NARA releases data sets on data.gov, including catalog data and organizational authority records

In response to the Open Government Directive of December 2009, which was issued to “promote new lines of communication and cooperation between the federal government and the American people,” the National Archives and Records Administration had placed several “high-value” data sets on the data.gov web site. If scroll down that page I linked to, you will see:

  • The three Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) datasets consist of the 2007, 2008, and 2009 editions of the CFR in XML-tagged files. The CFR contains all of the general and permanent regulations of the U.S. Government, which affect nearly every aspect of life in the United States. The datasets are divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation.
  • Archival Descriptions from the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) provide descriptions of the permanent holdings of the federal government in the custody of the National Archives, including information on traditional paper holdings, electronic records, and artifacts.
  • Organization Descriptions from the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) provide a highly detailed presentation of the evolution of names and administrative histories of federal and non-federal organizations. It is used by the National Archives to track the organization that created records, and as a source of access points for indexing archival descriptions and/or other authority records with consistent headings.
  • This gives anyone with the talent the opportunity to explore, manipulate, and make available the data that is currently displayed in NARA’s online catalog, ARC, as well as to re-purpose the authority records created in ARC for organizations. I will be curious to see what our skillful colleagues in the history and digital humanities fields will do with these new sources of data. It certainly looks like a great opportunity for people who are working with EAC as well. Do you have any thoughts about the implications of this initial release of data?

    [Note this is only part of the news contained in today’s press release. I’ll address the rest in a follow-up post.]

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