Research Our Records

How To Order Sound Recording Copies

Please note: The National Archives (NARA) is a Federal Government agency. When using NARA as a source, allow four weeks for handling and processing an order.

Vendor Lab System

The National Archives has approved two "vendor" labs to produce broadcast quality audiotape copies of its holdings for customers. Customers must contact the vendor and request that it agree to do the reproduction work.

The vendor will process a customer's order only if the customer sends the vendor an Item Approval Request List Form that has already been reviewed by NARA. This list will tell the vendor if an intermediate copy of the requested audiotape is available for loan to the vendor.


  • An "intermediate" is a copy of an original sound recording from which copies are made.
  • All orders for broadcast quality copies require the use of intermediates.
  • NARA will loan intermediates to the vendor only if NARA staff can confirm that the item(s) is/are not restricted and that intermediates exist.
  • Some of the sound recordings held by NARA have intermediate copies, and others do not.
  • Intermediates are not required for non-broadcast quality copies.

If an intermediate needs to be produced, NARA will not initiate the process of producing an intermediate until it receives an order through the vendor. The process to produce an intermediate can take up to four weeks.

How to order

Please note: Please limit your order to 46 items or two Item Approval Request List forms per week.

This is a two-step process:

  1. Obtain item approval from NARA

    The customer deals directly with NARA only during the item approval review process.
  2. Order from the vendor

    All arrangements for the loan of intermediates are handled by the vendor. Customers must direct all questions regarding status of orders or creation of intermediates to the vendor who will contact NARA. (Intermediates are not required for non-broadcast quality copies)

Customers are responsible for:

  • Initiating the item approval process, by completing and submitting to NARA the Item Approval Request List Form
  • Arranging for all reproduction work, payment, and shipping details with the vendor.
  • Requesting creation of intermediates where they do not exist. This is done through the vendor who will contact NARA.
  1. Obtain the item approval from NARA

    To initiate the item approval and order process please carefully follow these instructions:
    1. Obtain an Item Approval Request List Form (and continuation sheets for more than 10 items).

      You may cite up to 23 sound recording reels per order. Orders of more than 23 reels will be split into multiple orders. Within an order, if you want to cite more than 10 items, you will need to complete a continuation sheet. Please be certain to provide your name, control number, and the number of pages for your complete order at the top of the continuation sheet. Larger orders will take longer to process.
    2. Submit the Item Approval Request List Form(s)
      • by mail
        Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Reference (NWCS-Motion Picture Reference)
        National Archives at College Park
        8601 Adelphi Road
        College Park, MD 20740-6001
      • by fax (301-837-3620); or
      • in person, to NARA staff monitoring the Motion Picture Research Room.
        Please allow up to ten working days for processing.
    3. NARA staff will fax (if the requester provides a fax number) or mail the reviewed Item Approval Request Form to the customer.
    4. Review the Item Approval Request List Form
      "order number" Used to track the request through the order process.
      "1" in "Pending" column There is no an intermediate copy currently available for the item.
      "2" in "Pending" column There is some restriction on the item.
      Refer to the cover facsimile/letter for restriction release instructions.
      A "check" and staff initials appearing in the "Approved" column The item is approved for reproduction work.
      The columns for "Archival Format," "Running Time," and "Footage" are filled by NARA staff.

  2. Order from the vendor
    1. Choose a vendor from the Broadcast Quality Copies list OR
      contact one of the professional researchers for Non-Broadcast Quality Copies
    2. Arrange work, payment, and shipping details with the vendor.
    3. The vendor will contact NARA to arrange loan of the intermediate(s)and will make copies according to the customer's specifications.
    4. The vendor will ship the reproduction(s) to the customer according to the customer's arrangements.

Sound Recording Vendors

Broadcast Quality Copies

The Cutting Corporation
7520 Standish Place, Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20855
Contact: Aaron Coe
Tel: (301) 654-2887, Ext. 19

Non-Broadcast Quality Copies

Professional Researchers

Michael Dolan
1515 16th Street, NW #1B
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: (202) 667-0534
Fax: (202) 667-0572