I haven't visited the National Archives in years, but I do remember my visit fondly--attentive staff and a wealth of resources. I learned today in an op-ed piece in the New York Times that the Archives hasn't had a budget increase in years, and as a result, it has had to hire less-qualified staff to organize records. This is making it harder for members of the public to find what they need. In addition, "more than a million cubic feet of documents...need to be organized, described and filed." The Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein, a long-ago college professor of mine, calls this situation a "document surplus," not a "backlog," but it amounts to the same thing--the material is not being processed and is inaccessible. It is taking longer for achivists to answer written requests for information, and off-peak hours have been cut, making the Archives more difficult to use for many individuals. As the author of the piece, David Kahn, concludes, "the National Archives does more than display the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. From its astonishing riches emerge not only the records of one's immigrant grandparents but the documents and images that produce books and telecasts about this country. Without the services of the archives, the nation risks amnesia and loses direction." Kahn urges President Bush to ask Congress to increase the budget of the National Archives, and urges Congress to grant this funding request.