Here is some information about the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to keep in mind when doing archival research:
- The National Archives is organized differently than a library and does not function like one.
- Records in NARA belong to the Federal Government.
- Records in NARA are arranged by record groups.
- Each record group comprises the records of a major Federal Government entity.
- The records of one entity are kept distinct from those of another.
- Records are kept in the same order in which they were created.
- The earliest records held by NARA date from the First Continental Congress, (c. 1774)
- Records are housed in facilities all across the country, with the majority in the Washington, DC, area.
- There are billions of records in paper, picture, map, film and electronic form.
- One cubic foot of records is equal to about 2,500 pages.
- Finding aids are research tools created to provide information about records and their location.
We have student activities designed to help you navigate the National Archives and Records Administration Web site resources.
Getting Started with Research How to start researching records at the National Archives. Finding your topic, identifying records, planning a visit, and more.