Catalogue Day 2020 at The National Archives

The final Friday in November traditionally marks the annual Catalogue Day at The National Archives. Indeed, 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of this popular event, where family historians, academics, researchers and archival and information professionals gather to hear about cataloguing projects and initiatives taking place at Kew. 

As we found ourselves in uncharted territory this year, it soon became clear that a physical event at The National Archives would not be possible. With this in mind, the decision was taken to re-think the event and provide an online Catalogue Day as an alternative, and our first ‘digital’ Catalogue Day was born!

We’ve drawn together five presentations describing a range of cataloguing and digital initiatives currently running or recently completed at The National Archives, and, as in previous recent years, we have an external contribution from a colleague from the University of Leeds.

Presentations appear in a number of formats: as videos, Powerpoint presentations and blogs, and cover a fascinating selection of projects and initiatives running across The National Archives.


Chancery Division of the High Court – Legal records of the 1870s

In his blog entry ‘Chancery Division of the High Court – Legal records of the 1870s’, Nigel Taylor focuses on Chancery Division pleadings in J 54 and provides an overview of the content and type of  material held in the series, along with references to individual cases found in related Chancery division records.

Read the blog post


The Ecclesiastical Census of 1851

‘The Ecclesiastical Census of 1851’, presented by Audrey Collins, describes the transcription of records from digital microfilm in HO 129. The transcription, undertaken by off-site volunteers, is the first indexing project to use a third-party site.    


WO 25 and WO 76: Re-cataloguing names of officers

Keith Mitchell discusses the re-cataloguing of British Army Officers records of services from WO 25 and WO 76, correcting and enhancing the current cataloguing of records from series using a web-based volunteer base.


Project Omega: Envisioning a new cataloguing system for The National Archives

Faith Lawrence discusses how Project Omega aims to develop a working proof of concept for a new system for managed catalogue data at The National Archives, utilising modern technology. Faith discusses how we aim to provide a clear technology direction for managing the catalogue in her presentation ‘Project Omega: Envisioning a new cataloguing system for The National Archives’.


‘State Papers Domestic, George II’ volunteering project

In ‘State Papers Domestic, George II’, Ralph Thompson describes a volunteer project cataloguing the final tranche of these papers. The project ultimately created full-item numbered descriptions for the remaining 57 pieces, filling in the gaps for this period in Georgian history, and is now available to view on Discovery.


Putting Special Collections on the map

Finally, our external contributor Caroline Bolton, archivist at the Special Collections department at the University of Leeds, presents ‘Putting Special Collections on the Map’. Using Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture (LAVC) as a case study, Caroline shares the approach taken to convert ‘place’ in their catalogue records into geo-referenced metadata, enabling them to be visualised on an interactive map.


We hope you enjoy the variety of presentations available and the subjects discussed. The content will remain on our website for you to revisit and, of course, we welcome your feedback and thoughts. Hopefully we will be able to meet again next year for our traditional physical event at Kew!

In the meantime, I would like to thank all the presenters for their contributions and ongoing engagement with Catalogue Day. And of course, a big thank you to all our volunteers who continue to carry out fantastic work, at a time that has been very difficult for so many. Your contributions are, as always, much appreciated.

Jane Langford is Senior Archivist, Cataloguing, Data and Taxonomy at The National Archives.

1 comments

  1. Jane Henderson says:

    Thank you so much for putting this together – really interesting presentations.

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