Since the late 1990s, online searches in historical sources have become very popular both in Norway and abroad, first and foremost among genealogists.
 
So far, older archival content in digital transcription formats has been dominant in this area, but in the coming years, it is likely that also scanned material and digitally created content (electronic archives) will be made accessible in great quantities on the internet.

Through their collaboration project and website, The Digital Archives, which was launched on January 21 of 1998, the National Archives of Norway and the Historical Institute of the University of Bergen count among the pioneers of online publication of archival content, also in an international context.

The Digital Archives offer users free searches for historical individuals based on name, place of residence, year of birth, profession, etc. in a number of different source types. Some sources also permit searches for properties/residential buildings on the basis of name, title number, municipality, etc. In terms of volume and frequency of use, the scanned parish registers and the transcribed Census Returns make up the main component of the Digital Archives. The complete returns for the entire country have been posted online for 1801, 1865, and 1900. The digitised Norwegian Records of Emigrants from 1867-1930 kept at the police headquarters in the major coastal towns are also popular sources for genealogists.

Through its Digital Inn section, the Digital Archives allow individuals, groups and institutions to make transcribed source material of various types searchable on the internet by means of the Digital Archives' search system. The Digital Archives do not have the available resources to perform quality assurance of the content of the Digital Inn, so responsibility for the completeness and accuracy thereof resides with its individual creators.