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Top 5 questions from our visitors

Here at the Digital Archives we have many dedicated viewers who often share their compliments, suggestions and questions for our website. Occasionally we like to share these questions and answers with our broader audience so that our other visitors can benefit from this knowledge. This month’s questions are:

  • What kinds of records do you have on your site?
  • I have records that may be of interest to the Archives. What should I do?
  • Why are some Social Security numbers displayed?
  • What are the copyright restrictions on using images on the Digital Archives website?
  • Why does Internet Explorer crash when I try to view images?
  • What kinds of records do you have on your site?

    The Digital Archives preserves and provides access to the electronic archival records of Washington’s state and local government agencies. Many of these records are digitized images of historical records from Washington State Archives’ paper collections that hold great interest for genealogists, including marriage, birth, death, census and military records. Other records document the actions of our government, including minutes, ordinances and resolutions. We also feature audio recordings of committee meetings from our House of Representatives. The Washington State Legislature digitized many hours of audio cassettes that were recorded from 1973-2002. Thanks to them, we have many recordings that can be searched and listened to online. See the House of Representatives Committee Meeting Recordings. On the other side of the spectrum we have born-digital records. These records originate as digital files and we work with various agencies to adapt our system to be compatible with our partners’ various digital recording systems. Please see our Collections page for a complete listing of records and indexes on our website.

  • I have records that may be of interest to the Archives. What should I do?

    The Washington State Archives preserves and provides access to historically significant records, especially those created and collected by state and local government agencies. We also partner with the Historical Records Project, a special program with the Office of Secretary of State that coordinates genealogy transcription projects from a variety of sources that are conducted by individual volunteers and genealogical society members throughout the state. Occasionally we accept donations of material from private citizens or organizations. Collections and items are reviewed for acceptance by our archivists on a case by case basis. If you have material that may be of interest to the Archives, please use the information on our website to contact us by phone or e-mail.

  • Why are some Social Security numbers displayed?

    Social Security numbers are only displayed for deceased individuals via the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). The Social Security Administration publicly releases the Social Security numbers of deceased individuals to prevent identity theft. This allows banks and other businesses to deny the use of these inactive numbers and prevents a living person from assuming the identity of a deceased person.

  • What are the copyright restrictions on using photographs from the Digital Archives website?

    Unless specifically stated, images from our photo collections are copyright-free, as are the rest of our images and audio. We only ask that the Washington State Archives, Digital Archives be included in the citation as the source for these images.

  • Why does Internet Explorer crash when I try to view images?

    We visited this issue in our last Top 5 Questions, but because it is one of the most commonly asked questions, it is worth revisiting. We have noticed that in many cases this occurs due to changes in the settings of Internet Explorer. To resolve this issue, please reset Internet Explorer 8 settings by following these steps:

    1. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.
    2. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Reset.
    3. Select the Delete personal settings check box if you would like to remove browsing history, search providers, Accelerators, home pages, and InPrivate Filtering data. This step is optional and is to your discretion.
    4. In the Reset Internet Explorer Settings dialog box, click Reset.
    5. When Internet Explorer finishes applying default settings, click Close, and then click OK.
    6. Close Internet Explorer. Your changes will take effect the next time you open Internet Explorer.

    If this does not resolve the issue please see our guide on re-installing the DJVU image plug-in, or feel free to contact us at digitalarchives@sos.wa.gov.