Colleagues at The National Archives are busy people! Not only are they working hard to select, preserve and make accessible the public record, they’re also carrying out research and publishing it.
Our business plan sets out our core functions but it’s research that underpins everything we do. Research is essential to ensure that we are moving in the right direction and constantly improving and innovating.
Previous blogs have outlined the many different types of research we get involved in. Disseminating research findings can be done in different ways; nowadays websites, twitter feeds, blogs, the media and even Youtube are all used to publicise research. However, staff at The National Archives are dedicated to publicising via the more traditional academic routes too:
- book chapters
- essays or articles in books
- journal articles
- published lectures
- Conference papers
- electronic publications
In 2009, to celebrate and recognise the research that colleagues do, we decided to launch The National Archives Research Prize. The Prize is in recognition of the most outstanding peer-reviewed article or book chapter written by a member of staff.
Because The National Archives is a leader across a wide range of fields, it was decided to have two categories for the Prize: interpretative research (into the records); and applied research (solving a ‘how-to’ problem, such as assessing the reaction of materials to different environmental conditions, or how to appraise digital records). The breadth of work we do at The National Archives can be seen from entrants for last year’s prize, which covers research on a breathtaking array of subjects, from Medieval history to environmental conditions, and from digitisation to Parents and Children in Second World War Germany: An Inter generational Perspective on Wartime Separation.
Last year’s winners were James Ross (interpretative category) and Kostas Ntanos (applied category) for the following publications:
J Ross, ‘The de Vere Family and the House of York, c.1440-1485’ in Richard III and East Anglia, ed. L. Visser-Fuchs (2010), pp. 47-66.
K Ntanos et al, ‘Volatile aldehydes in libraries and archives’, Atmospheric Environment, vol 44, issue 17, June 2010
James and Kostas were presented their prizes by the members of the Lord Chancellor’s Forum on Historical Manuscripts and Academic Research.
We’re currently organising this year’s Prize which will be for publications from 2011. We have a panel of three external judges in place and will be announcing the opening for entries in the next few days. I’ll reveal the winners in a future blog.