January 18, 2022

A Major U.S. History Resource Launches: “Founders Online”

Founders Online is a new resource from NARA, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), and The University of Virginia Press that launched (beta) today. Access to and use of Founders Online is free.

What is it?

[Documents from] George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison.

Over 119,000 searchable documents, fully annotated, from the authoritative, federally funded Founding Fathers Papers projects.

When complete, the database will contain approximately 175,000 documents.

Search or Browse by:
+ Author
+ Recipient
+ Time Period

Search Help
Note: Founders Online offers case sensitive and proximity searching.

Some Technical Details From the FAQ:

The massive work of locating, transcribing, and annotating all of the documents has been done by the editorial staffs of the six Founding Fathers projects at the University of Virginia, University of Chicago, Princeton University, Columbia University, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the American Philosophical Society, and Yale University. You can read the About page for an overview of their work and links to information on each project. For the past fifty years the National Archives, through its National Historical Publications and Records Commission, has supported these projects.Who did the work that went into this site?

The University of Virginia Press directed the digitization of the printed volumes (for the Adams Papers, in collaboration with theMassachusetts Historical Society). The text of each volume was rekeyed or, for the most recent volumes, extracted from digital files, and then marked up in XML (using the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative ). (The documents from Thomas Jefferson’s retirement period are a special case: they were created from the start as XML by the staff of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series.) The rich XML markup permits linking of notes and cross-references, mouseover expansion of abbreviations, and querying on features such as names and dates. The core programming that runs the search and display interface of Founders Online was also done by UVA Press technical staff.

The Ivy Group of Charlottesville, Virginia, was responsible for the preliminary user surveying, site navigation and graphic design, web styling, layout, and most of the JavaScript underlying Founders Online.

Founders Online uses the MarkLogic database and application server to index, search, and deliver content stored natively as XML.

Direct to Founders Online

See Also: Volumes Included in the Database and Links to the Documents They Contains

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.