The National Archives maintains a number of resources providing information about records held elsewhere. Contributing to these resources can expose your collections to new audiences and help us to document the location of surviving archival material.

Since 2011 we have been working on Discovery which now provides a single point of online access to catalogue and organisational data from across the archive sector and will replace these resources. Later this year, we will also developing an administrative tool for Discovery. It will enable us to curate data here at The National Archives and provide mechanisms for manual or automated data contribution from other archives. Whilst we are developing this tool we will continue to gather information in the ways outlined here. 

The National Register of Archives

The National Register of Archives (NRA) contains information about collections held by over 3,000 archives and private owners in the UK and overseas. As well as being a widely used online resource, the indexes held at our Open Reading Room are also consulted by The National Archives' on site users.

Why do you need to update it?

The National Register of Archives is a great source for the study of British history, widely used by researchers worldwide, and last year alone received over 1,300,000 online unique visits.

  • You can make sure that researchers get access to the information that you hold and for this material to be used in publications and research
  • You can help us keep the NRA accurate and up to date 
  • It is a really useful resource to highlight the treasures your archive holds

How do you update it?

You can contact us by email or post new catalogues to the team at The National Archives:

National Register of Archives, The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU

Taking part in Accessions to Repositories

Accessions to Repositories is the most important means of getting new data onto the National Register of Archives. It is an annual survey of the major collecting repositories in the UK and Ireland. Accessions is unique because it seeks to collect and make available online information about collections which have not yet been, or may not be, part of a formal cataloguing process for some time.

Why take part?

  • If you are actively collecting, Accessions can be used to highlight your collections to new users and to promote the work of your archives service
  • The information is used to update the National Register of Archives and your return allows The National Archives to update its information about where public records and manorial records are held 
  • Information is grouped by theme and these digests are published in journals, promoting your archive collections

How do you take part?

Use the Excel template provided or send in a copy of your accessions register if it includes the information requested.

Accessions template (XLS, 0.02Mb)

Updating the Hospital Records Database

The Hospital Records Database is managed by the Wellcome Library, so please contact Archives and Manuscripts if you have queries or updates.

Updating the Manorial Documents Register

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 MDR benefits researchers worldwide by enabling them to search for manorial records by manor, parish, type of record or by date, and identifying the relevant records online. The remaining non-computerised English counties are available in hard copy format in the Map and Large Document Reading Room at The National Archives.


  • 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. See Manorial document rules.


You can contact the team by email,or write to them with corrections, amendments or new additions to the Manorial Documents Register at The National Archives: Manorial Documents Register, The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU

Updating Access to Archives

Access to Archives (A2A) contains catalogues describing archives held locally in England and Wales dating from the eighth century to the present day. It describes about 30% of catalogues of archival collections held in England and Wales and the database contains 10.3 million records held in 418 record offices and repositories.


  • Keeping information up to date on A2A is important to ensure it remains a current resource
  • Although A2A no longer accepts new catalogues, the existing content is updated every six months
  • We can send you a copy of updated content of your catalogue data to add to your own catalogue
  • It is well used and last year it received over 2.6 million online visits


You can update your catalogues by emailing the team at The National Archives. The team will be able to advise on the best format depending on the update required.

Updating the ARCHON Directory

ARCHON is an online directory of contact and access details for over 3,000 UK and international archival repositories. The unique ARCHON repository number is used for ISAD(G) compliant cataloguing.

Used by a number of UK networking projects as a central contact directory, e.g. NRA, AIM25, Archives Hub.


  • To provide accurate and up-to-date information about your contact and access details, making your service accessible to users.


You can update your entry by using the 'Add/amend an entry' link in the top right hand corner of the ARCHON homepage, by using the form, or by emailing the team at The National Archives.

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