What is the Finding Archives project?
For the last 18 months we have been working on Finding Archives which is part of the Discovery project. Finding Archives focuses on the bringing together information describing records held in other archives with the information about The National Archives records so that users can access this in one place, simply and easily-a ‘one stop shop’ for access to records relating to UK history wherever they are held.
Finding Archives focuses on the National Register of Archives (NRA), Manorial Documents Register (MDR), ARCHON Directory, Access to Archives (A2A), Accessions to Repositories and the Hospital Records Database (HOSPREC). These services currently provide descriptive and access information about millions of records held in over 2500 archives in the UK and overseas. At the moment, Discovery displays The National Archives’ catalogue data and digital records. The value of combining Finding Archives data with information about over 20 million records held at The National Archives is enormous.
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Did you know there are beakers and high-tech equipment for scientific analysis here at The National Archives?
I know that the image of a scientific laboratory is quite at odds with the images that normally pop into your head when you hear the word ‘archive’, but all the same they are vital to the work that conservators undertake here every day.
Our conservation lab provides the facilities for us to evaluate materials for use in conservation, to prepare materials for use in conservation treatments and to carry out those conservation treatments that require the use of chemicals in a safe environment. To give you a little taste of the many things we do in the lab, here are a couple of examples of some of the material testing we’ve been up to lately:
Should we replace those old map folders?
Beakers of paper samples for pH testing
As part of making a case for a re-housing project, one of our conservators is pH testing both the existing map folder materials and the new material she suggests it is replaced with. This will enable her to quantify the benefits of the project. If the current material is significantly acidic, and the new material shows an alkaline buffer, it can help give a justification for her choices in the project.
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