Sunday, February 6, 2011

If there is a RIF number available for a document please use it

Compare and contrast this PBS Frontline webpage - Oswald, the CIA, and Mexico City on information from John Newman versus the one I made with help from Debra Conway based on a presentation John Newman gave at a JFK Lancer conference - Mexico City, a New Analysis.

I give you the RIF number so you can find the document at Archives II.  PBS doesn't do that.  In most cases I give you the complete document, not just the page with the relevant information.  The exception being the depositions.

I do like the trend to write articles on the web with links to the recently released documents.  I applaud that. But, I think it is fair to say that the preponderance of recently released documents were released thanks to the ARRB.  The ARRB, Archives II, and the intelligence agencies who had the records went to the trouble of creating a reader identification form (RIF) system to make it easier to find specific documents. So, please, please use the RIF number.  Give us the RIF number.  So, for example the footnotes on the Frontline webpage should state the RIF number, not just Document Image (return)

Not giving the RIF number in essence restores the secrecy which kept the document from the public, because without a RIF number you won't find it.  Also, most documents are not filed by their RIF #, but by the Agency File Number, as is the case with FBI records.  But, if you have the RIF# you can use the
JFK database to find the Agency File Number.  By the way, hit the button "submit search," instead of the Return key on your keyboard, that's how it's set up to work.  Thank you. 

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