Open access research from our staff

As an institution we support open access. This means we make the externally funded research our staff produce freely available to all.

Below you can find our publications and research materials. Publication lists for 2013, 2012 and 2011 are available. For research published before 2011, please see the UK Government Web Archive.

Mind the gap: Rigour and relevance in collaborative heritage science research

This paper examines if there is a ‘rigour-relevance gap’ in collaborative heritage science research and
what enables and impedes effective collaboration between academic researchers and users of research evidence in practice.

A decision framework for the preservation of transparent papers

Transparent papers are frequently found in collections, often dispersed among other materials, and can be in need of some degree of treatment or rehousing, thus proving a significant preservation challenge. Without a clear strategy to tackle the large number, many remain untreated. When treatment is possible the focus is usually idiosyncratic and limited to treating single sheets. This problem is […]

Probing the 1970s: A case study: Inflation, public relations, and the health administration, 1972

The history of 1970s Britain has been re-appraised by journalists and historians in recent years. This article seeks to encourage contemporary historians interested in the 1970s to carry out detailed investigation of governmental files held by The National Archives, as these records give real insights into the mindset of government officials and ministers of the time. The records […]

Discovery: Developing a National Archives’ Catalogue

For the past few years The National Archives has been working to completely rebuild its online resources and extend our Discovery service to describe records held by other archives. The end result is the largest online archival finding aid in the UK, containing more than 32 million descriptions of records from The National Archives and […]

The effectiveness of dust mitigation and cleaning strategies at The National Archives, UK

Cultural heritage institutions allocate considerable resource to mitigating the risks of dust in their collections. In archives and libraries boxing collections and cleaning regimes go some way to address the problem. However, evidence of the efficacy of these methods is difficult to validate experimentally as dust is very difficult to see. To evaluate the efficacy […]

Crowding out the Archivist? Implications of online user participation for archival theory and practice.

Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the degree of PhD in Information Studies: Archives and Records Management. This thesis charts a course through an emerging landscape of online user participation in archives, focusing on user involvement at the point of practice known to professional archivists as archival description. The study considers a spectrum of online initiatives […]

The experience of war widows in mid 17th-century England, with special reference to Kent and Sussex

Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Leicester. This thesis investigates the experience of war widows in mid 17th-century England by examining the county pension and sequestration schemes during the Civil Wars. It focuses on how these processes affected the lives of women who lost their husbands in war, and […]

Cloth, copyright, and cultural exchange: textile designs for export to Africa at The National Archives of the UK

Among around three million designs registered for copyright and held at The National Archives in Kew, South West London—the archive of UK government records—are thousands of textile samples made for consumers in Africa. These are exceptional in that they include examples from the major UK manufacturers and merchants exporting to West Africa and East Africa […]

Information journeys in digital archives

Archival collections have particular properties that make physical and intellectual access difficult for researchers. This generates feelings of uncertainty in the researchers leading to a large burden of routine enquiries to the archive. In this thesis I investigate the information-seeking behaviours of archival researchers and the distinct properties of the archive first through the respective […]

Archives matter

This article charts the evolution of the UK government’s ambitious vision for the archive sector, Archives Unlocked. It traces the evolution of that vision from the roots of the audience-focused strategy of the UK National Archives, Archives Inspire. The authors place a particular emphasis on the process of co-creation and the emergence of the key […]

‘Almost too ruinous to be repaired’: the Unknown Treasures project at The National Archives and the Court of Common Pleas brevia files

In nearly 700 years of activity the position of the Court of Common Pleas in the English legal scene was paramount. This article examines the court’s surviving Brevia files, recently accessioned into series CP 52 at The National Archives. It unravels their archival journey from their creation by the court’s clerks through centuries of neglect […]

Uses of archives as creative activity: what does it mean to be creative within the archive and library profession?

Archivists and art librarians are well-versed in developing activities and projects using archives and library materials in object-based learning activities, and in engaging artists and creative practitioners with archives and special collections. But what does framing the uses of archives as creative activity really mean for the way in which we work on a practical […]

Safeguarding the nation’s digital memory: Towards a Bayesian model of digital preservation risk

The National Archives’ digital strategy commits us to ‘becom[ing] a digital archive by instinct and design’ and to ‘measur[ing] preservation risks and publish[ing] the results’. Along with being ‘transparent about our practice as the basis for trust in the digital archive’. Current models for managing digital preservation are top-down, defining functions that a system requires […]

Safeguarding the nation’s digital memory (poster)

This poster reviews the work undertaken on the development of a digital preservation risk model for The National Archives using a Dynamic Bayesian Network from 2018–2019. The poster also highlights the likely direction of further research in this area, and the new skills and partnerships that will be introduced to the archives sector.

Women in Chancery: An analysis of Chancery as a court of redress for women in late 17th-century England

Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Hull and The National Archives. The early-modern Court of Chancery has been hailed as a court of law unique in patriarchal England for its recognition of women’s legal rights. This thesis is based on detailed quantitative and qualitative research into women’s use of […]

Newswriting and satire during the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch wars (1665-1674)

Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of English Literature at the University of Bristol (July 2020). This thesis demonstrates for the first time the extensive intertextual relationship which existed between newswriting and satire. Satirists offered selective criticism of the practices of newswriting, but also possessed an imaginative indebtedness to literary conventions developed between newswriting […]