An Online Index to Air Force Historical Records

05.22.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

A new searchable index of hundreds of thousands of documents held by the Air Force Historical Research Agency has been created by private researchers and posted online.

The index does not provide access to the underlying documents, which must be requested from AFHRA. Nevertheless, it has several interesting features.

For one thing, it represents a step forward in improving accessibility to declassified government records. The new Air Force index provides a simple illustration of what can be done to alert the interested public to the existence of particular records and suggests how much more still needs to be done, including providing online access to the records themselves.

Second, the new index represents an unusual, implicit public-private partnership. Researchers gained access to the Air Force bibliographical data and installed a search engine on top, then posted it online in the public interest. The researchers said they preferred to remain anonymous.