Self-Service Copying at the National Archives Building, Washington, DC,
and the National Archives at College Park, Maryland
Blue Paper Pilot Project: FAQs
Why is NARA making this change?
The change from white to colored copying paper for use in NARA's research facilities in the DC area was a recommendation of NARA's Holdings Protection Team as an enhanced way to clearly delineate which papers were copied on NARA equipment or printed out at one of the Public Use PC printers, and which papers might be actual record material.
Why was blue selected?
We experimented with more than a dozen different colors to check for distortion of image and clarity of copy. The particular shade of blue, known as Windsor Blue and made by the Neenah Paper Company, is among the lightest shades of blue that is available to NARA, yet it stands out clearly among documents on white paper. The other options were pink and various shades of yellow. No one supported the idea of pink on aesthetic grounds and the yellows look too much like other documents. The Windsor Blue paper was pale enough to minimize the distortion of the image and blue enough to be easily detected by research room staff and guard staff. It will also assist researchers in preventing actual records from getting mixed or confused with their copies. The Windsor Blue paper is also readily available through the US Government Printing Office in all three sizes that we use.
How will certifications be handled?
The certification process will not change. The staff will continue to make copies on white paper and then certify that they are documents from the National Archives and the United States.
I use the color copier on the 5th floor - still pictures. How will this change effect copying there?
The color copiers will continue to use white paper.
If I order copies from NARA, what color paper will be used?
Copies made by NARA contractors or staff outside of the research room area will continue to use white paper. The blue paper is only for research room self-service copying on black and white copiers, and on printers used in connection with Public Use personal computers.
What impact will this change have on the CREST (CIA) System in Room 3000?
The CREST System is supported by the CIA. The CIA will continue to provide the paper used with that system. The blue paper that they will supply is going to be a somewhat darker shade of blue that the Windsor blue but they have agreed to provide blue paper in support of the security procedures recommended by the holdings protection team.
Can I bring in my own copy paper?
No. NARA must provide the copy paper. We actively discourage researchers from bringing in papers to collect data or other information and we prohibit anyone trying to bring in their own personal copying paper. By providing wi-fi technology, we are attempting to eliminate as much extra paper from the research process as possible.