National Archives and Records Administration

n. (abbr. NARA) an independent federal agency possessing primary responsibility for managing the records of all three branches of the United States federal government, for providing guidance to federal agencies on records management policies and practices, for authorizing the disposition of federal records, for storing federal records, and for preserving records of permanent historical value to the United States in both federal archives and presidential libraries


Established in 1934 as the National Archives, the agency was renamed the National Archives and Records Service (NARS) when it was made part of the General Services Administration (1949–1984). The new name reflected expanded responsibility for current records as well as archives, which was clarified by the Federal Records Act of 1950. The National Archives again attained independence as an agency in October 1984 (effective April 1, 1985), when it became known as the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).