Archival Research Catalog is Retiring on August 15th

After 10 years of providing online access to the National Archives’ holdings the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) is permanently retiring on August 15th.

You can still search descriptions and digital content using our Online Public Access search

Search for National Archives Records Online
Search for National Archives Records Online

Online Public Access contains all of the descriptions and digitized content that was in ARC.  Online Public Access also searches our web site,, and the web sites of the Presidential Libraries for information related to your search.  Your search results will be grouped into categories based upon the type of information we have that is relevant to your search:

  • Digital copies of records
  • Descriptions of records
  • Web pages on
  • Web pages on the Presidential Libraries’ websites

We will be sharing information and tips for using Online Public Access over the next few weeks here on NARAtions.  if you have any questions about using Online Public Access please leave a comment.

10 thoughts on “Archival Research Catalog is Retiring on August 15th

  1. While ARC definitely is showing its age and needs changing, I am not yet convinced that OPA has all of the functionality that ARC had. I find the Advanced Search dialog box in ARC to be faster and easier to use than the search page in OPA. So I am disappointed that ARC is going away at this point in time.

    1. Hi Chad, Are there certain features you are looking for on the advanced search page? We are always interested in hearing feedback from researchers.

  2. I will take this opportunity to provide comments on OPA and ARC. First, a technical issue with OPA – when I click on the show more item in the left sidebar it provides a new window with the line Refinements. I suppose this window is to allow me to filter BUT it does not work in the Firefox browser. Second, the most useful feature of ARC was to get a ‘print file’ that provided the complete box list. Third, it just makes me cry to think that NARA does not put a priority on adding the box lists to the catalog. Whether OPA or ARC a catalog is a fundamental communication tool. NARA has projects that are re-boxing and labeling series yet it is YEARS and YEARS before, if ever, the data from the label database is used to update the catalog. I can only image that this decision to not put the data in the catalog in a timely fashion is a lack of management understanding of the tremendous value that comes from basic technology to maintain a catalog given limited budgets and the philosophy to meet customer needs.

    1. Hi Robin,

      Thank you for letting us know about the issue you found with Firefox. It is an issue specific to Firefox. The refinements will work if you use Internet Explorer or Chrome.

      You can print out the complete description including the box list when one is included. To print, click the printer icon in the up right corner of the full description. A dialogue box will open. Choose to print the full description and click print.

    1. Hi Jay – We gather data from researchers who respond to our Foresee survey on the web site and who email us. This feedback is used to consider future enhancements to the online catalog.

  3. What is the difference between the old and new links? What if any information will we no longer have access to?

    1. Hi PATK – You have access to the same information in Online Public Access (OPA) as you did in the Archival Research Catalog. In additional OPA also searches our web pages on and the Presidential Libraries web sites.

  4. I am sorry to see ARC go away. I have utilized ARC as a reference tool to find the locations of documents that I might not now find on OPA. Even though its references were only 83% complete it was a great tool to narrow archival research to a specific box(s) and file name within a record group. A suggestion with the new OPA system: please include RG number, Entry Number and Box number. having this specific information helps when researching and looking for specific boxes in the Archives.

    1. Hi Cory – OPA includes the same information you found in ARC including the RG, entry numbers, and box numbers. After you search, you will want to open description from the results by clicking on the title to see the full description. The entry number and record group are found near the top of the description and the box numbers will be near the bottom.

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