Discovery help

Use Discovery to access records relating to Britain and British history held at:

  • The National Archives
  • archives and institutions across the UK
  • some archives and institutions abroad. Discovery provides contact details for these archives and institutions.

Visit Start here for advice on starting your research at The National Archives.

Or find a research guide to help you in your research.

Search Discovery, our online catalogue

Discovery for developers – find information about the application programming interface (API)

Find out what our Discovery, our catalogue, holds and what you can use it for.

There are two ways to look for a record using Discovery, searching or browsing. This section contains advice on both methods.

What information is displayed in the ‘Records’ and ‘Record creators’ search results tabs, how to understand a record or record creator description, and what to do if you have too few or too many results. How to save a search & find other possible matches.

How to display simple and detailed view options, sort your search results and filter using the ‘Records’ tab.

How to search for manorial records & documents, understand the search results, and the terms used in the MDR.

How to find an archive in the UK and beyond using the map, regional lists, by country or by ARCHON code.

A list of terms used within Discovery, our online catalogue, and their definitions.

Understand what we mean when we refer to digital records and what a ‘born-digital’ record is.