5 Replies Latest reply on May 28, 2020 12:55 PM by Jason Atkinson

    Seeking contracts for tracked air cushion vehicles

    james cohen Newbie

      I am doing research on the development of so-called "tracked air cushion vehicle," (aka "advanced transportation systems") carried out under the auspices of the Dept of Transportation's (DOT), Office of High Speed Ground Transportation (OHSGT) and Urban Mass Transportation Administration, between 1964 and 1975. DOT/OHSGT signed major contracts with Garrett AiResearch Corporation and Grumman Aircraft Engineering (aka Grumman Aerospace Corporation) for development of air cushion vehicle technology. The Urban Mass Transportation Administration did the same with Rohr Industries (aka Rohr Corporation). I would like to find/read the contracts that were signed between the Federal Gov't and these corporations. DOT Research Services and FRA "Research Hub" were unable to locate Contracts. The corporations themselves do not have archives. I have searched the NARA Catalog, using various relevant keywords and phrases, without success. Can anyone suggest how/where I could find these Contracts? Thanks.

        • Re: Seeking contracts for tracked air cushion vehicles
          Jason Atkinson Pioneer

          Dear Mr. Cohen,

           

          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located three series titled Publications, ca. 1967 - 2016 that includes 80 items relating to air cushions vehicles; Technical Reports, 1970 - 1984 that includes some files relating to air cushion vehicles; and Subject Files, 1967 - 1970 that includes some files related to contracts. All three series are part of the Records of the Federal Railroad Administration (Record Group 399). For access to these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at Archives2reference@nara.gov.

           

          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

           

          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

           

            • Re: Seeking contracts for tracked air cushion vehicles
              james cohen Newbie

              Thank you very much for your quick and helpful reply to my question. What I found most helpful is being able to see the "Scope and Content" and "Container List" for two of the Series--"Technical Reports" and "Subject Files," since those tell me fairly clearly what I can expect to find if/when I am at NARA doing research and pulling records.

               

              Is there a way for me to find more of a breakdown of RG399 at this level of detail? Are there many other "Series" within RG399? If so, how do I locate those? (I tried the Record Group Explorer, but didn't find this level of detail; maybe I didn't use the filters correctly?) Thanks again.

                • Re: Seeking contracts for tracked air cushion vehicles
                  Jason Atkinson Pioneer

                  Dear Mr. Cohen,

                   

                  Thank you for posting your follow-up request on History Hub!

                   

                  When using the Record Group Explorer, click on the box with the name of the Record Group.  That will bring up a page such as Record Group 399 - Records of the Federal Railroad Administration. Then click on the blue “Explore” under the “Our work isn't finished yet. We have more digitizing to do.”  This brings up a list of all 83 record series in the record group.  In order to bring up a complete record series description, you need to select a specific series title, such a Compliance Orders and Agreements, 2018 - 2019. Some record series such as this one also have file units attached to the series description.  Under the “Details” heading in the “Includes” field it says 10 file unit(s) described in the catalog. Clicking on that brings us a list of 10 file units.  Sometimes these will just be file unit titles. In this example, there are pdfs attached to the file unit, allowing you to view the digital records directly using the Catalog.  Please note that the overwhelming majority of NARA records are not digitized yet and viewable using the Catalog.

                   

                  Another thing you can use is use the “Search within” feature. Starting with Compliance Orders and Agreements, 2018 - 2019, look to the left and you see a link to Records of the Federal Railroad Administration, 1910 - 1994. Scroll down to the blue “Search within this record group” button. Click on that, look up to the search field, and remove the *:* from the search bar.  Fill in your search terms, and all results will be from the Record Group that you are searching within. Similarly, with a series description such as Compliance Orders and Agreements, 2018 - 2019 that has attached file unit descriptions, please click on the blue Search Within this Series button to search the file units.

                   

                  An additional option is the Advanced Search feature for the National Archives Catalog. Please see National Archives Catalog Search Tips for information about using these. You may also be interested in the instructional videos How to Use the New National Archives Catalog (broadcast 2015 July 1) and Updates to the National Archives Catalog (2016 March 16).

                   

                  If at any time you have difficulty using the Catalog, or it is not working correctly, please email Catalog@nara.gov for assistance.

                   

                  Finally, you may wish to use the Guide to Federal Records which provides outlines of record groups such as Records of the Federal Railroad Administration. However, please note that this resource has not been updated in quite some time, so it may not list records that have been accessioned in the past couple of decades, the titles are not always current, and that the numbers such as 399.3.3 are only part of the outline numbering system used for indexing when the Guide was printed originally.

                   

                  We hope this information is helpful.

                    • Re: Seeking contracts for tracked air cushion vehicles
                      james cohen Newbie

                      RG 399 includes about 5-10 individual Series that interest me. Is there any way to search within an individual/single Series, such as "Final Contract Deliverables" (see screenshot below of that Series)? I understand how to search within the overall RG399, but I have not figured out any way to search separately within any a particular/individual Series. (I do not see  any clickable "Search within this Series" link for "Final Contract Deliverables.") Thanks again for your help.

                      Screenshot of one Series within RG399

                       

                        • Re: Seeking contracts for tracked air cushion vehicles
                          Jason Atkinson Pioneer

                          Dear Mr. Cohen,

                           

                          Thank you for posting your follow-up request on History Hub!

                          There are four levels of archival description used in the National Archives Catalog.

                           

                          • Record Group/Collection
                            • Series
                              • File Unit
                                • Item

                           

                          The “Search within” option allows you to search all the lower level descriptions attached to a given record group, series, or file unit description.  However, not all records are described at all four levels in the Catalog.  All records with a description in the Catalog have at least a series description, and all series descriptions are attached to a record group or collection.  Some record series have file unit descriptions attached to them, but not all.  The overwhelming majority of records are not described at the item level.

                           

                          For some record series (such as Central Files, 1953 - 1971 in the Records of the International Trade Administration (Record Group 489)) there is a container list as one of the fields in the series instead of or in addition to having attached file units.  In other cases, there might be an index or other finding aid that is not available online but is referenced in a finding aid note. However these fields are not always used.

                           

                          In the case of Final Contract Deliverables, 1983 - 1993, this is a series level description (as indicated by the Record Hierarchy on the left hand side) with no file units or items attached to it. There is also no container list.  Therefore, we suggest that you email the reference unit listed as the contact in the Catalog description, under the heading “Archived Copies” for any inquiries about the specific contents of the records. For this series, please contact the National Archives at Denver (RM-DV) via denver.archives@nara.gov.

                           

                          However, please be advised that RM-DV reference staff are currently teleworking full-time.  Therefore, it may be some time until they can check any additional finding aids they may have, or, if necessary, physically look at the records in order to be able to answer your inquiry.

                           

                          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!