The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently caused some controversy by proposing major changes that will significantly reduce the space and services available to researchers who wish to use NARA records in Washington, D.C. Specifically, the proposal is to relocate the Finding Aids/ Consultants to a smaller, open space within the library, reduce the number of microfilm readers, and replace self-serve microfilm access with a "pull on demand" process that requires staff to retrieve each film as someone requests it.
The reactions were loud and long. See the comments at the
end of my earlier article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2009/10/nara-seeks-to-shrink-research-space-and-services-in-dc.html as well as an article in UpFront, the NGS blog, about this issue at http://upfront.ngsgenealogy.org/2009/10/nara-seeks-to-shrink-research-space-and.html. Now NARA has created a new blog, called NARAtions, to help address many of the concerns voiced by users of NARA's services. The new blog states:
Our researchers in Archives I asked for a way that we could continue the discussions begun at our recent researcher meeting at Archives I in Washington, DC. Special media researchers have also encouraged us to make communications easier with staff and managers.
In response, we’re introducing a specialized series here on NARAtions. This new set of posts, called DC-area Researchers, will be a new online gathering place where you can talk with NARA staff about what’s happening at Archives I and II. We hope that you’ll add your ideas, concerns, and comments to the discussion!
To get started, we want to pose a couple of questions: What types of microfilm equipment would you like to see in the Archives I and II research rooms? Are there other types of equipment you would like to have in any of our textual or special media research rooms?
You can find this new blog at http://blogs.archives.gov/online-public-access/?p=1141.