Academic engagement and research strategies

As part of a recent internal reorganisation, the research department has joined the Technology directorate, reporting to Dr David Thomas, expert in both history and technology. This is an exciting new change for the department, and in light of this move, we are currently working to revise and adapt The National Archives’ academic engagement and research strategies. These provide guidance for the research we undertake and inform collaborative work with the academic community.

Medieval seals feature among The National Archives' historical research priorities

The National Archives’ research strategy focuses around the following questions:

  • What is the nature of the digital archival record?
  • Has digital changed the needs, expectations and nature of research and user behaviour?
  • How can we develop and exploit digital information extraction tools to help support digital selection and digital sensitivity review?
  • Can we develop Open Data models to provide better-quality, authentic and trusted data for use and re-use?

We have a number of current and potential projects that focus on addressing these questions, so following the move, we will be consulting as to whether we need to update the priorities to reflect newly emerging challenges facing The National Archives.

Underlying the strategic research priorities, The National Archives also has two other strands of priorities, which reflect the broad range of work we do. The organisational research priorities encapsulate the key priorities for each department across The National Archives. The historical research priorities were produced by the records specialists in the Advice and Records Knowledge department to guide our involvement in collaborative projects and studentships.

We are also looking to refresh our academic engagement strategy. In particular, we would welcome wider input to help us focus on areas of importance to academics and researchers. Specifically, we would like to find out more about:

  • What the academic community needs from The National Archives
  • What the academic community needs from academic liaison
  • What services researchers would like to see offered by The National Archives

Please let us know what you would like to see in an academic strategy from The National Archives by contacting us at or by leaving a comment below. We will keep you updated with how these are developing and they will be available on the research page of our website soon.


  1. David Underdown says:

    Interestingly, this post Where is the Applied Digital Preservation Research? appeared on the Library of Congress’s digital preservation blog, “The Signal” earlier in the week

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