Cataloguing Panel

The Cataloguing Panel is a project monitoring body with the following areas of responsibility:

  • to harness knowledge about cataloguing and the adequacy of our catalogues and finding aids
  • to ensure that quality control is maintained and that projects meet their objectives and targets
  • to ensure compliance with our cataloguing and editorial standards
  • to oversee the ingestion of relevant datasets into the catalogue of The National Archives’ records and raise awareness about catalogue data reuse
  • to share information on new accessions, foster cross-departmental cooperation and promote best cataloguing practice, including innovative ways of cataloguing using modern technologies
  • the chair of the panel will liaise with project leaders in order to produce exception reports to the Discovery Board if a project is at risk of not meeting its targets

This panel reports to the Discovery Board.

Suggestions for catalogue improvements

You can report an error or suggest an improvements directly from each description in Discovery, our catalogue.

Cataloguing strategy principles

Cataloguing is defined as the process of arranging, assigning or enhancing descriptive information to make our paper and digital records accessible.

Data adequacy

Data should be provided for the elements considered as mandatory by our cataloguing standards. For example, at the record levels there should always be a scope and content description, dates and relevant closure and access information.

Textual descriptions should be meaningful and accessible, that is in plain English, with additional and contextual information provided where necessary for the understanding of today’s user.

Descriptions should be rich enough to enable online searching in a balanced manner across a broad range of subject areas. For example, ranges of abbreviated names or file numbers, blank descriptions and blank dates are not adequate.

Checklist to consider before approving cataloguing projects

  • Archives and public records should be the focus of our cataloguing work (as opposed to publications, periodicals or non-record material)
  • Is this project going to make our statutory obligations and archival policy commitments stronger?
  • Is this project already being done elsewhere and, if so, is this data already available?
  • To what extent are these records unsearchable in Discovery?
  • Are the current descriptions blank or undated?
  • Would new descriptions enable the retrieval of information by names and/or places?
  • Is this project proposing partial or selective cataloguing? Will metadata provide information about the whole record?
  • Would the project save time, eg retrieval time, or time wasted on speculative productions?
  • How does this project fit within the proposing team’s work? Are we getting the right subject mix balance?
  • Does this project support our academic priorities?
  • Would this cataloguing facilitate future digitisation and income generation?
  • What is the impact on Collection Care?
  • Is the project linked to outreach activities?