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Government Documents: National Archives

A guide to utilizing electronic government documents.

National Archives

Resources for archival researchers.

General Guides

NARA Research Guides and Ways to Search Online

  • Archival Research Catalog (ARC): ARC is the online catalog of NARA's nationwide holdings, with descriptions currently of over 63% of NARA's holdings. Perform searches using keywords, by location, organization, person, or topics, and for digitized images.
  • Access to Archival Databases (AAD): AAD is a search engine into some of NARA's holdings of electronic records. Currently there are databases and indexes from approximately 30 archival series; this number will continue to grow. Search by person, geographic areas, organizations, or dates.
  • Federal Records Guide: Search NARA's holdings of federal records at a very high level, to identify which record groups may have material relevant to your research topics. This includes records that originated in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches. 
  • Microfilm Catalog: Searchable database of NARA's more than 3,000 numbered microfilm publications. The described microfilm include those created by or purchased by NARA for researcher use. Determine which rolls of microfilm may be the most relevant for your research at NARA.
  • Browse list of Research Topics: For many topics, we have included related articles, finding aids, and search tips. 
  • Published research guides, articles, and papers: These include guides, articles, reference papers, inventories, and more, all designed to help prepare you for your research at NARA.
  • Filing manuals: These manuals outline the filing classification systems used by staff in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and various departments and agencies of the federal government. 
  • Finding Aids for holdings in the Regional Archives: Links to holdings guides, articles, lists, indexes to files, and other finding aids prepared by the Regions to assist researchers. 
  • Archives Library Information Center (ALIC): The Reference at Your Desk feature provides quick access to online resources on many diverse subjects. Also search the online library catalog for holdings of the Archives libraries in Washington, DC and College Park, MD. 
  • List of Record Groups: List of all Federal records held in the National Archives in numeric order by record group, along with some statistical information.


David McCaslin's picture
David McCaslin
Wardman Library