University Challenge

I’ve just googled ‘how many universities are there in the UK?’ and, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website, ‘there are over 300 institutions in the UCAS scheme including universities, colleges of higher education and further education colleges that offer HE courses’.  I’m hesitant to agree to visit them all but, nevertheless, the Research Team at The National Archives are keen to visit as many as is relevant and practicable to talk to staff and students about the work we do here.

We’ve already visited a number of universities over the past year and have presented on a number of different topics from the history of The National Archives and the Public Record Office to the challenges of developing a new catalogue.

Just a few weeks ago we were at the University of East Anglia presenting at an interdisciplinary post graduate research seminar on ‘The Archive’, in all its aspects from organisational to philosophical and critical approaches.  Organisers asked for more information about the ‘Digital Archive’ specifically so we were able to call upon the expertise of colleagues in the Digital Preservation department who came along with us to present.

So far we’ve presented at seminars across a number of fields: history, digital humanities, archives, information studies and interdisciplinary. We’re willing to fit in with the particular university and have previously carried out formal lectures, open IT labs, seminars and informal discussions. We have a wealth of information here that social scientists would find exciting too. We have excellent links with most history schools around the country but are eager to strengthen contacts with social science departments too.  If you’re a social scientist who would like to find out about the data we hold, do please get in touch.

These visits are useful for us too. It’s great to hear about the academic work that’s being carried out and the feedback we get on new services and ideas is always extremely valuable. It’s also worthwhile to catch up on possible research collaborations.

If you work or study at a university and think a visit from The National Archives would be beneficial, then please email and we can discuss details.

Another good way of keeping up-to-date with the work we do is to watch out for our research newsletters. The next newsletter will be live on our website soon.  Look out for articles on authoring opportunities at The National Archives, the BT archives digitisation project and a piece about some unusual finds in the archives, including an original portrait (graphite with details inked in) of Richard Cromwell whilst Lord Protector (E 407/182).

Richard Cromwell whilst Lord Protector (E 407/182

Richard Cromwell whilst Lord Protector (E 407/182


  1. Simon Fowler says:

    The Summer 2012 Research Newsletter is now on TNA website and is as always interesting reading.

    1. Ruth Ford (admin) says:

      Thanks Simon – Here is the research newsletter.

  2. PC says:

    You don’t mention making links or liaising with the University archivists, who would undoubtedly like to be informed of your visits and would want to participate in some way.

  3. Ruth Roberts says:

    Thanks for the comment.

    Yes, university archivists are always more than welcome to attend and participate in such visits.

    It’s worth mentioning that colleagues in the Archives Sector Development department have been looking at ways to engage with university archivists. Please keep an eye on our website for the refreshed Archives for the 21st Century action plan which will be published in the next few weeks.

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