New executive directors appointed to The National Archives

The National Archives is pleased to announce the appointments of two new executive directors: Dr Valerie Johnson as Director of Research and Collections, and John Sheridan as Digital Director. Both directors bring with them a wealth of experience from across a range of fields including academia and research, legislation, government, the public sector, and digital.

Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper, The National Archives says: ‘I am delighted with the permanent appointments of Dr Valerie Johnson and John Sheridan. Their skills and strengths have already shone through during their previous roles, and I look forward to continuing to work with them as we make our way on our strategic journey Archives Inspire.’

Dr Valerie Johnson, Director of Research and Collections

Portrait photograph of Dr Valerie Johnson

Dr Valerie Johnson, Director of Research and Collections

As Director of Research and Collections, Dr Valerie Johnson will be responsible for supporting and coordinating innovative research, conservation and cataloguing programmes that use our collections and enhance access. Alongside our leadership role for the archive sector, Valerie is also responsible for The National Archives’ active support for archives of all kinds, to secure the best possible long-term future for their collections and services. She aims to further The National Archives’ engagement and collaboration with researchers across the cultural heritage, higher education, academic and archive sectors.

Prior to this role, Valerie was Head of Research at The National Archives. She worked on a funded history project based at the University of Cambridge History Faculty, and holds an MA with Distinction in Archive Administration. She was awarded the Alexander R Myers Memorial Prize for Archive Administration, and won the Coleman Prize for her PhD thesis, ‘British Multinationals, Culture and Empire in the Early Twentieth Century’.

Valerie is a Registered Member of the Society of Archivists, a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Business Archives Council, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. She has worked as an archivist and historian in the academic, corporate and public sectors.

John Sheridan, Digital Director

Portrait photograph of John Sheridan

John Sheridan, Digital Director

As Digital Director, John will be responsible for our digital services, enabling The National Archives to fulfil its ambitions to become a digital archive by instinct and design. His role is to provide strategic direction, transform our digital offer, and to shape and drive forward our web-based services.

Prior to this role, John was Head of Legislation Services at The National Archives where he led the team responsible for creating the website, as well overseeing the operation of the official Gazette. A former co-chair of the W3C e-Government Interest Group, John has a strong interest in web and data standards. He serves on the UK Government’s Open Standards Board which sets data standards for use across government. John was an early pioneer of open data and remains active in that community.

John’s academic background is in mathematics and information technology, with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Southampton and a Master’s Degree in Information Technology from the University of Liverpool. John recently led, as Principal Investigator, an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project, ‘big data for law’, exploring the application of data analytics to the statute book, winning the Halsbury Legal Award for Innovation.

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