Privacy Program Resources

NARA Privacy Act Systems: NARA 2

SYSTEM NAME: Reference Request Files


SYSTEM LOCATION: Reference request files are maintained in the following locations:

  1. Office of Research Services;
  2. Individual Presidential libraries;
  3. Presidential Materials Division; and
  4. Center for Legislative Archives.

CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM: Individuals covered by this system include people who request information from, or access to, records or archival materials in archival custodial units.

CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM: Reference request files may include: Reference service slips; reference service databases; correspondence control registers and databases; and correspondence, including administrative forms used for routine inquiries and replies, between NARA staff and researchers. These files may contain some or all of the following information about an individual: Name; address; telephone number; email address; position title; name of employer/institutional affiliation; educational background; research topic(s); field(s) of interest; identification of requested records; credit card or purchase order information; and other information furnished by the researcher.

AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM: 44 U.S.C. 2108, 2111 note, 2203(f)(2), and 2907.

ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES: NARA maintains reference request files on individuals to: Maintain control of records and archival materials being used in a research room; establish researcher accountability for records and archival materials; prepare replies to researchers' reference questions; record the status of researchers' requests and NARA replies to those requests; enable future contact with researchers, if necessary; and facilitate the preparation of statistical and other aggregate reports on researcher use of records.

The routine use statements A, C, E, F, G, and I, described in Appendix A also apply to this system of records.


STORAGE: Paper and electronic records.

RETRIEVABILITY: Information in reference request files may be retrieved by: The individual's name; the request date; the record group number; collection/series title; or thename, social security number, or military service number of the former civilian employee/veteran whose record was the subject of the request.

SAFEGUARDS: During business hours, paper records are maintained in areas accessible to authorized NARA personnel. Electronic records are accessible via password-protected workstations located in attended offices or through a secure remote access network. After business hours, buildings have security guards and/or secured doors, and all entrances are monitored by electronic surveillance equipment.

RETENTION AND DISPOSAL: Reference request files are temporary records and are destroyed in accordance with the disposition instructions in the NARA Records Schedule (a supplement to the NARA Files Maintenance and Records Disposition Manual). Individuals may request a copy of the disposition instructions from the NARA Privacy Act Officer.

SYSTEM MANAGER(S) AND ADDRESS: The system managers for reference request files are:

  1. For files located in a Presidential library: Director of the individual Presidential library;
  2. For files located in the Presidential Materials Division: Director of the Presidential Materials Division;
  3. For files located in the Center for Legislative Archives: Director of the Center for Legislative Archives;
  4. For files located in the National Historical Publications and Records Commission: Executive Director, National Historical Publications and Records Commission; and
  5. For all other reference request files: Executive for Research Services.

The business addresses for these system managers are listed in Appendix B.

NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE: People interested in inquiring about their records should notify the NARA Privacy Act Officer at the address listed in Appendix B.

RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURES: People who wish to access their records should submit their request in writing to the NARA Privacy Act Officer at the address listed in Appendix B.

CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES: NARA rules for contesting the contents of a person's records and appealing initial determinations are found in 36 CFR part 1202.

RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES: Information in reference request files is obtained from researchers and from NARA employees who maintain the files.

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