Inside the Vault

Inside the Vault

NARA's interactive portal to its digital collections.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has transported 1,200 historical photographs, maps, posters and document images from its file drawers to a computer near you.

Digital Vaults <www.digitalvaults.org> — which Time magazine named to its top 50 Web sites list after the May launch — is intensely interactive and visual. You start with an array of small images. Click one and it swirls to the center. Click the magnifying glass under the image for a closer look and details about it. Then click another image 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 send you to related resources at NARA.

Using the Filter window on the left, you can view images by time frame, media type (such as a photo or document) and other parameters. Tags shows you all items tagged with certain categories. Search (at the bottom) lets you find, say, all the immigration-, World War II- or Elvis-related items. 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 friends.
 
From the November 2008 Family Tree Magazine 

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