National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the record-keeping arm of the United States government. It works closely with private corporations and public organizations to preserve records for historical or legal reasons. These records contain data that persons can use to research everything from U.S. military activity to family history.
History of the National Archives and Records Administration
Congress created the NARA in 1934 to better preserve and manage the essential historical records of the U.S. government. Over time, it has expanded significantly and houses millions of documents spanning centuries, from early American history to modern-day events.
The primary purpose of NARA is to ensure that these records remain accessible for use by authorized personnel and private researchers. It provides various resources to facilitate this goal, including expert assistance on research topics, preservation tools, access to its digital archives, and physical storage space for paperwork and other materials.
NARA has an unwavering commitment to preserving America’s historical record and making it available for current and future generations. It remains an indispensable resource for the government and the public.
Mission and Vision of the National Archives and Records Administration
NARA believes that an educated population creates a more robust democracy. In its mission statement, it urges American citizens to learn the history of the country so that they can participate more effectively in its governance and hold the government accountable.
NARA’s vision involves building a reputation for unparalleled access to large volumes of government data. It plans to leverage cutting-edge technology to make this data increasingly accessible. The organization believes accessibility will enrich the American experience and give it new meaning.
Values of the National Archives and Records Administration
NARA embraces three core values as it works to achieve its mission and values. These include the following:
- Collaborate: NARA values working with other organizations and public members to achieve shared goals. It works hard to build an inclusive environment focused on communication, respect, integrity, and teamwork.
- Learn: NARA aims to be a lifelong learner as it continually improves the services it offers to the public. It encourages its team to work smarter and embrace new and better ways of doing things.
- Innovate: NARA believes that future successes depend on creativity, innovation, and investments made today. This value is closely related to its vision of leveraging cutting-edge technology to serve the public.
Resources Provided by the National Archives and Records Administration
With its vast resources, NARA is a valuable resource for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of American history and the workings of government. Whether you’re conducting formal research or simply curious about how the country works, NARA offers something for everyone.?
The organization claims to have millions of records in its possession, but what exactly do these include? Consider the following examples:
- Military service records: NARA has custody of millions of military service records created since the early 1900s. These encompass everything from U.S. Navy ship logs to Army intelligence files and help current, and future generations learn more about America’s past conflicts, wars, and engagements.
- Presidential papers: NARA has custody of thousands of presidential reports, documents, and artifacts. These include materials from Presidents George Washington to Joe Biden and they shed light on the crucial role played by the U.S. commander-in-chief over centuries of American history.
- Corporate records: NARA is responsible for maintaining many of the corporate records created by private companies operating in the United States. These include stock certificates, tax returns, and business charters.
- America’s founding documents: NARA has custody of thousands of documents considered essential to understanding the early days of American history, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
Electronic Messages Preserved by National Archives and Records Administration
Companies contracted by the federal government could have records of their conversations preserved by NARA. The administration made its position on this clear in Bulletin 2015-02. It acknowledged a then-recent change to the definition of electronic messages under the Federal Records Act. NARA also confirmed the preservation of electronic messages while explaining that some of these could be partially, fully, temporarily, or permanently redacted.
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