Educator Resources

Research Tips

Here is some information about the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to keep in mind when doing archival research:

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  • The National Archives is organized differently than a library and does not function like one.
  • Records in NARA belong to the Federal Government.
  • Records in NARA are arranged by record groups.
  • Each record group comprises the records of a major Federal Government entity.
  • The records of one entity are kept distinct from those of another.
  • Records are kept in the same order in which they were created.
  • The earliest records held by NARA date from the First Continental Congress, (c. 1774)
  • Records are housed in facilities all across the country, with the majority in the Washington, DC, area.
  • There are billions of records in paper, picture, map, film and electronic form.
  • One cubic foot of records is equal to about 2,500 pages.
  • Finding aids are research tools created to provide information about records and their location.