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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Vice Presidential Records

Who may use the Vice Presidential records?

Processed and open Gore and Cheney Vice Presidential records are available to everyone. Research inquiries can be made by mail, email, or telephone. Research also may be conducted on-site in the National Archives research room located in Washington, D.C. Researchers under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult researcher.

Do I need to make an appointment to conduct research?

Although an appointment is not required, researchers are encouraged to contact the Presidential Materials Division in advance to allow the staff archivists ample time to locate and retrieve publicly available records related to their topics.

What are the research room procedures?

Review the rules for using the research room at the National Archives.

What records are open for research?

Archivists must arrange, perform a line-by-line review, take any necessary preservation actions, and describe records before they can be made available to researchers. View a list of records open and available for research.

Will I be provided access to all identified records responsive to my request?

While NARA’s goal is to provide as much access as possible, certain records must be withheld.

What records are closed for research?

Gore and Cheney Vice Presidential records are reviewed under the terms of the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Materials that are restricted under the PRA remain closed for twelve years after the presidency. However the PRA also states records are accessible through the FOIA beginning five years after the end of the Administration. Materials closed under FOIA exemptions remain closed for longer, variable periods. The appropriate restrictions are cited for all closed information so researchers are fully informed about all materials being withheld.

Can I appeal the closure of records restricted under the PRA and FOIA?

Yes. Original requesters may file an appeal challenging the status of records closed under the provisions of the PRA and/or FOIA. Forms for filing appeals are available upon request by mail, fax, or email.

Can I request access to closed or unprocessed records?

Yes. Any individual may request access to unprocessed Vice Presidential records by submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

How do I submit a FOIA request?

A FOIA request must be submitted in the form of a letter, fax, or email. You should describe the information you want in as much detail as possible. Once the request is received, the archival staff performs a search for responsive records. If a FOIA request is too vague or broad, it will not be considered a reasonable request and may be rejected unless you narrow or clarify the topic. Please contact the Presidential Materials Division if you have questions or concerns.

Download the FOIA request form.

Mailing Address:

ATTN: FOIA
Presidential Materials Division
National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Room G7
Washington, District of Columbia 20408-0001

Email: presidential.materials@nara.gov

Fax: (202) 357-5941

How long does a FOIA request take?

FOIA requests are processed according to the date of receipt. Following the receipt of a FOIA request, a search is conducted for the records responsive to the request. The researcher is then advised of the results and her request will be placed in one of several processing queues, based on the record format, and the complexity and volume of the request. When the request reaches the front of the queue, the archival staff will review the responsive records according to the provisions of the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Executive Order 13489 requires notification of the representative of the former President as well as the incumbent President prior to the release of processed records. Once processing and notification have been completed, the Presidential Materials Division will inform the researcher of the availability of the requested records.

Can I request declassification of national security information?

Yes. All national security documents responsive to a FOIA request will be reviewed. Any records restricted under the national security provisions of the PRA and FOIA are eligible for a declassification review.

Researchers may also file a Mandatory Review request for specific national security classified documents. Download the form for filing a Mandatory Review Request.

How does copyright law affect my research?

The United States Copyright Law (P.L. 94-553) provides statutory protection for the authors or producers of original works. The copyright law gives the author and his or her heirs the sole right of publication for the term of the copyright. The use of copyrighted material requires the permission of the holder of the copyright. Permission to reproduce copyrighted materials contained in the audiovisual or textual holdings of the Presidential Materials Division must be obtained from the copyright holder.

Under certain circumstances, the copyright law allows “fair use” of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. Fair use encompasses scholarship and research, although the extent of such use is bounded by limitations.

Researchers with specific questions about the copyright law should obtain legal advice. Please note that federal employees are not authorized to provide guidance with regard to copyright laws.

The copyright law does not apply to material in the public domain or material produced by government employees in the course of their official duties.

Are research or travel grants available?

At this time, no research and travel grants underwritten by the Presidential Materials Division are available.

How do I cite materials from records?

Researchers should include the following information in the citation: the type and date of the document, the document title (if applicable), the sender and recipient, the complete folder title, and the name of the collection. The citations should conclude with reference to the Presidential Materials Division, National Archives and Records Administration.

How do I request a photograph of Vice President Gore or Cheney?

Official White House photographs taken of Vice Presidents Gore and Cheney are considered Vice Presidential records and the provisions of the PRA and FOIA governing access are applicable. Researchers should follow the procedures mentioned above to gain access to these records.

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