Discovery is a portal to archival collections held within the UK and to many collections held internationally relating to the UK. It 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.
Manage Your Collections
We want to work 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.
Data within Discovery can be added to, updated and deleted by the relevant archives using the Manage Your Collections tool.
The service is now open to upload via Excel template. We are particularly interested in working with archives who do not currently have digital catalogues but are interested in publishing information about their collections through Discovery.
We will release new functionality to manage exporting from and indexing of large digital catalogues in the near future.
To request more information about Manage Your Collections, please email us.
If you are an archivist at a repository with an ARCHON code who wishes to set up an account within Manage Your Collections then:
- Take a look at the terms and conditions (PDF, 0.16MB)
- Register for a Discovery account
- Send us an email letting us know the username you signed up with and stating your agreement to the terms and conditions.
We will be in touch when your account is activated.
If your archive had data in the legacy A2A system, you will see these collections when you login to the system.
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 as a standalone database, the unique repository number used for ISAD(G) compliant cataloguing will continue to be used and 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 Archives Sector 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 work with the data in the future.