Current opportunities

The National Archives offers the following volunteering opportunities:

  • remote projects
  • on site projects
  • projects involving online collaboration – you do not need to contact us to take part in these activities

Get started using the links below.

To find out more about upcoming opportunities, sign up for The National Archives’ free newsletter. You can contact volunteer@nationalarchives.gov.uk if you would like to get involved.

You can also read more about other volunteering projects happening at The National Archives now and the experiences of our volunteers.

Remote projects

Royal Navy First World War Lives at Sea

We are currently running a joint collaboration between the National Maritime Museum and the National Archives, with the generous support of the Crew List Index Project team, to recreate the crew lists of Royal Navy ships for the First World War from service records of Officers and Ratings.

The project’s aims are to identify from service records which officers and ratings served in the First World War, their date and place of birth, their occupation prior to joining the Royal Navy, names and dates of ships, submarines, shore establishment served in during their service, together with their ranks or ratings, what battles they served in and cause and date of discharge.

The project team are looking for more volunteers to ‘work from home’ to create this online resource to be hosted by the National Maritime Museum.

If you would like to volunteer to help us with this project by transcribing these service records please get in contact at crewlists@nationalarchives.gov.uk

Onsite projects at Kew

Royal Marines Description Books and Service Records 1750 – 1925

Do you have time to spare to help us make available the names and service records of thousands of Royal Marines from 1750 onwards?  These records have not been transcribed and are a valuable insight into those who served with the Corps.

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We are currently looking for six volunteers to help us transcribe these Royal Marine records that are otherwise difficult to access and impossible to search by name.

You will be working across two distinct projects that both have the same outcome and you’ll need to be:

  • confident on a computer
  • not scared of old handwriting and
  • can spare us at least 4 hours a week on a Thursday or Friday here at The National Archives.

Full training will be given. If you think this project is for you then please get in touch to register your interest: volunteer@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk

We will then send you a trial transcript so you can see for yourself what is involved.

Projects involving online collaboration

  • Help us to describe our records online. We are encouraging users to help tag and contribute to our records, both in our online catalogue, Discovery, and on other interfaces such as the photo-sharing website Flickr.
  • Operation War Diary – take part in this innovative crowdsourcing project by reading recently digitised First World War diaries and tagging key pieces of information on each page. A ten-minute tutorial gives a step by step guide of what to look for, including people and activites described in the diaries, and instructions on how to tag this data. The volunteer Citizen Historians involved in this project will unlock this important information, enabling family historians and academic researchers to search the diaries by name and place. This project is being run in conjunction with the Imperial War Museums (IWM) and crowd-sourcing experts Zooniverse.
  • Discovery – the introduction of a tagging tool to Discovery allows users to assign key words or phrases to our records, helping other users to find records that they previously wouldn’t have identified. As much of the catalogue data also uses older language to describe our records, tagging presents the opportunity to refresh and modernise some of this language, making it relevant to today’s users. This will lay the foundations for future developments, such as adding user-generated content to catalogue descriptions and tagging records with location information.
  • Through a lens – our ‘Through a lens’ series has seen the publication on Flickr of the CO 1069 series of photographs, providing online access to thousands of photographs previously only available at Kew. This has given users the opportunity to engage with our records, to tag and contribute comments and suggestions to help improve catalogue descriptions and geographical references. Our ultimate intention is to extract these contributions from Flickr and add them to our catalogue. Building on the success of our Africa through a lens project in 2011, and the Your Caribbean Heritage cataloguing project, our wider Caribbean through a lens project seeks to build relationships with under-represented communities regionally and engage with non-traditional audiences of archives. Contribute to our collections on Flickr now.