One of the primary motivations that govern the National Archives is the preservation of our government’s records. While our mission is to provide public access to government records, NARA staff are also tasked with protecting our holdings. A visit to our research rooms reveals the energy we expend on undertaking these two contradictory responsibilities. Because improper handling of records can cause irreversible damage, researchers are our most important allies when it comes to preserving our Nation's history.
Here are the top 10 DO’s and DON'Ts for Records Handling:
While reviewing records, if you notice something out of the ordinary, such as the boxes and folders falling apart, the contents of the box not matching the exterior label, papers ripped, etc., we have special Holdings Maintenance forms available in the research rooms for researchers to fill out so that these records receive the conservation attention that they need. More information on our Holdings Maintenance policies can be found on our website’s Preservation webpage.
Please remember that our records are for everyone and YOU are the key to their continued preservation.
Finally, if you need something, please ask for help. We are here for you!