April 9-12, 2008
Montréal, Québec, Canada

Demonstrations: Description

Unlocking the Digital Vaults

Suzanne Adamko Isaacs, National Archives & Records Administration, USA

The Digital Vaults, an online interactive exhibit for the National Archives Experience, launched in February 2008. Conceived as an online extension of the museum of the National Archives, the site is accessible from the home page of the National Archives Experience at To enter the site directly, visit

With the Web 2.0 movement, the National Archives saw an opportunity to engage their online community by adopting a less formal, more usable collection structure through tagging. Tagged collections are flat, rather than hierarchical, and encourage browsing and casual record relationships. Tagging has been adopted throughout the museum community with great success, and the Digital Vaults takes tags to a new level by presenting an interactive experience driven by tag associations. The Digital Vaults uses individual record selections made by the visitor to build a matrix of records tagged with the same terms. This creates an experience where the record set is changed each time a new record is selected.

The Digital Vaults Web site is conceived as a portal into the heart of the National Archives. The site puts visual records front and center-images of documents, photographs, and popular media. The site illustrates how records can come together in unexpected ways to tell the story of our country. The site offers visitors opportunities to make their own collections, use records to create posters and movies, and take challenges that use clues to guide visitors along pathways of connected records.

Demonstration: Demonstrations - 1 [Demonstrations]

Keywords: Tags, Archives, Collection Databases,