2 Replies Latest reply on Dec 8, 2016 11:21 AM by Tommy Cicero

    Whats the difference between NARA's catalog and the AAD?


      My example is a search for FEMA photographer Dave Saville in the Catalog (https://catalog.archives.gov/search?q=Dave%20Saville&f.materialsType=photographsandgraphics) yields different results than the AAD (Please Wait... ).  Both have pictures of the 1997 flooding and both have pictures from April but not the same pictures.  I thought the catalog was supposed to contain AAD records but that doesn't seem to be the case.  If I use the general search bar at the top of the main Archives page (https://search.archives.gov/search/images?affiliate=national-archives&query=Dave+Saville ) I get no results.


      I am stumped on what's what.  If doing general searching for topics what is the best way to approach it so I ensure I get all NARA has to offer?

        • Re: Whats the difference between NARA's catalog and the AAD?
          Rebecca Collier Ranger

          The Access to Archival Databases (AAD) resource contains a small fraction (less than 1%) of the Federal electronic (“born-digital”) records held at the National Archives.  The selected records in AAD are structured databases that identify specific individuals, events, or transactions and cover a small range of topics, mostly dating from the mid-twentieth century and forward.  AAD is how NARA currently offers optimal searching and viewing of individual structured records. The Catalog contains descriptions of nearly all of NARA’s holdings, including the descriptions of the records that are on AAD.  The Catalog also provides access to some of NARA’s records and some of the records that are AAD are also available for download through the Catalog as raw data files.  Again, only a relatively small percentage (and growing) of NARA’s records are available through the Catalog. When searching for topics, in general the best approach is to start by searching the Catalog.  You may also want to search by more general terms to retrieve descriptions of records not necessarily available in the Catalog.  Once you have reviewed the descriptions to identify the set of records of interest to you, you then can request access to the records.  Some of the records may be available in the Catalog and/or AAD and other records may require visiting a NARA facility to view.  The descriptions indicate if the records are on AAD. As your example illustrates, sometimes the best approach is to search both tools. Regarding the FEMA photographs, that set of records is available in the Catalog and AAD.  The General Note in the series description (https://catalog.archives.gov/id/626166) indicates that images through fiscal year 2005 are available on AAD and images after fiscal year 2006 are available in the Catalog.  In addition, some of the images in the Catalog were taken before fiscal year 2006 and are very likely not the same pictures as available on AAD.  As you have found, there are different images of the 1997 flooding in AAD versus the Catalog. We have not yet made the FEMA pictures in AAD also available in the Catalog. When you view results in the Catalog, you can view the series description for more background on the records.  When viewing a file unit or item description, with or without records attached, a link to the series description is available in the Record Hierarchy box on the upper left side. Please contact the Still Pictures Branch at stillpix@nara.gov if you have questions about the FEMA photographs.  If you have additional questions about AAD, please contact the Electronic Records Division at cer@nara.gov.

          5 people found this helpful