The National Archives Catalog

Online Resource

Mandatory Repeatable Data Type Authority Level Available A/V Only Public Element
No Yes Variable Character Length (400) Online Resource Description List Series
File Unit
No Yes



A digital resource, such as a web page or PDF file, that resides outside of the ARC database and enhances understanding of and access to archival materials described in ARC. Online Resource contains information about the archival materials or their use that is not part of a standard ARC description. Online Resource may be created by NARA or by external sources, and may be mounted on NARA or external web sites.


Purpose: Online Resource provides links to resources that have a direct and specific connection to the archival materials being described in ARC.


Relationship: This element and Online Resource URL are dependent on each other. For each online resource, Online Resource and Online Resource URL must both be included.



Choose the appropriate Online Resource from the Online Resource Description List.


Online Resource should have a very specific connection to the use of the archival materials being described. Examples include an agency filing manual, electronic records documentation packages, and online systems used to order copies of the materials.


Online Resource should not be of simply a general nature. For example, a description of a series of State Department records should not have a link to the State Department web site for general information. It would be acceptable to link to a place within that web site relating directly to the records in question. Similarly, a description of a series of Mathew Brady photographs should not contain links to web sites that broadly describe his work and career. A link to a site that provides specific historical context for the Brady photographs would be acceptable.


Online Resource should not be used to link to finding aids that can be converted into archival descriptions in ARC. Folder lists, item lists, inventories, manuscript registers, and other finding aids should be converted to the appropriate ARC descriptions (for example, inventories are converted to record group and series descriptions). Administrative histories and biographical notes should be added to the ARC Organization and Person Authority Files.




Access to Archival Databases (AAD) system


Reference Information Paper


Order Online!


Filing Manual




Partner web site




Electronic Records Documentation Package

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