I'm just going to address the search part of the message sent by Frances:

She actually answered her own question.

Think of the items in American Memory like items in a library.  The library
has a web page, but to get access to the stuff on its shelves, you need to
search the catalog.  In most libraries' catalogs you search, find the item,
  get a call number, and then walk to the stacks and get the book, or tape,
or whatever.  In American Memory's "catalog" (which is a database not
unlike a special library's online catalog) you get a link to the item
online which leads you to the item.

This database approach also explains the problem with those pesky temporary
URLs for item records (bibliographic records with links to items).  You
know the ones-- it works today, but not tomorrow and have the "temp" in
them somewhere.

American Memory collections and many of the other static pages including
Learning Page and Today in History pages do often turn up in Internet
search engines.  I've also seen pages from collections' indexes turn up.
Nice thing about these--when you click a section they take you right to
items with URLs that do work later. (CGI search scripts for those who need
to know how this works.)  The indexes tend to turn up on the search sites
who just use machines for indexing.  The more selective sites tend to stick
to the collection home pages, special presentations, Learning Page
sections, and maybe Today in History pages.

By the way, the offer still stands about helping you with URLs for specific
items, when you or your students get stuck.  Send your requests to me by
way of the Reference Librarian's mailbox <mailto:[log in to unmask]>.  Include
the collection's title and the item's caption and any other information
needed to clearly identify the item.  I'll respond with a URL.


Frances wrote
>Here's a naive question.  Why is it that standard search engines
>don't pick up individual American Memory items?  I'm just
>curious.  Is there some sort of firewall?  Or are individual
>items inaccessible to outside software in the same way online
>catalog records are inaccessible outside the the software they
>live in?  I can see all the potential drawbacks -- the hit
>and miss rate would be so random and unpredictable.
>On the other hand, it would be nice if there were a way for
>American Memory records to be retrieved by folks who don't
>happen to know of the collections' existence, but need them.
>Does this make sense?

   Elizabeth L. Brown, Reference Librarian, etc.
   National Digital Library Program, LIBN/NDL/VC(1330)
   Library of Congress, Washington, DC  20540-1330
   [log in to unmask]                telephone: 202/707-2235

   Library of Congress American Memory Home Page: