Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bringing the Museum Into Your Home: The NLEM’s Online Catalog

The National Law Enforcement Museum is one of only a few museums that has decided to catalog ALL of its collections—from books, manuscripts, and photographs to oral histories and three-dimensional artifacts—in one database, thus allowing access to all kinds of information about similar materials held by the Museum. In addition, because of rapid changes in technology, the Museum’s catalog will provide access to images, electronic files, video, and other kinds of materials usually only seen in-house. By joining forces with other international online catalogs, the NLEM truly will be a national museum by reaching a broad audience of individuals interested in law enforcement history who might not otherwise know that the NLEM exists.

The Museum’s catalog is now live. We have over 700 books and over 145 oral histories from former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation now available, and we have an ambitious plan to have complete information—from the history of an object, a photograph of it, and other information that we may have—about the majority of our collection (books, oral histories, photographs, uniforms, badges, etc.) online by the end of 2011.

Wynne James wanted poster, c.1940. 2008.40.20.What kinds of “stuff” does a Museum have? Could we help you identify something that you’ve had in the family for years? The Museum’s catalog might be able to help you answer those questions. It is keyword searchable, so you can type in the words you think might be related to an item. If you want to see what we have related to wanted posters, type those words in and you will see a list of books on wanted posters, as well as historical wanted posters from John Dillinger to Patty Hearst. If you are interested in the Barbara Mackle kidnapping, type in those words—you'll get “hits” on oral histories and a book about the kidnapping. We also have prepared some “canned” searches specifically for the FBI oral histories. We intend to add similar searches for other important topics as well, as we add more of our artifact information to the catalog.

Take a look—the direct link is

We would love to hear what you think.

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