Tentative numbers for NF18

[First posted on February 15, 2018, at rgr-cyt.org.]

I have finished looking at the 3082 records which are listed in NARA 2018, but not in NARA 2017, as discussed by John Greenewald (see earlier post). Unfortunately, I have not been able to access NARA’s JFK Records Collection catalog for over 5 days now. For whatever reason, I have usually found access to the NARA catalog on again off again, but this is really too much; for almost a week my session is killed or the search results are 0 for every query, using different networks, computers, and browsers. Just frustrating as all hell.

As a result, I have relied for this count primarily on the copy of the JFK Collection catalog at Mary Ferrell. Mary Ferrell is always reliable, and my subscription was a truly worthwhile investment. Unfortunately, the MF copy of the catalog is stale; it was done over two and a half years ago by Ramon Herrera, according to the MF FAQ. This means my result will almost certainly change, but at least I can shrink the amount of queries I have to make to the unreliable NARA system to a minimum.

I have found 298 records which are listed as ‘redact’ on NARA 2018 but as ‘Postponed in full’ on the MF copy of the Collection catalog. 136 are HSCA records, and one group, 180-10068, accounts for 66 of these. Looking at the description, these 66 are all payroll records for the HSCA staff. Similar records for the ARRB were also withheld for privacy reasons as I noted in a previous post, so perhaps these really are withheld. In any case, I would like to be able to check on the current NARA catalog.

There are other anomalies as well; 9 records are listed as ‘OPEN’ on the MF copy of the catalog; I thought this meant no deletions; if so, this also contradicts NARA 2018, which is supposed to be a list of records with deletions.

On the other side of the coin, 3 of the records which NARA 2018 lists as ‘Withheld’ are actually present on NARA 2017, and were indeed released last year.

My conclusion on this whole thing is that NARA 2018 is not the final answer to whats up and what’s not.

Postscript (3/25/2018):
I have a later post up that gives different numbers. This is in part because the new post looks at NARA 2018 after removing duplicate records

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