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The Archivist of the United States (AOTUS) is NARA’s chief administrator and has responsibilities that include providing federal agencies with guidance and assistance for records management and establishing standards for record retention. The Archivist also has overall responsibility for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information and information systems that support the agency and its operations.

The Archivist is appointed by the President of the United States and is responsible for safeguarding and making available for study all the permanently valuable records of the Federal Government, including the actual Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which are displayed in the Archives' main building in Washington, D.C.

Under Public Law No. 98-497, the Archivist also must maintain custody of state legislative ratifications of amendments to the U.S. Constitution and proclaim a particular amendment duly ratified and part of the U.S. Constitution if the legislatures of at least three-quarters of the states approve the proposed amendment.

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