The core mission of the National Archives has always been to make the holdings of the U.S. government available to the public. As the number of views on our website and social media platforms continue to grow each year, we are reminded of the importance of providing access to those holdings in a variety of ways to ensure that all citizens have the information they need to learn from the past, ensure their rights as citizens, and to participate in the civic process.
This post is the first in a series for American Archives Month exploring the impact the National Archives is making through our increased efforts to foster engagement with our nation’s history.
According to Google Analytics, in Fiscal Year 2015, our websites reached more than 24 million people who collectively viewed more than 80 million pages on archives.gov. (That’s up from 19 million people and 69 million pages in FY14, a 26% increase and 16% increase, respectively.) More than one third (33.6%) of website sessions are from a mobile or tablet device. This is a growing trend (a nearly 18% increase over the previous year) and we’re currently working to improve the user experience of our websites for smartphone and tablet users.
While the number of people visiting our websites is impressive, Archives.gov is just one of the many platforms we use to make access happen online. Across the country, more than 200 National Archives staff are actively contributing to our 130 social media accounts (including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and others). In FY15, almost 250 million people viewed content posted to those social media platforms, which is up significantly over the previous fiscal year (141 million).
As an example of the power of social media outreach, we recently uploaded nearly 3,500 September 11-related photos from the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney to our Flickr account in response to a FOIA request. Photos like this one of Vice President Cheney with Senior Staff in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) were picked up by national news sources and quickly became some of our most highly viewed records on Flickr (this image alone received more than 516,000 views). With new social media platforms and apps launching all the time, our staff are constantly on the lookout to ensure we are leveraging their power to share our records where the people are.
Stay tuned throughout October for more posts in this series exploring our efforts to make access happen and connect with our customers. Coming soon: connecting with customers to meet researcher needs and our digitization efforts.