posted 05-07-2012 11:53 AM
I used the NASA records at NARA-Ft Worth facility many times during my dissertation research and always found the staff to be very helpful, but they were hampered by issues not under their control.
For starters, the NASA collection there is absolutely HUGE. The then-director actually took me back in the stacks to show me and it was reminiscent of the final "Raiders of the Lost Ark" scene. He was a NASA enthusiast and was trying to put some serious effort into cataloging the materials, but they were hampered by the sheer volume of stuff.
They have a finding aid online that will get you pointed in the right direction, but it is just listed down to the collection level. So you might, as I did, want to have a relevant collection pulled, only to end up with literally hundreds of boxes to sort through. You'll have to do some real legwork to find what you want, but it can be done.
But it was this situation that had me concerned when I heard that the remaining NASA documents being housed at the University of Houston -Clear Lake were being recalled by NARA and would be stashed away at Ft. Worth, too. At least everything at UHCL had been cataloged.
Oh, and as Eddie (moorouge) described, NASA just didn't save everything that we might be interested in, especially as the transition from the Apollo era into shuttle commenced and people began getting RIFed and threw out their files.