General Information Leaflet 71
The National Archives in the Nation's Capital –
Information for Researchers

Research Support Services

Our research support services primarily consist of providing information about the records in our custody, making the records available in our research rooms, and providing ordering information if you wish to obtain copies of readily identifiable records. Our ability to help you is greatly enhanced when you have done the background preparation necessary for research in primary sources.

Our customer service and reference staff will help you onsite by:

  • orienting you to onsite research support services, research facilities, and rules for handling archival materials;
  • assisting you in the navigation of relevant indexes and finding aids;
  • facilitating your completion of the forms necessary to request delivery of original records to a research room;
  • aiding you in the safe handling of the records and in the use of self-service copiers when original records are delivered to a research room; and
  • directing you to alternate sources of pertinent information when known.

If you contact us from your home or office, we will help you by:

  • accepting your telephone, email, postal mail, or fax queries concerning the availability of records relevant to your research;
  • researching available indexes and other finding aids to determine whether we hold records relevant to your request;
  • offering reproductions of the records for a fee or recommending a research visit if necessary; and
  • directing you to alternate sources of pertinent information when known.

Sources of Information about Our Holdings

To help you access the holdings, we provide descriptions through a combination of databases and web documents.

You can find useful information about our records on NARA’s web site at

If you prefer paper finding aids, you can request a free copy of GIL 3, Select List of Publications of the National Archives and Records Administration, from the Customer Service Center in the National Archives Building. This list identifies all the finding aids that are currently in print and provides information about how to obtain copies. Some of these publications may be available in local libraries, particularly government depository libraries.

In addition, information concerning many of our records can be made available to you onsite through the use of lists, catalogs, and other finding aids located in our research rooms.

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General Information Leaflet 71 – 2001
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