Accessions

Each year we ask archive services in the UK and Ireland to send us a list of the new archival material they have accessioned during the previous 12 months. Participating archives are asked to report all new accessions. This allows for more accurate analysis of trends and collecting practices. There are some changes to the 2016 Accession programme. We therefore encourage participating repositories to read the new guidance below in full.

Accessions to Repositories 2016

The Accessions to Repositories 2016 survey is now open.

Please submit returns by 1 February 2017.

With the exception of local authority places of deposit, all participants should use the following template to send in their returns:

TemplateAccessions template (general) 2016 (XLS, 0.04MB)

Guidance: Accessions to Repositories Guidance (general) 2016 (PDF, 0.15MB)

20-year rule and local authority Places of Deposit

Local authority places of deposit will need to complete the survey using the template below. This will allow local authority places of deposit to record all accessions for 2016 and mark up any public record accessions:

Template for local authority Places of Deposit: Accessions template (local authority places of deposit) 2016 (XLS, 0.05MB)

Guidance for local authority Places of Deposit: Accessions to Repositories Guidance (local authority places of deposit) 2016 (PDF, 0.18MB)

Without receipt of accession returns by the 1 February deadline, we cannot guarantee payments of New Burdens funding to local authority places of deposit.

For more information on completing the return for local authority places of deposit, please see our specific guidance. Further details about New Burdens and eligibility for local authority places of deposit are available on the 20 year rule web page.

What has changed

Following a comprehensive review of Accessions to Repositories, The National Archives has made some changes to the focus of the programme for this year.

We are still asking archives to send in their accessions using the same template as before but what we do with the data will be a little different.

Please send us the details of all the archive material you have accessioned in 2016. Please don’t filter the information you send as we want to gather a full snapshot of collecting patterns across the sector. We will then conduct a major analysis across all of this data to enable us to confidently answer important questions, including

  • where major thematic strands of collections are held
  • whether key thematic areas are not currently accessioned by collecting institutions
  • whether budget constraints influence collecting

The results of this analysis will be shared with the archive sector and researchers and will shape our major training and development programmes.

With our focus moving to data analysis for Accessions 2016, the number of new collections added to our information resources will be much smaller than in previous years and so the usual digests will not be produced.

Some information will continue to be added to Discovery as usual. This will include information about new accessions of records of public interest and new accessions of statutory classes of records – such as manorial records, public and tithe records.

In addition to this, please let us know your new collection highlights over 2016. These should be newly accessioned records that you believe to have the strongest evidential, cultural and societal impact. Information about these highlights will be made available within Discovery and may be publicised through The National Archives’ social media channels.

Your data

The survey provides a vital knowledge base for The National Archives’ work with the wider sector. The information gathered allows us to:

  • trace the location of archives and manuscripts
  • track documents and records identified as part of our Sales Monitoring Service
  • monitor public records and manorial document transfers
  • analyse collecting patterns and trends
  • extend Discovery’s coverage of other archives’ records

The 2015 survey surfaced a number of interesting collections such as papers and correspondence of author and playwright Michael Morpurgo, including manuscripts and notebooks relating to ‘War Horse’ and ‘Private Peaceful’. To find out more about collections discovered through last year’s survey, read our blog.

Find out more about how we make your collections information available.

More information

For further information about the Accessions programme or to discuss submitting a return after the deadline, please email us.