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The Web makes history

The National Archives and Records Administration is making more of its vast database available on the Web.

The National Archives and Records Administration said today that it is making more of its vast collection of materials available on the Web, another example of how the Internet puts historic documents simple mouse clicks away.

Until recently, people have had to visit the agency in Washington or make a written request to tap into the archives. A Los Angeles company called Cuadra Associates said today that it is providing information management and retrieval software being used by the agency's expansion on the Web.

In its latest addition, the agency is releasing a database of documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It also is putting another database online, with photo and sound clips collected during the past 60 years, called the National Archives Audio-Visual Information Locator, or NAIL, for short.

This new database, which came online in late July, includes a sound bite of an interview with the last surviving Confederate veteran in 1957, as well as the original homestead papers for Laura Ingalls Wilder's family from the 1800s. (Ingalls Wilder wrote Little House on the Prairie.)

By year's end, the National Archives' in-house library of books and journals will be online, the federal agency said today. It will put more material on the Web depending on the public's input, according to Debra Wall, an archives specialist at the agency.