I do archival research in
the Washington, DC area,
finding and digitizing responsive records and can often deliver them to clients within 24 hours.
I seek records mainly for academics, authors and sometimes the news media. I also do investigative biography or genealogy.
My archival research ranges from the simple copying of known records in any media to searches for both specific and general subjects. One of my longer-term projects lasting several months researched just about every aspect of the color “Olive Drab” for an American specialist. The search took me to three archival repositories – the National Archives in downtown Washington, DC and College Park, Maryland as well as the USDA National Agricultural Library.
On reproducing and my final product:
Being a professional photographer helps in getting some of the best images that one can get from records. Digitized color reproduction (scanning or photography) is always better than black and white photocopies because black and white photocopying often doesn't register all of the colors that may be used in handwritten annotations or stamps, for instance. Additionally, the color of the paper of the responsive records may have some important significance.
I use various cameras producing high-resolution images with moderate file size tailored to the client's needs. I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for post-processing. From there I usually output PDF files using Acrobat Pro or ABBYY software.
Some jobs are better scanned with a flatbed scanner than photographed. I use the Plustek A360 - the fastest scanner commercially available (it is no longer made). More details on “outputs” can be found here.
FOIA - MDR
Finally, I should add a word on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) as an adjunct to research. I have been using FOIA regularly since 1996 (and later MDR) as an adjunct to research. These are essential tools, which require more space to describe than I have on this page.
Jeremy Bigwood firstname.lastname@example.org