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Ordering Information for Electronic Records in College Park, Maryland

Copies of electronic files from our holdings can be ordered through the Electronic Records reference staff. Please note that in addition to payment in advance, there are a number of technical specifications that must be submitted to the staff, in writing, before an order can be processed. In general, it is preferable to contact the reference staff to discuss an order before sending any specific order requests.

Technical Specifications for Copies of Electronic Files

The National Archives can copy the data files in its collection using a variety of technical specifications. The media and options/defaults are:

  Density Encoding Labels/ Filenames Blocksize Formats & Capacity Size**
3480-class magnetic tape cartridge 37,871 bpi EBCDIC or ASCII EBCDIC/OS labels or ASCII/ANSI labels or unlabelled maximum output blocksize = 32K
(user specified maximum)
CD-R n/a ASCII* DOS filenames n/a record delimited or undelimited records; 600 MB
DVD n/a ASCII* DOS filenames n/a record delimited or undelimited records; 4.7 GB

* The unit will create an exact copy of the data as it is preserved if the data cannot be automatically converted to ASCII or otherwise requested by the researcher. For ASCII files preserved in field-delimited formats, the unit also creates exact copies.
** Data files with fixed-length records can be copied to CD-R or DVD with either record-delimited records (i.e., with a carriage return and line feed at the end of each logical record) or as undelimited records (i.e. no carriage returns or line feeds at the end of each logical record). Data files with variable-length records and other types of digital files are copied exactly as preserved. For output to CD-R or DVD, the size of the electronic data files must be less than the capacity size of the selected media.

Fees for Copies of Electronic Files
(as of October 1, 2012)

Fees for reproduction services are set solely to recover costs involved in preparing and processing records for distribution.

Copy of Electronic Records File, 10 files or less $17.00 per file
Copy of Electronic Records File, 11 files or more $14.00 per file

Copies of Documentation for Electronic Data Files

The cost of data does not include the cost of documentation. Paper documentation is photocopied on a cost-recovery basis. Photocopying is $0.80/page. There is a $20.00 minimum charge for mail orders of less than 20 pages. A researcher visiting the Electronic Records Research Room in College Park, MD, may do self-service photocopying for $0.25/page. If documentation is in the form of an electronic file, the above per file fee applies. If the documentation is on microfiche, copies are $12.00/fiche. The current policy for reproductions of microfiche is to copy the fiche by scanning (digitizing) the contents of the fiche and copying it onto CD. Please contact staff for more information.

Copies of some documentation packages have been scanned and are available for perusing or downloading without charge. They relate to some of the series available through the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) resource. For further information please click on AAD.

Limitations and Exceptions

The unit retains some data files (as transferred and preserved) in EBCDIC packed decimal, zone-decimal, binary, or NIPS formats or encoding. Where this is the only version of a file in NARA's custody, the unit provides exact copies of the files.

NARA is beginning to make some accessioned electronic records files and documentation available for download via the National Archives Catalog at no charge. For more details, please see the Accessing Electronic Records via the National Archives Catalog page or contact staff.

Extracts from data files are not offered, nor are printouts (or dumps) of full data files; however, see below.

  • The unit will produce a "public use" electronic extract data file when technically and practically feasible, from a data file having some non-releasable records and/or non-releasable data elements.

  • Selections of records from some accessioned electronic records files may be downloaded, as a ".csv" file, from the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) resource. There is no charge for using AAD.

Ordering Instructions

All orders must be in writing and identify the technical specifications of the output; see above.

Individuals must prepay in U.S. Dollars. Make checks or money orders payable to the National Archives Trust Fund. U.S. Treasury regulations require a minimum of $15 for payments drawn on non-U.S. banks. Credit card payment is also possible. Federal, State, and Local Government agencies, and domestic colleges, universities, and libraries, may submit purchase orders. Organizations or individuals can also establish deposit accounts.

Please see our Privacy Statement

To place an order, contact:
Reference Services
Electronic Records
Room 5320
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
(301) 837-0470

Revised July 12, 2013

Electronic Records Main Page

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272