The National Archives has been collecting records of archival collections from across the UK since the 19th century. In 2017, with the launch of Manage Your Collections, we significantly improved the scope of this activity by giving archive services the ability to create and manage their own digital catalogue content in Discovery. Archives can create structured content – compliant with international cataloguing and data standards – with an easy-to-use Excel template. By contributing to the most comprehensive research tool for finding archives in the UK, archives are able to significantly widen access to their collections and promote them to new and existing audiences.
Key new feature
We are delighted to announce the latest version of Manage Your Collections (MYC) is now live. One of the key features of this new release is the ability for archives to edit their catalogue records straight from a web browser in Discovery. Previously, even to correct just a small typing error, it was necessary download the entire collection, make the change and re-upload the collection. We have significantly improved the workflow of this process with this new feature, which also offers the efficiency of seeing the changes reflected in Discovery immediately.
While this new feature will benefit all MYC users, it may be of particular interest to archives who contributed catalogues during the Access to Archives (A2A) programme. We recognise that A2A descriptions can be outdated and we are pleased to be able to offer an initial solution to manage this data more effectively. Users now have the ability to edit, add and remove these descriptions easily as they see fit.
An end-to-end offering for smaller services
With the release of the editing feature in Discovery, we are now able to offer a complete service for smaller archive services. Smaller archives or community-led services often do not have the infrastructure or means to get their catalogue descriptions online. Manage Your Collections is an ideal solution to help fill that gap and increase visibility of collections, providing an end-to-end cataloguing solution. Users can catalogue directly using our Excel template and upload to MYC. Once in Discovery, users can manage their collections data with ease using the new editing feature – fixing typos, adding information or deleting records as required. They can also export the resulting data as Encoded Archival Description (EAD), which can then be moved seamlessly into other systems such as the Archives Hub.
Manage Your Collections offers a solution ideal for a smaller service that does not have the budget to purchase a content management system, or that lacks the IT support to help implement and manage a CMS and online collections portal. Less-experienced users, or those embarking on archival cataloguing for the first time, may also find our new guidance helpful, particularly as it links out to practical advice and examples from across the sector and touches on topics like developing a hierarchical structure for your catalogue.
We are pleased that we already have a smaller service using MYC to get catalogues of their collections online. Sherborne Museum, having recently undertaken a collections review, made the decision to work towards increasing visibility and accessibility to their collections and chose MYC to get their archive collections online.
Work continues behind the scenes
We are continuing work on Manage Your Collections and improving our offer to archives. One of the features we are working on – which we hope to release later this year – is an EAD import from common archival content management systems. This will enable archives to export an EAD catalogue from their CMS and upload it straight into MYC. We believe this will be of significant benefit to larger archives with catalogues of such size that the Excel template is not an appropriate solution.
If you are an archive service interested in finding out more about Manage Your Collections, please see the ‘Contributing to our resources’ page on our website or email the Manage Your Collections team at firstname.lastname@example.org.