The National Archives’ Library

Between 3-6 February we are holding a series of library-related talks to mark National Libraries Day, which is on Saturday 7 February. Alongside the rich archival holdings of The National Archives there is a wonderful research library that is accessible to all.  It contains thousands of printed and online sources that compliment and support research into the archives.

Banner used for National Libraries Day

National Libraries Day banner

Sometimes people are surprised to learn that there is a library at The National Archives and may ask what its purpose is. The National Archives’ Library is a specialist library that is distinctive because it is a library collection (containing published sources) within an archive. It is also a research level library that is freely available to the public. Unlike similar libraries, the majority of the collection is on open access and can be browsed.

Programme of Reception at the Public Record Office, 26 October 1938 – Library reference 027.041 PRO

Programme of Reception at the Public Record Office, 26 October 1938 – Library reference 027.041 PRO

There has been a library here since the organisation was founded as the Public Record Office in the middle of the 19th century.  For most of its history it was a research library for the staff but since 1997 it has been available for any user of The National Archives to use. It incorporates two early collections that pre-date the Public Record Office; that of the Record Commission, which provided its original nucleus, and that of the State Paper Office, which was absorbed into the new Public Record Office building in Chancery Lane in 1854.

Often the best place to start research is with published sources, to find out what has already been published on a topic, and also to gather bibliographic and archival references. For this reason, when considering a book for acquisition for the library we look to see whether The National Archives’ document references have been included. The library collection at The National Archives includes printed materials published from the 16th century onwards. It consists of primary published sources, such as annual directories, several of which date back to the 18th century. These are useful for looking up individuals, particularly from professions or occupations. For example the earliest Army List that we hold is dated 1740. All our 18th century Army Lists are available online via Discovery.

Title page of 1863 facsimile of Little Domesday Book – Library reference FAC 0.01*

Title page of 1863 facsimile of Little Domesday Book – Library reference FAC 0.01*

Many books contain transcriptions or summaries of documents, both here and in other archives, for example the publications of local record societies. There are also facsimile copies of some documents including Domesday Book, which has been published in various formats since the 18th century. All of these can be used as surrogates for the original documents and help to protect them from overuse.

The library also provides secondary published sources, including journals and online resources, that provide contextual or background information on the wide range of subjects covered by the archival record. All this information is readily available alongside the raw archival material and books can be taken into the document reading rooms to use at the same time as reading the archives.

I am interested in the provenance of the books in our library collection. When cataloguing material we look for any information on the book that may provide clues to former owners, including bookplates, signatures and inscriptions, and library stamps. We have recently started identifying the books that were previously part of the State Paper Office by their library stamp and noting this in the library catalogue.

New books are regularly acquired either by purchase or donation. You can see a monthly display of new material in the Library including current issues of academic journals; the list of new acquisitions is also available on the online library catalogue.

Subjects covered include histories of government departments, work on the military forces, politics and government, social and economic history, the intelligence agencies, public history, trade and commerce, transport, the history and working of the English law courts, and British policy overseas.

A selection of online resources is available via the eLibrary including full text of parliamentary papers, newspapers online, and digitised collections of records such as the Adam Matthew archives collection and State Papers Online. A number of journals are also available online. The eLibrary is available onsite only and can be found on the public computers in the reading rooms.

The library at The National Archives

The library at The National Archives

Any visitor to The National Archives can browse the open access shelves in the Library. A reader’s ticket is required for access to the rare books collection and a small amount of material is stored offsite, but can be retrieved within three working days upon request. The Library catalogue is available online through The National Archives’ website.

The holdings of the Library can also be searched via the universal library catalogue Copac. We have also just become the 100th library to have its periodical holdings added to the universal catalogue SUNCAT.

This week there are several talks about specific aspects of the library collection – e-resources, published sources for First World War family history and a selection of early printed books published before 1800. For more information see the Events page on the website. If you have not had the opportunity to use the library before why not come along and have a browse.

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5 comments

  1. Susanah Farmer says:

    Can fully recommend this wonderful resource

  2. fangruida says:

    -Significant impact on the world history of natural science discovered the laws of science and Prospects ——- human history of civilization in the history of natural science(Fangruida/ kall.bert)
    Archives, libraries, museums, historical development of mankind in the world have a great role in the spread of missionary heritage and influence. Those who have information on human written records of its unique historical value. Library of Congress, National Archives, the British Library, the British archives, Nobel exhibition halls, art galleries and other United Nations libraries, archives and other United Nations and the world’s Library and Archives, and so on.

    Human history, including the history of the evolution of apes still have a few hundred million years old. The natural history of the universe is clearly far more than the entire history of human society. Major discoveries of natural science major inventions revolutionized and rewrite the entire history of mankind, these are no doubt, no doubt. Gunpowder, the compass, the steam engine, the atomic bomb, tubes, aircraft spacecraft, and so people are very familiar with computers and the popularity of daily use. Significant discoveries of natural science, too, a significant impact on the entire world and shocking impetus. Scientific discovery scientific theorem laws of science, is not only very important to clarify and reveal the nature of the core principle is more important is to prove scientifically proven scientific laws empirical discovery practice, and in order to derive or draw science and human epistemology and conscious mind, and then understanding of nature, the universe and human beings and the natural environment in which the history of substance. In this sense, scientific discoveries and scientific inventions very significant change and social significance, is not surprising.
    Newton’s Laws of Motion
    Microorganism
    Penicillin (penicillin)
    Germ theory
    Mendel’s laws of inheritance
    Earth say (heliocentric)
    Periodic Table
    Mass-energy exchange law
    General relativity theory of species evolution (natural selection)

    Newton’s theorem (affecting the world’s major law)
    Darwin’s theory of evolution (the biosphere)

    Cell theory (biology)

    Copernicus’s heliocentric (astronomy, cosmic)
    Romon Ivanov periodic table

    Plate theory (Earth, tectonic)

    Gene theory (helical structure)

    Atomic theory atomic theory,

    Relativistic quantum mechanics

    Kepler’s three laws (astronomy, the universe)

    The Big Bang Theory (astronomy, cosmology, physics)

    Ultra-spin of the ultra-spin vector field games, super roton law (super spin vector, super swirling and gravitational field, particles, antimatter, dark matter, cosmic interstellar matter, etc., of the universe initial state, the ground state, modal, final state, ultra-spin potential and super spin of the particle, the big bang, gravity, transportation of interstellar matter)

    Jupiter center distance theory (the solar system, the Milky Way, the Earth-Moon, Jupiter, galaxies, the universe)

    Reflex arc gene superconducting law (human brain system genes superconducting systems, the human brain thinking and brain structure of higher nervous activity)

    Time and space easily cut down model (time, space, easy to cut, forward and inverse sequence of time and space)

    The evolution of life and play into a composite hybrid orbital theory (evolution of life multidimensional hybrid evolution because evolution into polylactic, genes)

    Faraday. Maxwell, Pol, and so on. Of course, there are many important discoveries major inventions of mathematical formulas, and more importantly, did not elaborate, it may leak a hang Wan. For example, the Nobel Prize and Distinguished Scientist Finnish Millennium Technology Prize, and so listed and major discoveries of major inventions.

    21-22 century, will usher in a new upsurge in the world scientific and technological revolution. High-tech, cutting-edge technology, increasingly developed and developing. With the passage of the times, the rapid development of society, aerospace, biotechnology, materials technology, mechatronics, energy technology, electronics technology, marine technology, and so will be in large numbers. Of course, the attendant is in physics, astronomy, biology, geology, chemistry, mathematics, cosmology, planets science and other major development, progress, discoveries and breakthroughs. New theories, new discoveries, new hypothesis will appear in the various fields of natural science and cutting-edge.Advance to change the world and human history of major scientific and technological inventions to create ——- found who can turn things around, change the world, to become a great new world dominate the future? ? Disruptive natural structural changes or revolutions, will cause widespread human society and world history and profound social change. Changes in society and history, the most powerful nuclear force, the power of God, the power of God, the universe roaring force, mainly by the rapid development of the productive forces of human society, the social and economic structure of the high-end, cutting-edge technology, sudden change, wisdom chemical industry, agriculture wisdom, the wisdom of business, intelligence-based technology, especially producers, production tools, violent or revolutionary changes in the relations of production, traction wheels of history turn to fly.

    -Significant impact on the world history of natural science discovered the laws of science and Prospects ——- human history of civilization in the history of natural science
    Human history, including the history of the evolution of apes still have a few hundred million years old. The natural history of the universe is clearly far more than the entire history of human society. Major discoveries of natural science major inventions revolutionized and rewrite the entire history of mankind, these are no doubt, no doubt. Gunpowder, the compass, the steam engine, the atomic bomb, tubes, aircraft spacecraft, and so people are very familiar with computers and the popularity of daily use. Significant discoveries of natural science, too, a significant impact on the entire world and shocking impetus. Scientific discovery scientific theorem laws of science, is not only very important to clarify and reveal the nature of the core principle is more important is to prove scientifically proven scientific laws empirical discovery practice, and in order to derive or draw science and human epistemology and conscious mind, and then understanding of nature, the universe and human beings and the natural environment in which the history of substance. In this sense, scientific discoveries and scientific inventions very significant change and social significance, is not surprising.
    Newton’s Laws of Motion
    Microorganism
    Penicillin (penicillin)
    Germ theory
    Mendel’s laws of inheritance
    Earth say (heliocentric)
    Periodic Table
    Mass-energy exchange law
    General relativity theory of species evolution (natural selection)

    Newton’s theorem (affecting the world’s major law)
    Darwin’s theory of evolution (the biosphere)

    Cell theory (biology)

    Copernicus’s heliocentric (astronomy, cosmic)
    Romon Ivanov periodic table

    Plate theory (Earth, tectonic)

    Gene theory (helical structure)

    Atomic theory atomic theory,

    Relativistic quantum mechanics

    Kepler’s three laws (astronomy, the universe)

    The Big Bang Theory (astronomy, cosmology, physics)

    Ultra-spin of the ultra-spin vector field games, super roton law (super spin vector, super swirling and gravitational field, particles, antimatter, dark matter, cosmic interstellar matter, etc., of the universe initial state, the ground state, modal, final state, ultra-spin potential and super spin of the particle, the big bang, gravity, transportation of interstellar matter)

    Jupiter center distance theory (the solar system, the Milky Way, the Earth-Moon, Jupiter, galaxies, the universe)

    Reflex arc gene superconducting law (human brain system genes superconducting systems, the human brain thinking and brain structure of higher nervous activity)

    Time and space easily cut down model (time, space, easy to cut, forward and inverse sequence of time and space)

    The evolution of life and play into a composite hybrid orbital theory (evolution of life multidimensional hybrid evolution because evolution into polylactic, genes)

    Faraday. Maxwell, Pol, and so on. Of course, there are many important discoveries major inventions of mathematical formulas, and more importantly, did not elaborate, it may leak a hang Wan. For example, the Nobel Prize and Distinguished Scientist Finnish Millennium Technology Prize, and so listed and major discoveries of major inventions.

    21-22 century, will usher in a new upsurge in the world scientific and technological revolution. High-tech, cutting-edge technology, increasingly developed and developing. With the passage of the times, the rapid development of society, aerospace, biotechnology, materials technology, mechatronics, energy technology, electronics technology, marine technology, and so will be in large numbers. Of course, the attendant is in physics, astronomy, biology, geology, chemistry, mathematics, cosmology, planets science and other major development, progress, discoveries and breakthroughs. New theories, new discoveries, new hypothesis will appear in the various fields of natural science and cutting-edge.
    (Fangruida //kall)

  3. WILLIAMS...JD says:

    The previous post reads like the outpourings of a person addicted to psychobabble.
    The fact that the long rambling spiel repeats itself does nothing to improve our comprehension. Cyberspace is full of enough drivel without adding to it in this esteemed forum.
    Give us a break, for gawd’s sake.

    “The evolution of life and play into a composite hybrid orbital theory (evolution of life multidimensional hybrid evolution because evolution into polylactic, genes)”

    “Human history, including the history of the evolution of apes still have a few hundred million years old. The natural history of the universe is clearly far more than the entire history of human society. Major discoveries of natural science major inventions revolutionized and rewrite the entire history of mankind, these are no doubt, no doubt. Gunpowder, the compass, the steam engine, the atomic bomb, tubes, aircraft spacecraft, and so people are very familiar with computers and the popularity of daily use. Significant discoveries of natural science, too, a significant impact on the entire world and shocking impetus. Scientific discovery scientific theorem laws of science, is not only very important to clarify and reveal the nature of the core principle is more important is to prove scientifically proven scientific laws empirical discovery practice, and in order to derive or draw science and human epistemology and conscious mind, and then understanding of nature, the universe and human beings and the natural environment in which the history of substance. In this sense, scientific discoveries and scientific inventions very significant change and social significance, is not surprising.”

    Got to go and have a little lie down now.

    Williams JD . . .Cambridge, TASMANIA

  4. Alexa Phillips says:

    Thank you for your contributions, I’d just like to remind everyone of our moderation policy for commenting on the blog:

    http://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/moderation-policy/

    Thanks,

    Alexa

  5. Sylvia Namujuzi says:

    This is interesting i wish everybody can embrace the importance of the history in the archives.

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