National Archives and Records Administration
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Every spring we receive a number of inquiries from history students seeking information for class assignments and National History Day projects.

With the growing popularity of the Internet, we have noticed a dramatic growth in this form of reference request. The following suggestions are offered in an effort to provide the best possible reference services for all of our patrons.

  1. Allow plenty of lead time Spring, with its hundreds of school tours and reference requests, is our busiest time of year. Unfortunately, student requests are often either too general or too vague to answer. Students need to do background research and narrow their subject or questions before writing to us. This is especially important if you are interested in broad topics like the Depression, prohibition, civil rights or the women's movement. If your request is too general, we may have to write back to ask you to limit the area of exploration to something that is more manageable or to clarify what you need. All of this takes time and prevents us from getting the right information to you in time.
  2. Same topic for several students? If a teacher wishes to allow several students to work on the same topic (either individually or as part of a team), it is important that we receive only one request for materials.
  3. Where can we send the information? We would suggest that information be sent either to an individual or the team leader (depending on the kind of project) or directly to your teacher. If your request comes to us via e-mail, it is important for you to include your mailing address [and telephone number] in case we need to send copies of documents or photographs. If you have an e-mail address or FAX number be sure to include it. We will use it to answer specific questions or to request clarification, etc. However, for a variety of reasons, we are unable to FAX copies of documents, etc.
  4. Use the Guidelines for Reference Requests. You can Xerox this and fill it in or write us a letter which covers all of the points in the Guidelines.


Your request should include:

Your name: _____________________________________

Mailing address: __________________________________



Telephone number at school: ___________________

home: _______________

Describe your assignment or project:

__ National History Day Project:

__ paper

__ table top exhibit

__ group performance

__ individual performance

__ video presentation

__ Class paper/written project of _______ pages Due by _________________

__ Class oral presentation lasting _______ minutes Due by _______________



explain in approximately 30-65 words:




Time period covered:

Names of key individuals that I need to know more about:




I need: __ books

__primary documents

__ photographs

I __can __ cannot come to the Hoover Library to do research.

I am able to pay up to: $____________for copies of materials you provide


National Archives and Records Administration
Last updated: June 16, 1999