Data Management

Archive vs. Repository: Is There a Difference?

In the field of data management, the terms "archive" and "repository" often are used interchangeably. Within the Federal government, however, the term "archive" is specific to the mission and activities of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Only NARA, or a Federal entity officially delegated by NARA for the long-term curation of specific products, should be referred to as an "archive." The USGS Earth Resources Observations System (EROS) Data Center is one of the few government repositories officially recognized by NARA as an archive. Any similar Federal entity not receiving official NARA designation should be referred to as a "repository."