National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), headquartered in College Park, Maryland, is an independent federal agency that helps preserve United States history by overseeing the management of all federal records. NARA's mission is to ensure ready access to the essential evidence that documents the rights of American citizens, the actions of federal officials, and the national experience.
As part of its responsibilities to provide public information access, as well as to support its researchers, NARA has established a Web site that offers STAR-based access to two major databases: the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Reference System (JFK), and the Library Online Public Access Catalog.
The JFK database contains documents relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was developed in response to a mandate from Congress following the controversy over the Oliver Stone movie JFK, which raised new questions about a possible conspiracy and led to many inquiries from the general public.
Material was collected by NARA from many different government sources reflecting a wide variety of data formats and standards. Part of the challenge for NARA and for STAR was to convert all of the diverse data into a single online database. Another challenge was to provide a single interface that was suitable for access by both the NARA researchers and the general public, two user groups with very different information needs, knowledge, and exposure to Web technology.
Some documents relating to the assassination are still under review by certain agencies or have been postponed from disclosure. Updates to NARA's database are made as agencies complete their reviews and transfer newly opened records to NARA.
The Library Online Public Access Catalog contains nearly 75,000 bibliographic records, with more records being added on a weekly basis. The collection's strengths include archival administration, administrative history, American history and government, biography, information management, and government documents. The catalog covers various formats, including books, microforms, computer disks, and audiovisual materials. These materials are available to all NARA staff members and to onsite researchers. The catalog also includes citations to NARA's microfilm holdings. These citations include the title, contents, and NARA viewing location(s).