About the National Archives

Information Quality at the National Archives

As part of our ongoing effort to provide high-quality customer service, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is committed to ensuring that our information products are useful, accurate, clear, complete, and objective.


What do I need to know about NARA's information quality?

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued Government-wide guidelines under section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub.L.106-554 to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of information disseminated by Federal agencies.

Each Federal agency is responsible for issuing its own section 515 guidelines. Subsequently, NARA has developed its own information quality guidelines.

NARA strives to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the information that we disseminate to the public.

We are committed to integrating the principle of information quality into every step of development of information, including planning, creation, collection, maintenance, and dissemination. NARA takes appropriate steps to incorporate information quality criteria into our information dissemination practices and ensures that the quality of information that we disseminate is in accordance with the standards set forth in these guidelines.

The NARA information quality guidelines will become effective on October 1, 2002. The procedures to request corrections will cover information disseminated on or after October 1, 2002, regardless of when the information was first disseminated.

NARA's Chief Information Officer is responsible for NARA's compliance with these guidelines.

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What information is NOT subject to NARA's information quality guidelines?

Information that is NOT subject to our information quality guidelines includes:

  • Archival Records. Among NARA's responsibilities is to take into NARA facilities and Presidential libraries, for public use, records that have sufficient historical or other value to warrant their continued preservation by the U.S. Government.

    The archival records entrusted to NARA's care have many different creators including Federal Government agencies, the Congress, the Courts, and Presidential administrations.

    Archival records include books, papers, maps, photographs, electronic records, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics.

    Archival records are excluded from these guidelines because NARA must ensure the authenticity of the records as they were created, regardless of the accuracy of the content of the information.

  • Records Center Holdings. NARA temporarily stores records on behalf of Federal agencies and Members of Congress. NARA is not responsible for the quality of or correction to the information content of these records.

  • Legal Publications. Another of NARA's responsibilities is to publish the official text of Federal laws, Presidential documents, administrative regulations and notices, and descriptions of Federal organizations, programs and activities.

    This information is contained in legally-mandated publications of the Office of the Federal Register:

    The texts of these publications are created and submitted by a variety of Federal entities who are individually responsible for the information quality of their submissions.

  • Inter- and Intra-Agency and Operational Information. NARA's information quality guidelines do not apply to documents intended only for intra-Government communication or to procedural, operational, policy, and internal manuals prepared for the management and operations of NARA that are not primarily intended for public dissemination.

  • Freedom of Information Act. NARA's information quality guidelines do not apply to responses to requests for agency records under the Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, Federal Advisory Committee Act, or other similar law.

  • Subpoenas or Adjudicatory Processes. NARA's information quality guidelines do not apply to information intended to be limited to subpoenas or adjudicatory processes.

    Because there are well-established procedural safeguards and rights to address the quality of factual allegations and adjudicatory decisions, as well as to provide persons with an opportunity to contest decisions, NARA's information quality guidelines do not impose any additional requirements on NARA during adjudicatory proceedings and do not provide parties to such adjudicatory proceedings any additional rights of challenge or appeal.

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What information IS subject to NARA's information quality guidelines?

Information that IS subject to our information quality guidelines includes:

  • Information about Archival Records. NARA disseminates information about the archival records that we hold in several forms including finding aids, inventories, general information leaflets, research information papers, and guides.

    These products describe the archival records, give context to them, and identify their location in one of NARA's multiple facilities.

  • Programs and Services Information. NARA provides information about our programs and services. For example, NARA mounts exhibits about our holdings, provides educational materials for grades K-12, and provides records management information.

    We disseminate price lists, catalogs, and other purchasing information for our products and announcements of events and programs at our facilities through notices and the Calendar of Events.

    We also make available information about grants, programs, and funded projects through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

  • Organizational and Management Information. NARA disseminates information about our structure and organization including employee and office locators, organizational charts, statements by the Archivist of the United States, and NARA's Strategic Plan.

    NARA also distributes the Annual Report which contains information about NARA's achievements, activities, goals, and products and the Information Security Oversight Office's (ISOO) Annual Report to the President which contains information on Federal security classification programs and compiles statistics on classification and declassification activities Government-wide.

  • Office of the Federal Register Information. The Office of the Federal Register makes available information about its official publications and functions.

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How does NARA disseminate this information?

These information products are disseminated in several ways: on paper, microform, or in electronic form. The primary form used by NARA for electronic dissemination of information is the NARA web site: www.archives.gov.

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How can I correct information that is subject to the information quality guidelines?

Follow the procedure described in these guidelines to correct information maintained and disseminated by NARA that you believe does not comply with either:

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What do I need to provide to request a correction?
  • Your Contact Information. Include your name, mailing address, and fax number or telephone number; or your name and email address. This information is needed to respond to your request.

  • Description of the Information to Correct. Clearly indicate the information that you believe is in error and should be corrected, as well as an explanation of how you are affected by the information.

    Include the name of the product (e.g., finding aid title, pamphlet number, web page including URL, title, etc.) where the information is located, the date of issuance if available, a description of the information to be corrected, and what corrective action you seek.

  • Why the Information Should be Corrected. Include specific reasons why the information should be corrected and, if possible, recommendations for how it should be corrected.

    Recommendations for corrections that are specific and provide evidence to support the need for correction will enable NARA to provide a satisfactory response.
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Where can I find previous years' information correction requests?

Information correction requests are posted on this website after they have been resolved. Currently information correction requests received during FY2004 and FY2003 are available online.

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How can I make a request?

You may submit a written request by letter or email. NARA will respond in the same form as your request, unless you indicate otherwise.

By letter:

Information Quality
National Archives and Records Administration
NWCC, Room 2400
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

By email:   info.quality@nara.gov

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How will NARA review my request?

Based on a review of the information provided, NARA will determine whether a correction is warranted, and, if so, what action to take. Any corrective action will be determined by the nature and timeliness of the information involved, the significance of the correction, the use of the information, and the scope of the correction.

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How will NARA respond?

NARA will respond to your request by letter, email, or fax.

NARA will respond to requests for correction of information within seven working days of receipt. If we cannot complete our review of the request within seven working days, we will inform you that we require more time and provide you with an estimated decision date.

The response will explain the findings of the review and the actions NARA will take in response.

  • Requests for correction concerning information on which NARA has sought public comment

    Information on which NARA may seek public comment includes:

    • proposed rules (regulations)
    • other draft analyses supporting proposed rules (e.g., regulatory flexibility analyses)
    • notices (such as information collection notices)
    • other draft guidance.

    Our response to the request for correction will normally be incorporated in the document that we issue in the matter on which we sought comment. The response will be provided in this document rather than in a separate communication.

    We will consider issuing an earlier response to a request for correction in cases where:

    • we determine that an earlier response would not unduly delay issuing the final document; and

    • you have shown a reasonable likelihood of suffering actual harm if we do not resolve the request before we issue the final document.

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How can I request reconsideration of a request for correction?

If NARA denies your request for correction, you can appeal the decision within 30 calendar days of receiving notification of the denial.

We will acknowledge receipt of your request for reconsideration within seven working days of receipt.

Depending on the request, the appeal will be reviewed by the appropriate highest-level manager at NARA who is not directly involved with the request.

We will respond to your request for reconsideration within 45 calendar days of the request for reconsideration. Our response will include the decision, how the decision will be implemented, and within what period of time.

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