Federal Reserve History Update and Revision Policy
In 2019, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in testimony to Congress that
We are committed to providing clear explanations about our policies and activities. Congress has given us an important degree of independence so that we can effectively pursue our statutory goals based on objective analysis and data. We appreciate that our independence brings with it an obligation for transparency so that you and the public can hold us accountable.
Making the history of the Federal Reserve accessible to the public is an important part of how the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis contributes to the Federal Reserve System's commitment to this transparency.
But the way we tell our histories changes and evolves over time as we understand more about what can be learned from the past. FederalReserveHistory.org will also change and evolve over time. Unlike a collaborative site like Wikipedia, our site is not built to show all of the changes made on any given page. This update policy is intended to explain the kinds of changes we make and why we make them and to give users resources to access older versions of our site’s pages.
As part of our ongoing commitment to providing high quality and reputable information, we will review, edit, and correct pages. Some pages may contain typos or other small errors. Other pages, particularly those created in 2012-2013 for the site's original launch, may have content that is out of date or is no longer in line with experts' understanding of economic history.
Big changes usually will be announced on the Federal Reserve History homepage: posting new pages; revising an essay, time period, or biography; and other updates that provide new information.
Small changes usually won't be announced on the Federal Reserve History homepage: correcting typos; fixing small factual errors (such as dates or locations); adding or correcting links; updating photos; and other edits that don't change the point or argument of the content on a page.
Changes by Page Type
Essays (Topics and Time Periods)
The various essays on the site may need reorganizing or revising to make them clearer and more readable for our audience. In other cases, new information may need to be added in order to bring an essay up to date. Whenever an essay has a significant revision, the dateline at the end of the essay will add a note about the revision, like this one on the Banking Act of 1932:
Written as of November 22, 2013 as part of the essay "Banking Acts of 1932" and revised by David C. Wheelock as of January 2022.
In this case, the original page is still accessible and now links to the two new essays that were created as part of the revision of the original essay. The text of the original essay has been removed to avoid conflicting information that might confuse our users.
People Pages (Biographies)
Starting in 2022, we will slowly be rolling out significant edits to the People pages on the site. These updates will add reference citations and a bibliography; expand coverage of each person's work during their time at the Fed; and reduce information about each person's personal life and career after leaving the Fed. Wherever possible, the pages will link to other reputable general biographies of each individual. These changes are intended to narrow the focus of our biographical content to how each person contributed to the history of the Federal Reserve.
Pages about the site or that provide links to other resources will be updated periodically as part of the normal maintenance of the site. If there are new information pages, like this one, we will generally announce them on the homepage.
Finding Changed Content
Update announcements will appear on our "What's New" archive page even if they no longer appear on the homepage.
Most update announcements will refer only to one or two pages, but others may refer to a group of pages, particularly if similar pages are being updated in the same way. For example:
Biographies of some early Fed officials have been updated with research sources and clearer titles. (2021-09-13)
Updated pages will always have a new dateline that shows who updated the page and when:
Written by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in 2013 and updated August 19, 2021, by Genevieve Podleski.
Users may want to know exactly what was changed on a given page. The Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine," an independent external service, has created archived copies of our site since FederalReserveHistory.org launched in 2013. Their index of snapshots of our site can be a useful tool for users who want to see changes over time. Our colleagues at FRASER wrote a blog post in 2019 explaining what the Wayback Machine is and how it can be useful to librarians, teachers, and history students of any age.
Users are also always welcome to contact us to ask questions about any specific page, or about the history of the Federal Reserve in general.