This is a new tool to aid researchers delving into the large body of JFK assassination-related documents known as the “JFK Collection”, a substantial portion of which is viewable on this website.
The JFK Database Explorer, utilizing a copy of the National Archives’ database of metadata known as “RIF sheets”, allows for browsing, searching, and filtering of the entire set of records processed under the JFK Records Act.
The National Archives has an online search tool for the official JFK Database. This database contains metadata – title, subjects, agency, date, and more – on more than 300,000 documents processed under the 1992 JFK Records Act. Each document has a unique 13-digit record number in the database.
Not all JFK records are in this system – for example, Warren Commission records pre-dated it, and the staff files of the Assassination Records Review Board are similarly outside the scope of the JFK Database. It appears that the database covers roughly 2 million pages of the estimated 5 million pages of documents in the JFK Collection.
Despite that limitation, the document metadata in the JFK Database has been the primary finding aid for JFK documents at the National Archives.
At the Mary Ferrell Foundation, a good many of the JFK Collection documents have been scanned and made available online for direct viewing. And the MFF has long had a RIF Search page for searching the metadata of those records which are part of the MFF collection subset.
Now you can browse and search the metadata for the full collection at the MFF, using the new JFK Database Explorer.
What is the JFK Database Explorer?
This tool offers many features unavailable at the National Archives website, including the ability to easily peruse the database by any of its fields, “drill down” into subcollections by several methods, and filter the results to hone in on records of interest.
And for documents which are available for viewing on the MFF website, a handy “View Document” button appears along with the metadata.
Many other features are provided, including the ability to work with just those documents scheduled for release in 2017, constrain searches to a given date range, and easily browse by each of the metadata fields, seeing all possible values for that field and how many documents match it.
The JFK Database Explorer has a permanent home on the Projects page and the Projects section of the home page, and is also available from the Resources pull-down menu from any page.
See the FAQ page for the JFK Database Explorer for the full details: what this tool is, how the database copy it uses was derived, and how to use the powerful new browse and search features now made available.
* Research tools such as the JFK Database Explorer and all the content found at the Mary Ferrell Foundation website is made possible by the financial support of annual memberships. You can help by becoming a member of the Mary Ferrell Foundation today. Join us.