Archives Revealed – a new funding programme

I am delighted to announce the launch today of Archives Revealed  in partnership with The Pilgrim Trust.   This is a brand new funding programme,  with £200,000 per year over three years, building on the success of the National Cataloguing Grants Programme.

We all know the value of archives – they engage communities, create new knowledge and hold governments to account. However, for archives to be used, and useful, they must be discoverable to those who want to use them.    It is only then that these bundles of papers and series’ of bytes become rich sources of ideas, stories, evidence and memories.

Archives Revealed offers two types of grants. Larger grants of up to £40,000 will support projects that will improve access to important collections. Smaller scoping grants of up to £3,000 will be available to help plan  future cataloguing projects.  This will allow a broader range of archives to move more quickly towards cataloguing their material.

We are delighted that The Pilgrim Trust have renewed their commitment to supporting this work for the next three years. Archives Revealed will open up even more of our rich documentary heritage. For more information, go to  www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archives-sector/finding-funding/archives-revealed/

5 comments

  1. David Matthew says:

    Whilst this funding (although not that big) it is disappointing to see that TNA’s own collection is sorely missing cataloguing and the hours spent trying to find if a document even exists. Researchers have been asking about Treasury records cataloguing since about 1960 and nothing has changed.

  2. Jone Garmendia says:

    There is a lot that has been done and is being done both by staff, volunteers and academics in this area. For example, in the last financial year (2016-2017) over 1.3 million new or enhanced catalogue descriptions for TNA’s records were made available online. A list of the cataloguing projects completed by March 2017 is available at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/our-role/plans-policies-performance-and-projects/our-projects/cataloguing-projects/cataloguing-projects-2016-17/
    Among the projects mentioned in the online cataloguing report you will find a reference to 216 pieces of Treasury correspondence for the year 1909, which were catalogued from an unpublished finding aid using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. The project unearthed a number of items which were not included in the finding aid but were found through the thorough document checking carried out by a colleague in Collections Expertise and Engagement.

    Jone Garmendia, Head of Cataloguing

  3. David Matthew says:

    Jone,

    Thanks. As far as Treasury goes 1909 it is a drop in the ocean as there are over 100 years (minimum) that have not been catalogued (about 250,000 entries) and of course it does depend on the accuracy and coverage of unpublished Finding Aids. There is a lot of material from the Victorian age which currently is hard to find, e.g. on David Livingstone. A lot of Treasury files run for about three years and so the fact they end in, say, 1909 (but include papers beck to 1907) does not mean that when you look, for example, in 1907 you will find it, because it is not catalogued as such (this also applies to cataloguing that was done for the late 1870s and early 1880s) many years ago by the PRO. An example is one entry now in the catalogue “IRELAND: Land Acts : Land Loan Services; schedule number 769. Applications by 5 [named] applicants amounting to £360”, i.e. who are the named applicants? and there are other such instances where researchers may be interested in the names. It is disappointing to find that the first entry talks about HMA “Dreadnaught”, it is of course HMS “Dreadnought”, one of the best-known naval ships.

  4. David Matthew says:

    I should have said HMS “Dreadnaught”. Incidentally the link says that T 1 is searchable from 1909-1946, actually there are only a few entries that run beyond 1920 when T 1 (Treasury Board: papers and files) was closed down (Treasury registration reorganisation of 8 June 1920) and continued in T 160-T 164 inclusive, as I mentioned at a talk about Treasury records a few months ago.

    1. Jone Garmendia says:

      David,

      Just a couple of points as the subject of this blog is a cataloguing funding programme for archives across the wider sector.
      You can interpret our Treasury project as a drop in the ocean or as a significant step to improve catalogue data using new technologies. Secondly, cataloguing is about providing sufficient and adequate descriptions for researchers to identify files they may want to access. Yes, certain information is hard to find, even with the best catalogue in the world and we in the UK certainly have one of the best. The further detail around the typo and searchability will be looked at.
      Jone

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