U.S. National Archives asks whether politicians’ tweets and blogs are ‘official government records’

Much of the Internet buzz surrounding today’s midterm elections in the U.S. revolves around voter participation and how social media may or may not impact turnout, reports ReadWriteWeb. But the increasing use of Web 2.0 and social media tools also impacts politicians and government employees as well. Many federal agencies have worked to encourage public participation and transparency with these new communication tools. But for one of the federal agency in particular, the rise of new forms of communications has other implications: Are all these new Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and tweets federal records?

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New online tool helps teachers use primary-source documents

DocsTeach gives teachers access to primary sources and history activities.
DocsTeach gives teachers access to primary sources and history activities.

The National Archives has created a new web site to help educators teach with primary-source documents. The site, called DocsTeach, not only lets teachers explore thousands of documents in a variety of media from the National Archives holdings, but it also includes online tools to help teachers combine these materials and create engaging history activities that students can access over the internet.

“DocsTeach.org is a significant and welcome addition to our popular education programs,” said United States Archivist David S. Ferriero. “It will engage teachers and students in new ways and stir their interest in history through the use of original documents in the National Archives. It is also consistent with our goals to make as much of our holdings available to the public as easily as possible.”

DocsTeach combines access to more than 3,000 primary-source materials from the National Archives—items such as George Washington’s draft of the Constitution, the cancelled check for Alaska, Chuck Yeager’s notes on the first supersonic flight, and President Richard Nixon’s resignation letter—with the interactive capabilities of the internet in ways that teachers who have pilot-tested the site say have great potential for the classroom.…Read More