By Alfie Paul
A couple of weeks ago I overheard a converstation between some colleagues discussing OPA. “Try finding it in OPA,” one said. They went on to discuss OPA functionality and benefits and use. I assumed OPA was one of those things above my pay-grade about which I did not need to know. As it turns out, OPA isn’t a secret.
As a sometime researcher who has been frustrated trying to find out just exactly what we have in our stacks, I’ve been playing with our new research tool—OPA—and been quite happy with the results. Online Public Access (Prototype) is available now to researchers and staff. It is a streamlined system integrating ARC, AAD, and archives.gov content. Although the current release does not contain all ARC functionality or AAD records, I found that the new search experience is well worth any researcher’s time and thought I’d share it here. If I didn’t know about it perhaps our readers didn’t either.
I decided my approach would be to use our “Today in History” page to test OPA and see how it worked. Last week saw the anniversaries of President Ford signing the final HEW regulations for implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which banned discrimination on the basis of sex in any education programs or activities that received Federal financial assistance; the war with Japan officially ending as a treaty that had been signed by the United States and 47 other countries took effect; and musician Duke Ellington was born in Washington, DC.
I searched first for “title ix,” then for “treaty with Japan,” and lastly for “Duke Ellington.” I’m impressed. The results were plentiful, nicely categorized, and easily refined. I quickly worked my way to the holdings we have here in textual records. I’ll share some of what I found below—because I’m a history geek—but I encourage researchers and staff to experience OPA for themselves and be sure to let the team know what you think!
Here are some of my results:
ARC ID 2194826 Records Relating to the Japanese Peace and Security Treaties, 1946-1952 in RG 59
ARC ID 2092774 Miscellaneous Records Relating to Japan and Korea, 1945-1953 in RG 59
ARC ID 1746847 Japan Subject Files, 1950-61 in RG 469
ARC ID 5606195 Duke Ellington at the White House (file unit from Records Relating to the Distribution of Motion Pictures for African Posts, ARC ID 5370732—this entry is possibly restricted and requires screening)
ARC ID 1127092 Program Management and Correspondence Files from RG 453 contains correspondence of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) pertaining to “Final Title IX Regulation Implementing Education Amendments of 1972: Prohibiting Sex Discrimination in Education.”
ARC ID 1137926 Central Files from RG 381 contains a position paper on Title IX.
[Update March 2020: ARC and OPA have been superseded and incorporated into the National Archives Catalog (NAC). The ID numbers however have not changed. Searching for an ARC ID number in the NAC will return the same results as if in ARC or OPA. The links in this post have been updated to take you to the same entries in the NAC.]