The Higher Education Archive Programme

The Higher Education Archive Programme (#HEAP) is part of The National Archives’ continuing programme of engagement and sector support with particular archival constituencies. Research underpins the programme (including a series of research papers), building on a foundation of engagement and mapping work. It is a mixture of strategic and practical work encompassing activity across The National Archives and the wider sector including guidance and training, pilot projects and advocacy.

One strand of the programme involves facilitating the popular network meetings following feedback from the successful roundtable meeting held at The National Archives in 2014. The regular network meetings are open to all those working in university archives, libraries and special collections. They cover a wide range of topics from Archive Service Accreditation to embedding archives in Higher Education teaching, and wider research on Higher Education Collecting Drivers. Further events are planned on Research Data Management, funding and funders, and collections at risk.

Citation capture report

The National Archives, Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and Jisc have published a report to kick-start a discussion about how to standardise the thousands of references every year to unique and distinct collections (UDCs) held in UK repositories.

Citation capture report (9.0MB, PDF)

Creating a more consistent framework for how academics cite UDC repositories will:

  • make it easier for archivists, librarians and collection managers to gauge usage and will support collection management decisions
  • provide valuable metrics for repositories in order to evidence impact of their collections and activities, and make the case for funding.

The report, delivered by The Research Base, looks at the challenges and opportunities related to improving citation practices for UDC materials, as well as the strategies and tools required to effectively capture data for citations. It is divided into three key strands designed to meet the long-term outcomes from the original tender:

  • model citation guidance
  • embedding best practice
  • citation capture software.

A workshop is being planned to discuss the recommendations and implications of the report and further details will be announced in due course.

Guide to Collaboration between the Archive and Higher Education Sectors

In summer 2018, The National Archives, the Higher Education Archive Programme (HEAP) and History UK launched the Guide to Collaboration for Archives and Higher Education 2018. This builds upon previous guidance co-commissioned with Research Libraries UK and explores practical ways to identify, develop and sustain cross-sector collaborations.

Supported by innovative case studies from across the archives and higher education sectors, the guidance gives insights into the drivers, initiatives, support and language of both sectors and offers advice on identifying organisational and project priorities.

The guidance also explains how to understand outputs and outcomes in mutually beneficial projects and offers advice for measuring impact in cross-sector collaborations.

Guide to Collaboration for Archives and Higher Education (complete document) (PDF, 3.77MB)

The guidance document can also be downloaded by section:

Section 1: Foreword and Introduction (PDF, 0.32MB)

Section 2: Context of Collaboration (PDF, 0.6MB)

Section 3: Forming a Collaboration (PDF, 0.69MB)

Section 4: Developing Collaborative Working (PDF, 1.47MB)

Section 5: Recording Activities and Capturing Impact (PDF, 1.2MB)

Section 6: Key Terms, Concepts and Resources (PDF, 0.56MB)

Case Studies (PDF, 2.36MB)

Collecting Drivers for Higher Education Institutions

Collecting Drivers for Higher Education Institutions with Archives and Unique and Distinctive Collections examines the collecting drivers for archival collections within a cross-section of diverse Higher Education Institutions with unique and distinctive collections; looking at the degree to which these drivers align with institutional missions, and contemporary research and learning environments.

The report was jointly funded by Research Libraries UK and The National Archives as part of the commitment to work together on matters of shared interest to the archive and research library sectors, to improve understanding, share good practice and to help institutions develop, and produced by Caroline Williams, Independent Archival Consultant.

Collecting drivers for higher education institutions with archives and unique and distinctive collections (PDF, 0.77MB)

The action plan

The action plan for the programme has been designed in consultation with a steering group involving participants from across the HE sector. The steering group will help us to further shape our offer for higher education archives, and ensure we achieve some tangible results. The programme was developed through a co-design process with higher education archivists, where we jointly identified key risks and opportunities and actions in response. The programme draws on the successful methodology of our development programme for local authority archives – but re-purposed to suit archives within a higher education setting.

Following a review of the first two-year action plan, a further programme of work is being planned which includes research on citation capture and a pilot project around demonstrating impact. We are working to ensure that the plans reflect the diversity of the Higher Education sector and meet multiple needs. The plan also needs to be realistic in terms of resources and align with work across The National Archives where appropriate.

Action Plan (PDF, 0.29MB)

To be added to the HEAP mailing list, please contact

Steering group members

Chris Webb – Borthwick Institute, University of York

Anne Barrett – Imperial College London

Sarah Jane – University of Falmouth and Exeter University

Geoff Browell – King’s College London

Sarah Mahurter – University of the Arts

James Peters – University of Manchester

Tracy Deakin – St Johns College, Cambridge

Alison Cullingford – University of Bradford

Mark Dorrington – University of Nottingham

Christine Wise – Representing RLUK (Research Libraries UK)

Tina Morton – The National Archives

Matt Greenhall – The National Archives

Caroline Sampson – The National Archives

Harriet Barker – The National Archives