Contributing to our resources

Discovery now incorporates data from the National Register of Archives (NRA), Directory of Archives (ARCHON), Access to Archives (A2A) and the Manorial Documents Register (MDR) and replaces them.

One of the long-term benefits of developing Discovery is the opportunity to improve the way we update and manage the records information provided to us by other archives. Our ways of working need to change to deliver the vision of providing a single point of online access to catalogue and organisational data from across the archive sector through Discovery.

We are developing a set of administrative tools for Discovery, which will enable us to curate data here at The National Archives and provide mechanisms for manual or automated data contribution from other archives. We will improve the ways we can take in full catalogues, summary accession and collection level content, name authorities and Manorial Documents Register data.

We will be working with archives to develop new and improved ways in which they can share their records information with us, and discuss strategies to ensure that Discovery is the most comprehensive resource possible. While we build these tools, we will continue to update the information held within Discovery and make new content available within the constraints of continuing technical development.

Records and record creator data

Prior to Discovery, we gathered catalogues in numerous ways and made descriptions of the same records available via different services including the NRA and A2A. Discovery will simplify the process of providing this data to The National Archives through a tool for archives to provide new and revised catalogues.

During this time, we will not be updating data which was originally gathered and hosted on A2A. We will, however, continue to take in both paper and electronic catalogues to update records, links to online catalogues and record creator information in Discovery.

Manorial Documents Register in Discovery

The Manorial Documents Register (MDR) is an index to English and Welsh manorial records, providing brief descriptions of documents and details of their locations in public and private hands. It is partially computerised improving both the quality and quantity of the available information and providing wider access to this resource. The remaining non-computerised English counties are available in hard copy format in the Map and Large Document Reading Room at The National Archives.

The Register is now available within Discovery and a Manorial Documents Register search tool has been developed.

We will continue to take in information which will allow us to provide accurate and up to date information about manorial records and their locations. Any change in ownership of manorial records must be notified to the Secretary of the Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC) and Head of Archives Sector Development at The National Archives by the new owner, as stated in the Manorial Document Rules.

Find an archive

Prior to Discovery, contact and access information for over 3,000 UK and international archival repositories was made available via ARCHON, the online directory of contact and access details. This information can now be searched via the Find an Archive tool and is also used in Discovery to describe the location of records.

You can use this form for updating and creating pages via Discovery. Although ARCHON is now closed, the unique repository number used for ISAD(G) compliant cataloguing will continue to be known as an ARCHON code.

Please note that all changes to information made available in Discovery will take at least 24 hours to be displayed.


You can contact the team by email, or write to us to discuss the best way to provide collections information or with corrections, amendments or new additions to Discovery, including Find an Archive and the Manorial Documents Register at The National Archives. Please use the address: Archives Sector Development, The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.

Accessions to Repositories

We are continuing to collect information from repositories about new collections as part of the Accessions to Repositories survey. For up to date information about this year’s survey, please visit the project page on our website.

Updating the Hospital Records Database

The Hospital Records Database (HOSPREC) is not currently included in Discovery but we are looking at ways to incorporate the data in the future. While it remains separate from Discovery, it will not be possible to update the information it contains.