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 more than 2,500 archives around the country. Discovery will help to realize a long-held ambition to develop a comprehensive and collaborative resource discovery tool for archives and their users.

The National Archives embarked on the ‘Finding Archives’ project to incorporate information from numerous systems into Discovery, its new online catalogue. Integrating these different datasets has proven to be a challenging process. This paper will outline the rationale for the project, its goals, progress so far, and next steps. Particular attention will be given to the collaborative approach underpinning the project, the philosophy of user centred design, open use of data, and the ways various information and archival standards helped to shape Discovery.

Discovery is available at: