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Sample Searches

Declassified Documents Reference System Sample Searches

Declassified Documents Reference System provides online access to more than 500,000 pages of previously classified government documents. Covering major international events from the Cold War to the Vietnam War and beyond, this single source enables users to locate key information underpinning studies in international relations, American studies, United States foreign and domestic policy studies, journalism and more.

Search 1:

A librarian from the University of Nebraska at Omaha using Declassified Documents Reference System wanted to find documents dealing with U.S. funding of the Contras' fight to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government led by Daniel Ortega.

Solution:

  1. Opened Declassified Documents Reference System, selected "Keyword Search" and entered "contras and aid" in the search box.
  2. Clicked on the "Search" button and retrieved two documents, the first one dealing with U.S. aid to the Contras in violation of U.S. law.

Search 2:

A researcher at Harvard University was using Declassified Documents Reference System in order to do some research on Donald Rumsfeld's dealings with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, but could not retrieve any documents issued in the 1980s.

Solution:

Mass declassifications of documents in the United States government fall under a 25-year rule. There are some exceptions to this rule that affect entities such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or National Security Agency (NSA), and individual documents are treated on a case-by-case basis. On March 27, 2003, National Public Radio announced that the Administration of President George W. Bush was planning to extend the 25-year rule to 28 years. This would help to explain why declassified documents involving Donald Rumsfeld go up to the late 1970s only.


Search 3:

A librarian helping a patron use the Declassified Documents Reference System wanted to find any available information on the "Project Phoenix", a joint CIA/U.S. Army/South Vietnamese Government project to eliminate Viet Cong leaders.

Solution:

  1. Opened Declassified Documents Reference System and entered "Phoenix Project" in the entry box and selected "Keyword Search".
  2. Clicked on the "Search" button and retrieved one document:

    Des Moines Register and The Progressive Magazine discuss "Project Phoenix", a U.S.-South Vietnamese project jointly operated by U.S. Army and CIA to eliminate Viet Cong leaders by capture, death, or defection. Miscellaneous. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. OFFICIAL USE. Issue Date: Feb 27, 1970. Unsanitized. Complete. 5 page(s).

Search 4:

A user of Declassified Documents Reference System wanted to view documents dealing with the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, a war fought between Israel on one side and Egypt and Syria on the other backed by Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Solution:

  1. Opened Declassified Documents Reference System and selected "Keyword Search" from the dropdown box.
  2. Entered "(USS Liberty or U.S.S. Liberty) and Israel" in the "Basic Search" entry box.
  3. Clicked on the "Search" button and retrieved more than 30 documents that fulfilled the user's request.

Search 5:

A user of Declassified Documents Reference System wanted to find any declassified documents dealing with the implications of the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan.

Solution:

  1. Opened Declassified Documents Reference System and went to the "Advanced Search" page.
  2. Entered "nuclear w1 weapon*" in "Keyword/Subject" in the first entry box.
  3. Entered "India and Pakistan" in "Keyword/Subject" in the second entry box.
  4. Clicked on the "Search" button and retrieved more than 10 relevant documents.
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