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Declassified Documents: Additional Resources

A guide to locating declassified documents at UCSB Library.

Exploring Declassified Documents

Declassification Engine

The Document Explorer built into History Lab's Declassification Engine provides an easy-to-use interface to search and visualize declassified documents and metadata. Use this tool to identify documents that are publicly available, or that can be accessed via DDRS.


Declassified Documents Reference Service (DDRS) UCSB only
DDRS is a collection of declassified material from presidential libraries. The libraries receive declassified documents from various government agencies: the White House, the CIA, the FBI, the State Department and others. As researchers have visited the libraries and requested documents, the libraries have copied them and sent them to DDRS for scanning, creating a collection of more that 75,000 documents. The database ranges from the years immediately following World War II, when declassified documents were first made widely available, through the 1970's. Nearly every major foreign and domestic event of these years is covered: the Cold War, Vietnam, foreign policy shifts, the civil rights movement and others. The documents range in size and scope from telegrams, correspondence and unevaluated field reports to lengthy background studies and detailed minutes of cabinet level meetings.

Because of the method by which the materials have been selected, the collection isn't considered comprehensive, and researchers should use this tool in addition to others available.

Presidential Libraries

The documents made available through the Declassified Documents Reference Service (DDRS) are filmed from the holdings of Presidential libraries. However, not all the documents held at the Libraries have been scanned for inclusion in DDRS.

The Presidential Library system is made up of twelve Presidential Libraries, which are part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). These are repositories for preserving and making available the papers, records, and other historical materials of U.S. Presidents since Herbert Hoover. While Presidents who have held office more recently often have more information available on their web sites, some of the Presidential Libraries have scanned in documents (e.g. the Eisenhower Library documents on the U-2 Spy Plane Incident).

The homepage for the Presidential Libraries provides links to each of the libraries. Each of the web pages provides finding aids and material on the Presidents. The "About the Presidential Libraries System" provides background on the scope of the collections, and how these libraries came into being.

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