Comparing 'National' Archives

Discussion in 'Research Material' started by von Poop, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Actually Dave, they do now have some tripods available to borrow! And ... I sand-filled "snake" weights. I forget what those are called, to keep pages flat.
  2. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    I've just seen that Cambridge University Library has 200km of shelving, roughly the equivalent of Cambridge to Southampton by road. What is the equivalent for the National Archives? More particularly how much is WW2 related.

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  3. ChrisR

    ChrisR Senior Member

    Starting your research - The National Archives says -
    "We hold approximately 11 million documents kept on about 100 miles of shelving. This shelving grows by at least a mile each year, as more and more documents are handed over to the archives by various government departments. In recent years, we have started to keep some of our documents in deep salt mines in Cheshire, in an attempt to save space at Kew."

    Wouldn't like to say what percentage is WW2.
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  4. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    " Over the next 10 years twice as much material as usual will be transferred to The National Archives": see Kew Annual report for 2011-12, brief extract below.

    Herewith extracts from Kew Annual Reports written by each keeper ( three different individuals over the period 2007-2014) showing general trends and the important change from the 30 year rule to the 20 year rule.

    We are now very close to the time when "documents" that were "born digital" take over from pieces of paper. Or maybe not.

    This year, demand for our services by members of the public has reached record levels. 85.6 million documents from The National Archives’ historic collection of government records were accessed, either in person at our main site in Kew, or by downloading them electronically. That’s 2.7 documents accessed per second over the whole year. Or, to put it another way, approximately 1.4 documents per person in the UK.

    The website successfully handled over 11 million searches in its first week, and continues to be immensely popular. Such licensing partnerships have enabled us to make some of our most popular records available online, without investing additional public money, and have helped to nurture a thriving sector of the digital economy. In 2008-2009, over 112 million digital copies of our records were downloaded – 174 files were accessed online for every one document viewed in our reading rooms.

    We maintain one of the world’s oldest and most significant historical archival collections, holding records dating back to 974. We look after 11 million public records, from Domesday Book to government emails, preserving them, protecting them and making them accessible.

    Each year we take in thousands of government records of historical value. Records are usually transferred to us, or another place of deposit, by the time they are 30 years old under what is known as the ‘30-year rule’. At this point, unless a Freedom of Information Act exemption applies, the records are made available to the public. But, as a major part of the Government’s Transparency agenda, this rule is to be reduced to 20 years, which will create a significant cultural change across government. In 2011-12 we led work to develop the government-wide plan for the 10-year period, beginning in 2013, in which we will make the transition to the new rule. Over the next 10 years twice as much material as usual will be transferred to The National Archives, meaning we will need to catalogue and store double the usual number of new records and provide access to those of the additional records that are available for public release.

    On 1 January 2013 the new 20-year rule came into effect, reducing the period after which government records are normally opened to the public here at Kew. The change from 30 years to 20 years will be gradual, with a ten-year transition during which government departments will, each year, transfer to The National Archives two years’ worth of records rather than one. We have led the detailed planning for this transition, and in 2012-13 we:
    • Overhauled our collection policy, our processes for transferring records, and our guidance and training. The new arrangements give us a much clearer view of what records to expect and when, and they give departments clarity on what to do at each stage of the transfer process
    • Published, for the first time, data from government departments on the volume of records they hold, including the size of any backlogs and estimates
    of the number of records they expect to transfer to us. We will continue to publish this data twice a year until the transition has been completed and departments are compliant with the new rule
    • Started planning for a second ten-year transition, expected to begin in 2015, for bodies holding public records of local interest.

    In 2013-14, we provided more than 670,000 original records to people at our building in Kew, delivering these records from our repositories on average within 31 minutes of their order. Records we have made available online were downloaded more than 202 million times and our UK Government Web Archive was used by more than a million people every month. We answered 38,000 telephone enquiries and 36,000 written enquiries and continued to provide our popular Live Chat service, through which users can talk to our experts online. Following an inspection in September 2013, we were again awarded the Government’s Customer Service Excellence standard.

    We added 1.2 million new or improved catalogue descriptions to Discovery, our catalogue, and with help from our User Advisory Group, identified and implemented further improvements to Discovery. We also tested the addition to Discovery of more than 10 million descriptions of records held in other archives. This is an important step towards making Discovery the national resource for researchers looking for information about archival collections held throughout the country. We aim to launch the full service during 2014-15.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
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  5. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    In terms of shelving in kilometres Kew annual reports have given statements in the Accounts section and usually in the narrative.

    In 2005-6 it was in the Accounts:

    "1.2 Tangible fixed assets
    Tangible fixed assets other than land and buildings consist of computer hardware and software and office equipment. Computer software includes the capitalisation of costs relating to the development of databases such as Documents Online. Public records and other heritage assets held by The National Archives are not valued and capitalised. The records held by The National Archives span one thousand years and fill about 176 kilometres of shelving. They are held in many formats from medieval vellum and parchment to modern computer disks. They are made up of a variety of items ranging from traditional paper records to seals, maps, costumes, paintings, films, items of court evidence etc. Most of the records are unique and irreplaceable and have been preserved for their historical, legal and administrative value. These records have not been valued as it would be impractical to do so."

    In 2006-7 the figure of 176 kilometres remained the same.

    Not found for several years following.

    In 2011-12 in the narrative report it was 180 kilometres but then they found another 20 kilometres because in 2012-13:

    " Government records are currently selected for permanent preservation and sent to The National Archives by the time they are 30 years old, at which point they are usually released to the public; however, many are transferred earlier. A programme of work to implement the transition to releasing records by the time they are 20 years old commenced in January 2013. The records held by The National Archives span over 1,000 years and fill around 200 kilometres of shelving on site at Kew and at the Deepstore facility in Cheshire. They are held in many formats, from medieval vellum and parchment to computer disks and digital media. They are made up of a variety of items ranging from traditional paper records to seals, maps, costumes, paintings, films, items of court evidence, etc. The heritage assets can be placed in the categories of:
    • Files and paper documents
    • Electronic records and websites
    • Photographs and posters
    • Maps, plans and architectural drawings
    • Artefacts and historical items."

    Annual totals vary a lot ( all copied and pasted from each annual report, the sentence structure remains the same ).

    In the year to March 2011, we received records covering 865 metres of shelving (573 metres in 2009-10).

    In the year to March 2012, we received records covering 373 metres of shelving (865 metres in 2010- 11).

    In the year to March 2013, we received records covering 612 metres of shelving (373 metres in 2011-12).

    In the year to March 2014, we received records covering 882 metres of shelving (612 metres in 2012-13).

    In the year to March 2015, we received records covering 800 metres of shelving (882 metres in 2013-14).

    In the year to March 2016, we received records covering 899 metres of shelving (800 metres in 2014-15).

    In the year to March 2017, we received records covering 1,492 metres of shelving (899 metres in 2015-16).

    In the year to March 2018, we received records covering 1,663 metres of shelving (1,492 metres in 2016-17).

    In the year to March 2019, we received records covering 1,343 metres of shelving (1,663 metres in 2017-18).

    In the year to March 2020, we received records covering 2,018 metres of shelving (1,343 metres in 2018-19).

    Reminds me of an old departed friend who spent many years weeding sugar beet in Suffolk and who said the farmer was livid when he discovered how many links had been removed by the Ag. Labs . from the measuring chain, which started out at 22 yards, or a chain !
  6. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    NARA has a scheme which is a good idea.

    Citizen Archivist

    Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 19.43.44.png

    Anyone can do this, not just US citizens.

    Here's a good example: a letter written home from somebody working for the US Prosecution team just before the start of the trial, transcribed by a Citizen Archivist ( not me ).

    Small extract:

    " Friday night Senator Pepper gave a cocktail-buffet supper party - at his villa - practically a small castle - out in the country.
    He is staying for the opening of the trial.
    So I suppose when you have Senators here you hurry up the trial.
    Good liquor, good food and the same VIP'S - Biddle, Parker, Donovan, Jackson et al.
    Strictly American.
    Pepper amuses me - he is such a typical Senator - genial - talks a lot - and everyone kowtows.
    At the Justice's last Sunday he competed with music in the other room by telling of his visit to Stalin.
    Stalin said we must find a point of similarity, of common objectives, or something, between our peoples.
    He hesitated - and added (i.e. Stalin)

    "As Christ said, 'Seek & ye shall find'"

    Not a typical newspaper, Stalin story. "

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