What is National Archives Record Administration or NARA?
NARA or National Archives is an independent federal government agency
NARA was founded by Congress in 1934
National Archives took its present form in 1984
The National Archives Record Administration (NARA) is an independent federal government agency of the United States of America (USA). NARA is also often referred to as the National Archives. True to its name, the agency is responsible for the preservation of government and historical records as well as for increasing public access to such records.
It is NARA that legally publishes authentic and authoritative copies of presidential directives, federal regulations and acts of Congress. One of the chief responsibilities of NARA is to transmit votes of the Electoral College to Congress. NARA examines the Electoral College and Constitutional amendment ratifications for prima facie legal sufficiency and an authenticating signature.
History of the National Archives
The National Archives Record Administration was created by Congress in the year 1934. Prior to that, every government department was responsible for storing and preserving its documents. This often led to loss of records which prompted the need for a national document-keeping agency.
The first chief administration of NARA was RDW Conner. The chief of NARA is referred to as the Archivist of the United States.
In 1949, the Hoover Commission brought NARA under the aegis of the then newly-formed General Services Administration (GSA). The passing of the Records Administration Act of 1984 gave the National Archive independence from the GSA creating the organisation it is today.
How does NARA store documents?
The National Archives stores documents in what are called ‘record groups.’ Records include paper, microfilm, still photographs, motion picture as well as electronic media. The US federal government’s permanent holdings are in possession of NARA and stored in the National Archives Catalog.
Are NARA documents public?
Most government documents with the National Archives Record Administration are public. This is because, federal documents do not have copyright protection. However, records obtained from other sources may be protected by copyright laws or donor agreements. NARA also stores some documents until they are declassified.
What is NARA’s tiff with Donald Trump?
The National Archives has had a difficult time in obtaining presidential documents from when Donald Trump was the President. Media reports and other sources claim that Donald Trump would often tear off or flush documents which would then have to be reconstructed for NARA.
Further, Donald Trump is alleged to have delayed returning documents to the National Archives after his term in office ended.