My recent post about the U.S. National Archives' Online Public Access (OPA) catalog generated a really nice response from Rebecca Warlow at the Office of Innovation, National Archives. Rather than leave it as a comment entirely, I decided that the information was very helpful and decided to repeat the comment here:
Dear Mr. Tanner,
We appreciate you taking the time to explore the National Archives’ Online Public Access (OPA) catalog. The content you previously found in the Archival Research Catalog is available in OPA. In addition OPA is also searching our web site Archives.gov and the web sites of the Presidential Libraries.Right now, I am in the middle of preparing some PowerPoints and getting ready for classes at the Mesa FamilySearch Library, but I promise to go back to the National Archives and write more about the new Online Public Access and the documents I find.
When you search in OPA, the search results come back in several categories. The first three search results are displayed for each category. You can see all of the search results for a category by clicking “View All” in the right corner of each set of search results.
Any records we have available online in OPA are found in the first group of search results. Currently we have over 1.8 million images available in OPA. If you click on one of the thumbnail images or titles in the first set of search results, a full sized image will appear along with the complete description.
The second set of search results are descriptions of our records. The majority of our records are not available online at this time, but the descriptions will tell you what records we have and which of our locations nationwide has the records. The contact information for the office that has the records is included at the bottom of each description.
The next two categories of search results are pages from our web site Archives.gov and pages from the web sites of the Presidential Libraries.
We will be posting tips on using our Online Public Access catalog on our NARAtions blog http://blogs.archives.gov/online-public-access/ over the next few weeks.
We would be happy to speak with you about your experiences with Online Public Access and any suggestions you may have for us. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.