Guide to Federal Records


This search in the National Archives incorporates descriptive information about federal records acquired after 1995, and is regularly updated to reflect new federal records. This tool is an online version of a similar document compiled by Robert B. Matchette (et al) in 1995. The guide provides a general overview of the National Archive's holdings of federal records and is intended to assist researchers in identifying which record groups may have relevant material for their topic.

What Is It?

The National Archives has put together an online catalog of record groups holdings (organized into chapters). These record groups may be accesed either by gederal organization, record group number, or by serach terms. In addition to the online catalog, records can be found in the Microfilm Catalog, Archival Databases, and Archives Library Information Center. While many recaords may have security restrictions, numerous records are free to research.

Related Methods

Historical research is a type of secondary data analysis to determine past social attitudes and community structure and how these have changed over time.
Use of data that was collected by individuals other than the investigator. This includes newspapers, census data, maps, etc. Secondary data analysis is often a starting point for other social science research methods.
Social assessment is a method of data collection and analysis used to characterize the social environment in the area in which one manages (e.g., watershed, protected area). Social impact assessment is used to predict impacts related to implementation of management resources or policy changes.

Contact Information

Contact information for research requests and copies of records can be made a variety of ways. Please visit the National Archives contact page to make your request.  For comments, questions, or concerns about the National Archives website, please contact