items.

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