Citing Federal Agency Materials

 
 
 
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ngwehner
ngwehner's picture
Citing Federal Agency Materials

I have just (after much waiting) received a copy of the contents of an alien registration file directly from the Department of Homeland Security. I'm a bit stymied as to the best format for citing this. Would the format for the Railroad Retirement Board or the SSA be the most pertinent examples? Everything else in the national government records section (chapter 11) seem to be NARA, LOC, or similar archive materials or they are CD/on-line materials.

EE
EE's picture

ngwehner,

You are right that a file received directly from a governmental department, rather than the National Archives, won't fit into an NA template because "active" agency records don't have the same organizational structure as the ones archived at NA. That problem also exists with trying to use the Railroad Retirement Board example, because those files are also fall into an NA-designated record group number and name. You're dealing with a file that has not been turned over to the authority of the National Archives.

The SSA (Social Security Administration) example at 11.55 and QuickCheck Model at p.546 would indeed be the best fit. It's generic enough that you could adapt it to include all the essential identifying details.

The Editor

ngwehner
ngwehner's picture

Thank you. I ended up with a citation looking like this:

Venetia Gertrude Taylor alien registration files, AR-2 Form A-1 696952 and Registry File R044888, 1932; Department of Homeland Security, Washington, District of Columbia.

Do you feel that this is acceptable or are there other elements you feel should be added?

Nancy

Nancy Niles Wehner, CG

EE
EE's picture

ngwehner, without studying files of that type and the manner in which a specific file is obtained, it would be folly for anyone to say that a citation to the file is right or wrong. Speaking superficially: you've identified the person, relevant ID numbers, and a year so that the file can be put into the context of time. You've identified the agency and its location. All of that is essential. If there is a specific branch of the agency through which you had to apply or if the file identifies a specific branch or record set in which this file is maintained, you would want to include that also. And, of course, if you take data from a specific document within the file, then you would want to identify that specific document by name(s) of creator and/or recipient, "Formal Title" or nature of document, and its specific date.

The Editor