Sharp-eyed visitors to The National Archives website will have spotted some big changes last week. For the first time since the website was launched in this form, we have added a new headline section. The bright green Archives Sector section now joins About Us, Records, Information Management and Shop Online.
This is a really important change for us, a key step on the path we are taking as we develop our role as archive sector leaders for England. The new section is designed to support archive services and their funders to develop and improve provision across the entire sector. That means more sustainable services, excellent preservation for the future, and increasing the options and quality of access to archives for all users.
This isn’t totally new ground for The National Archives. We’ve long had a major role in sector support, and a lot of the initial content for this section is drawn from the Information Management section of our own website. (Information Management is the blue section of nationalarchives.gov.uk, hence the title of this post; though the fact I’m being a bridesmaid in a couple of weeks seems also to be influencing my blog titles.) We have also transferred valuable content over from the now-closed website of the Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).
But the way the Archives Sector site has been built and will develop was a new challenge. We didn’t start from the point of ‘how do we display the information we already have?’, but from the point of ‘what do we eventually want this website to do?’ And that applied even when it meant we needed to include space for areas where we don’t currently have much content. We’ve been quite open about that, as you will see when exploring the site. Development plans stretch well into the future.
So what you see today isn’t the finished article: we will keep on refreshing and updating the content, including more and more contributions from across the archives sector. For example, we have some case studies, and links to a range of archive blogs but we’re keen to keep on growing these sections. Guidance and content will develop as we build the support for major pieces of work like archives accreditation and our engagement approach to the sector, helping archives to strengthen, develop and adapt.
We’d love to hear your feedback on this new section as it now is, and how you would like it to develop to support the sector. And of course, do let us know if you have a piece of work you would like us to feature as a case study, blog or other item to share with the archives sector.