The Record - May 1998

NARA Online

Federal Register Introduces New Customer Service Initiatives

For the first time, the entire set of 200 volumes of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is available online. The 200 volumes encompass the 50 Titles, or general subject areas, into which the CFR is divided and include the equivalent of more than 130,000 printed pages. The CFR is the codification of the general and permanent rules published by Executive departments and agencies and is required to be judicially noticed. The project of placing CFR volumes online began in 1996 and the first CFR volume was placed online via the GPO Access system in October 1996. Steady progress in the cooperative project between the Office of the Federal Register and the Government Printing Office was made since that time.

The CFR is revised annually in blocks of approximately 50 volumes every quarter. The first revision of an online CFR volume was itself placed online in the summer of 1997. Since then, many additional revised volumes (nearly one-quarter of the CFR) have been placed online, as well. The online CFR is being accessed an average of 110,000 times each day by its users.

At the same time that CFR volumes have been placed online, the Office of the Federal Register has completed a major project with GPO to convert the formatting codes in the CFR databases to Standardized General Markup Language (SGML). As soon as GPO installs a new search and retrieval engine to GPO Access it will be possible, using the SGML codes, to provide users of the online CFR with greatly enriched research capabilities. The Federal Register has also undertaken new initiatives aimed at helping customers understand and have access to Federal Register publications.

First, the Federal Register has redesigned its homepage and has given it a new, simpler address: The homepage features a large number of new links to material within and outside of the site including links to the authoritative site on the Electoral College and to descriptions of each publication produced by the Office of the Federal Register.

The Federal Register Web site also has added the daily Federal Register Public Inspection List. The Federal Register Act requires NARA to place documents published in the Federal Register on "public inspection" the day prior to publication. A significant number of customers come to the Federal Register office each day to examine these documents on file. The Federal Register prepares a list of the documents each morning and refreshes it in the afternoon to guide the public in their search of the Public Inspection Desk. This list was the most requested fax-on-demand document provided by NARA last year and now customers can access it through the World Wide Web. The Federal Register updates this document daily, a first for NARA's Web site.

A New Digital Classroom Project: The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War

The National Archives and Records Administration has announced a new Digital Classroom project on its Web site. "The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War," presents historical documents, photographs, links to related sites, and teaching suggestions correlated to the National Standards for History and the National Standards for Civics and Government.

The issues of emancipation and military service were intertwined from the onset of the Civil War. News from Fort Sumter set off a rush by free black men to enlist in U.S. military units. Although they were initially turned away, by the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10% of the Union Army) had served as soldiers or laborers with the U.S. Army and another 19,000 served with the Navy.

"The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War" explores the steps taken by the Lincoln Administration to authorize the recruitment of African American troops and the results of their service in the war. Many of the documents included in this project come from the Compiled Military Service Records of the United States Colored Troops.

"The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War"is the latest in a series of Digital Classroom projects that the National Archives and Records Administration has produced for teachers and students on the website. Other subjects covered on NARA's education website include units on woman suffrage, the Amistad Case, the Constitution, and persuasive poster art from World War II. For a complete listing, visit


National Archives Digital Classroom Included in New Interagency Web Site

The National Archives and Records Administration is proud to announce that materials in its online Digital Classroom are accessible through a new interagency Web site, Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE). Designed for teachers, students, and parents, FREE serves as the online gateway to educational resources available from Federal agencies.

Resources include maps, photographs, historical documents, scientific experiments, tools, mathematical challenges, and lesson plans. A search option allows users to have seamless access to materials offered by more than 30 different agencies. Through a "message board," teachers, students, and parents have an opportunity to describe their favorite FREE resources. Materials from NARA's Digital Classroom were among the first to be highlighted.

Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley explained that this collaborative site "offers a glimpse of how government can use technology to serve citizens in ways barely dreamed of a decade ago."

The Digital Classroom is an extension of NARA's education program on the Internet. It features five sections: Primary Sources and Activities, Research and National History Day, Publications, Professional Development, and Limited Engagement. It provides links to other parts of the NARA Web site including the Online Exhibit Hall, the Presidential Libraries, and the NAIL database. Its URL is The site offers online lessons developed by education specialists that feature archival documents and promote the development of critical thinking skills. Accompanying the documents are historical background and a wide range of teaching activities that correlate to both the National Standards for History and Civics and Government and suggest cross-curricular connections.

FREE can be accessed at