Picture this: a person must show a photo ID, obtain a researcher ID card, and fill out a form telling what they're interested in looking at and the reason. Pens are forbidden, pencils provided. Each scribbled piece of paper is checked and then stamped. Cell phones and jackets go into lockers. Prying eyes make sure nothing precious walks off.
Does this sound like a military base? No, it is the U.S. National Archives.
In an Associated Press article, writer Siobhan McDonough describes the security procedures at the National Archives' buildings in Washington and College Park, Maryland as well as regional centers and presidential libraries. "The nation's record keeper" safeguards and makes available to the public -- under certain terms -- 5 billion pieces of paper, 9 million photographs, and 11 million maps and aerial photographs.
Genealogists have known about these procedures for some time, and most consider it to be an annoyance. However, the strict rules are designed to safeguard the nation's documents. Despite precautions like these, former Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger somehow came away with material he wasn't supposed to have.
You can read the entire story at http://tinyurl.com/4czhd.