Research Our Records

Blue Paper for Copies in the Washington, DC Area

As one of the increased security measures in the public research rooms of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in the Washington, DC area, NARA will launch a pilot project beginning Monday June 6th to determine if changing the color of the copier paper used in public research room copiers and printers improves document security. During the pilot, which runs through August 26th, the standard white copying paper will be replaced by a pastel blue paper so that copies of documents and printouts from public use copiers can be more easily distinguished from actual documents by the staff and the security officers. Color photocopiers are exempt from the study.

Mislaid documents can be lost forever. It is not uncommon for a researcher to unintentionally intermingle their personal papers and copies with the archival documents they are using. In order to safeguard the records with which we have been entrusted, we must take whatever measures necessary to prevent heir alienation.

The concept of a switch to colored paper was first raised at the November 2010 public meeting with DC-area researchers and at subsequent meetings. NARA managers expressed the need to easily differentiate between originals and copies for document security purposes. Adjustments in the policy were made for color copiers but the copies will still say Reproduced at the National Archives.

Certified copies on white paper will still be available and admissible in court. Staff will make copies for certifications with the stamp to show it was reproduced at the Archives, and add the NARA seal and certification form which will be fastened by a ribbon and grommet. The blue paper is only for self-service and Public Access PC copying. It also includes copies produced by the CREST system, the CIA declassified document collection available in the Archives II Library.

For more information, see the Frequently asked questions (FAQs)