35+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

"Choice" Magazine Names "Digital National Security Archive" an Outstanding Academic Title for 2018

2018 Choice award seal
Published: Jan 7, 2019

Edited by Malcolm Byrne

For more information, contact:
202-994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

Washington, D.C., January 7, 2019 – Choice Magazine, the publishing arm of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), has named the Digital National Security Archive an “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2018.  The annual award goes to publications deemed especially worthy of attention from academic librarians seeking to build research collections.

The Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) is the Archive’s flagship publication series featuring declassified documents obtained through in-depth archival research and targeted requests under the Freedom of Information Act. It was launched in 1989 and includes 54 collections as of the end of 2018.  It is published by the academic publisher ProQuest.

Curated by foreign policy specialists with guidance from former officials and top academic experts, the materials are indexed by librarians using extensive item-level metadata and an in-house database of over 100,000 controlled authority terms. 

Documentation consists of White House records, international summit meeting transcripts, top-level briefing papers, CIA assessments and covert action reports, military planning documents, State Department telegrams, and other high-level, previously classified materials resulting in what the Washington Journalism Review has called “a state-of-the-art index to history.”

Researchers can easily browse or search and identify specific records via multiple points of access (title, date, origin, destination, keyword, etc.), and go straight to facsimiles of the individual records.  Transcriptions of difficult-to-read items are provided, as are separate versions of materials that have been excised differently by government authorities at various times.

Topics range from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the war on terrorism, Afghanistan to Iraq, Argentina to the Philippines, and presidential directives to military uses of space. (A full listing of titles appears below.)

Over the years, DNSA has received praise from a variety of academic and library sources. Some examples:

"I am especially grateful for the work of the National Security Archive ... The Archive is a national treasure. Its digital collections proved invaluable to my research.” (Eric Schlosserauthor)

“Extraordinary primary documents ... can be found in the Digital National Security Archive.” (Michael Krepon, Arms Control Wonk)

“Specialists in U.S. national security policy, both scholars and journalists, will find the research collections of the Digital National Security Archive quite valuable.” (Chester J. Pach, Journal of American History)

“A magnificent achievement .... It is inconceivable that any serious student of the crisis, the nuclear age, the Kennedy Administration, or U.S.-Soviet relations in the post-war era would begin a study without the benefit of the Archive’s work in the Cuban missile crisis." (James G. Blight, (formerly) Harvard University)

“These documents provide unprecedented insight into the making of American foreign policy that only the Pentagon Papers have done before. They are a must for every journalist and academic who seeks to understand the inside story of foreign policy” (Raymond Bonner, former correspondent, The New York Times)

In 2017, the book The Last Superpower Summits: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Bush: Conversations that Ended the Cold War by Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton won the same award. The volume is part of the National Security Archive Cold War Reader series published through Central European University Press.

Choice has been in publication for more than half a century. It publishes 600 reviews of books and digital content per month, identifying the best new and serves over 2,400 institutions worldwide.


DNSA publications to date:

  • Afghanistan: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1973-1990
  • Argentina, 1975-1980: The Making of U.S. Human Rights Policy
  • Berlin Crisis, 1958-1962
  • Chile and the United States: U.S. Policy toward Democracy, Dictatorship, and Human Rights, 1970–1990
  • China and the United States: From Hostility to Engagement, 1960-1998
  • U.S. Intelligence and China: Collection, Analysis, and Covert Action
  • CIA Family Jewels Indexed
  • CIA Covert Operations: From Carter to Obama
  • CIA Covert Operations: Year of Intelligence
  • CIA Covert Operations: Johnson to Kennedy
  • Colombia and the United States: Political Violence, Narcotics, and Human Rights, 1948-2010
  • Cuba and the U.S.: The Declassified History of Negotiations to Normalize Relations, 1959-2016
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited: An International Collection of Documents, From Bay of Pigs to Brink of Nuclear War
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis: 50th Anniversary Update
  • El Salvador: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1977-1984
  • El Salvador: War, Peace, and Human Rights, 1980-1994
  • U.S. Espionage and Intelligence: Organization, Operations, and Management, 1947-1996
  • Death Squads, Guerrilla War, Covert Operations, and Genocide: Guatemala and the United States, 1954-1999
  • The U.S. Intelligence Community after 9/11
  • The U.S. Intelligence Community: Organization, Operations, and Management, 1947-1989
  • Iran: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1977-1980
  • The Iran-Contra Affair: Making of a Scandal, 1983-1988
  • Targeting Iraq, Part I: Planning, Invasion, and Occupation, 1997-2004
  • Iraqgate: Saddam Hussein, U.S. Policy and the Prelude to the Persian Gulf War, 1980-1994
  • Japan and the United States: Diplomatic, Security, and Economic Relations, 1960-1976
  • Japan and the United States, Part II: Diplomatic, Security, and Economic Relations, 1977-1992
  • Japan and the United States: Diplomatic, Security, and Economic Relations, Part III 1961-2000
  • The Kissinger Transcripts: A Verbatim Record of U.S. Diplomacy, 1968-1977
  • The Kissinger Telephone Conversations: A Verbatim Record of U.S. Diplomacy, 1969-1977
  • The Kissinger Conversations, Supplement: A Verbatim Record of U.S. Diplomacy, 1969-1977
  • The Kissinger Conversations, Supplement II: A Verbatim Record of U.S. Diplomacy, 1969-1977
  • The United States and the Two Koreas (1969-200)
  • The United States and the Two Koreas, Part II, 1969-2010
  • Mexico-United States Counternarcotics Policy, 1969-2013
  • U.S. Military Uses of Space: 1945-1991
  • Nicaragua: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1978-1990
  • The National Security Agency: Organization and Operations, 1945-2009
  • Presidential Directives on National Security from Truman to Clinton
  • Presidential Directives on National Security, Part II: From Harry Truman to George W. Bush
  • U.S. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy, 1945-1991
  • U.S. Nuclear History: Nuclear Arms and Politics in Missile Age, 1955-1968
  • U.S. Nuclear History, 1969-1976: Weapons, Arms Control, and War Plans in an Age of Strategic Parity
  • Peru: Human Rights, Drugs and Democracy, 1980-2000
  • The Philippines: U.S. Policy during Marcos Years, 1965-1986
  • The President’s Daily Brief: Kennedy, Johnson, and the CIA, 1961-1969
  • South Africa: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1962-1989
  • The Soviet Estimate: U.S. Analysis of Soviet Union, 1947-1991
  • Soviet-U.S. Relations: The End of the Cold War, 1985-1991
  • Electronic Surveillance and the National Security Agency: From Shamrock to Snowden
  • Terrorism and U.S. Policy, 1968-2002
  • U.S. Policy in the Vietnam War, Part I: 1954-1968
  • U.S. Policy in the Vietnam War, Part II: 1969-1975
  • U.S. Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction: From World War II to Iraq