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Archiver > APG > 2008-12 > 1230586460

From: Claire Bettag <>
Subject: [APG] Fwd: APG List
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2008 16:34:20 -0500
References: <s9521647.075@smtp.nara.gov>

Recently a number of posts discussed the digitization projects
underway at the National Archives. I do not wish to re-start that
discussion here! However, I do believe readers deserve to hear NARA's

In hopes of getting clarity from a NARA official with authority to
respond to some of the points raised, I sent a query to NARA. James
Hastings (Director, Access Programs, NARA), one of the officials in
charge of the digitization projects, responded to a number of the
points made on this list. With Hastings's permission, I am posting his
message below. I appreciate his taking the time to address this for
us, and hope this information will help readers understand more
clearly some of the issues.

Jim Hastings does not monitor this list, but he said he would answer
further queries sent to him privately.


Claire Bettag, CG, CGL
1685 34th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
202-436-2121 (cell)

CG (Certified Genealogist) and CGL (Certified Genealogical Lecturer)
are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used
under license by Board-certified associates after periodic competency

Begin forwarded message:

> From: "James Hastings" <>
> Date: 24 December, 2008 10:59:51 AM EST
> To: "Claire Bettag" <>
> Subject: APG List
> Claire,
> Thank you for sending me some of the messages on the APG list
> concerning images of NARA records that are available on Footnote,
> Ancestry, and FamilySearch. Some of the messages suggest confusion
> about the responsibilities for quality and extent of images and
> indexes
> of NARA records that are accessible online through partner's sites.
> I'm
> happy to provide some background for clarity.
> We currently have partnership agreements with three organizations -
> iArchives (Footnote.com), The Generations Network (Ancestry.com), and
> the Genealogy Society of Utah (FamilySearch.org). These partnerships
> are not contracts. They are agreements to work together with NARA to
> digitize and index full series of our holdings at minimal cost to the
> taxpayer. The full text of these three agreements are available at
> http://www.archives.gov/digitization/partnerships.html . In
> addition, the overall digitization strategy of NARA is available at
> http://www.archives.gov/digitization/strategy.html
> Most of the NARA microfilm that has been digitized and indexed by
> Footnote.com was done in partnership with us. Because we are working
> with Footnote as a partner, we lend them our master reference copy of
> the microfilm to scan so they can produce the highest quality images.
> This is a first generation copy that we produce from our master
> negative. Footnote digitizes every frame of the microfilm and does a
> 100% quality and completeness check before returning the film to us.
> Under the terms of the agreement, we do follow-up quality assurance as
> well.
> There is extensive NARA microfilm that has been digitized and made
> available online separate from partnerships with us. These images
> were
> probably produced from second or third generation reference
> microfilm so
> they could be of lower quality.
> All three of our partners are also engaged in digitizing full series
> of
> our original records. NARA policy requires that full series be
> digitized when done through a partnership. No pages may be
> skipped. In
> addition, the agreements specify that the partner is responsible for
> quality control and NARA is responsible for follow-up quality
> assurance.
> Volunteers are digitizing records for GSU; payed staff are digitizing
> the records for Footnote and TGN.
> We recognize that even the most carefully monitored reformatting of
> records could produce an occasional unsatisfactory image. For this
> reason we have always had the policy of making the original document
> available to a researcher who has the need to see it. We also will
> produce in our lab a digital image of a specific document upon request
> to determine if it is possible to obtain a better image.
> Overall, we believe these partnerships have achieved the access and
> preservation benefits that we hoped for. Thousands of people will
> have
> access to our materials through these partnerships with very little
> expense to the taxpayer and no damage to the original records. The
> partnerships will bring to the public complete series of some of our
> most popular records . They also allow us to focus our digitization
> efforts on the most valuable or most fragile records that only NARA
> can
> handle and digitize.
> Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks again for your
> inquiry.
> James J. Hastings
> Director
> Access Programs
> 301-837-1796

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