What's In ARC
The Archival Research Catalog (ARC) is the online catalog of NARA's nationwide holdings in the Washington, DC area, Regional Archives and Presidential Libraries.
- ARC Brochure
- Scope of Archival Materials
- Searching in ARC
- Standards used for ARC Descriptions
- Sources for Descriptions and their Authority Sources
Scope of Archival Materials
Currently there are a total of 1,838,456 cubic feet of holdings described in ARC. This breaks down to:
- 498 Record Groups
- 2,050 Collections
- 47,729 Series
- 999,527 File Units
- 263,581 Items
There are also 4,588,573,277 logical data records and 309,120 artifacts described in ARC.
In addition, some archival materials have been digitized and are available through ARC. They include:
- 79 architectural and engineering drawings items
- 60 artifact items
- 325 maps and charts
- 58,184 still pictures
- 15,515 textual documents
Currently more than 55% of our records are described in ARC. Every two weeks new descriptions are placed in ARC. Many of the records are described broadly at the series level. If you do not find the records you are seeking, please contact the NARA office that holds those records.
Read more about: Why aren't all Federal Archived Records Online?
Please note: Not all finding aids and images on the NARA web site are currently described in ARC yet, although that is our goal. An updated version of Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States can be searched on the NARA web site to identify records of interest. You may also want to visit the Gateway for Educators and Students, the Online Exhibits, Research at the National Archives, and the individual Presidential Libraries' web sites.
Search for archival descriptions in ARC by:
- digitized images
- person name
- physical location of records
ARC is designed to work best with either Microsoft Internet Explorer, 5.0 or above, or Netscape Communicator, 4.7 and above.
ARC descriptions are based upon NARA's Lifecycle Data Requirements Guide (LCDRG)
(2.08 MB). The LCDRG establishes standards for NARA's structure and implementation of data to support the lifecycle management of archival materials of all types and formats. The first edition of the guide, issued in November of 2000, contains standards related to archival description. In developing its standards, NARA consulted all relevant external standards to determine their applicability to the description of NARA's holdings of federal and presidential government records and donated materials and used these external standards as a basis for developing a standard which best meets the needs of NARA's holdings. The LCDRG is updated frequently and will expand to cover other portions of the records lifecycle over time.
NARA maintains the historically valuable archival materials of the U.S. Government dating from the Revolutionary War era to the recent past. Both the archival materials and their descriptions have come from a variety of sources over time. Some descriptions were written by NARA staff when the archival materials were originally processed by NARA, or during later descriptive projects. Other descriptions were written by Federal agencies that created the archival materials, usually at the time the material itself was created. Words and phrases used in the titles and descriptions often reflect common or popular usage of the era in which they were written.
To provide consistent retrieval we have used both external and NARA-created authority sources to index ARC descriptions. These sources include:Authority Sources Created by Other Institutions
- The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names® (TGN)
The Thesaurus of Geographic Names® was developed by the Getty Research Institute (GRI), an operating program of The J. Paul Getty Trust. This database is used under license from The J. Paul Getty Trust. The accuracy of the information contained in the database is not warranted in any way by Getty, and Getty assumes no responsibility or liability for the results of any use of the information.
© 1994 - 2012 J. Paul Getty Trust. All rights reserved. The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names is a registered trademark of the J. Paul Getty Trust.
- The Art and Architecture Thesaurus® (AAT) (Information Forms and Visual Works)
The Art and Architecture Thesaurus® was developed by the Getty Research Institute (GRI), an operating program of The J. Paul Getty Trust. This database is used under license from The J. Paul Getty Trust. The accuracy of the information contained in the database is not warranted in any way by Getty, and Getty assumes no responsibility or liability for the results of any use of the information.
© 1994 - 2012 J. Paul Getty Trust. All rights reserved. The Art and Architecture Thesaurus is a registered trademark of the J. Paul Getty Trust.
- 1977-1999 Retrospective Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF)
The Library of Congress Name Authority File is produced and published by the Library of Congress.
Authority Sources Created by NARA
- Organization Authority File
This authority file lists names of Federal and non-Federal organizations. Names of Federal organizations were formulated by NARA and are based upon agency publications and directives and Federal statutes; names of most non-Federal organizations were taken from the Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF).
- Program Area Thesaurus
This thesaurus lists the program areas or functions of organizations. NARA created the Program Area Thesaurus based upon the Federal Register Thesaurus of Indexing Terms, and the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) Thesaurus.
- Topical Subjects Thesaurus
This thesaurus lists the topics or subjects found in descriptions of archival materials. NARA created the Topical Subject Thesaurus from the Library of Congress Subject Headings and other sources.