Nearly 15 years after the fall of Saigon, Americans are still grappling with the implications and effects wrought by the Vietnam War. Now, amateur and professional historians can sift through the data without getting stuck in a researcher's quagmire.
The Vietnam Data Resource and Electronic Library is perhaps the most innovative approach for the dissemination of hard-to-find information. A Vietnam vet, Phill Coleman, began the database more than a year ago and now has entered about 1,000 documents. The goal is to provide students of the war with easily accessible information about its beginnings, course, and ultimate end - and also give Vietnam vets an opportunity to offer personal recollections of their experiences.
Several months ago, the database opened an East Coast branch, operated by a professor of biology at a Massachusetts college.
The database is available free of charge to any interested caller on the West and East coasts. The information to be found is simply compiled, according to Coleman, its organization or content supporting no particular political bias.
Readers should note that this article was published in 1989. Currently, some areas of the database, which has grown considerably, are accessible only to subscribers.