Research reports

This page contains research and evaluation reports of completed projects. These are important for informing future priorities and helping archives demonstrate their value.


The Higher Education Archives Programme (HEAP)’s guide to collaboration between the archive and higher education sectors, originally commissioned and published in 2015 by Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and The National Archives (TNA), has been refreshed to reflect key developments in the academic landscape such as REF, TEF and Doctoral Training Partnerships.

The refreshed version, developed in collaboration with History UK, draws upon feedback from both the academic and archive communities and the contributions of colleagues gathered via a survey and workshop. Illustrated with good practice case studies, the guidance is now presented in discrete sections, making it easier to go straight to your area of interest.

Download the refreshed guidance here: Guide to collaboration for Archives and Higher Education (PDF, 3.77MB).

If you are interested in the work of HEAP, please visit the programme web page.

To be added to the HEAP mailing list, please contact

Collecting drivers for Higher Education Institutions with Archives and Unique and Distinctive Collections

The report examines the collecting drivers for archival collections within a cross-section of diverse HEIs with unique and distinctive collections; looking at the degree to which these drivers align with institutional missions, and contemporary research and learning environments. The research is backed up by robust evidence of what special collections and archives collect, what drives them to do so, which policies assist their functions and how they plan to develop these.

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, 0.77 MB)

Sustainable services

Funding and constitution/alternative service models

Workforce and volunteering

Collections management, development and care

Collections mapping

Collections and Collecting: a survey of university archives (2009) (PDF, 0.31MB)

Local authority building plans survey

Building survey England post-1974

Building survey Wales post-1974

Building survey England pre-1974

Building survey Wales pre-1974

Funding Archives

Funding the Archive Sector: Executive Summary (PDF, 0.27MB)

Funding the Archives Sector (PDF, 1.06MB)

Digital preservation mapping

Finding Archives summary (PDF, 0.66MB)

National Cataloguing Grants Scheme Five Year Review (PDF, 0.00MB)

Copyright Guidance

Copyright guidance for digitisation projects 

Developing your archives

Online access

Learning and young people

Strategic Commissioning Education Programme (PDF, 0.05MB)

Increasing accessibility

Community archives

Demonstrating Impact

Local Authority funded archive services

Transforming local archive services: a collection of thirteen case studies (PDF, 0.83MB)

Tourism and economic impact

Social impact

Sense of place

Overview of the archives sector

Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the United Kingdom and Ireland

Religious Archives Survey 2010

Religious Archives Survey 2010 (PDF, 0.58MB)

Appendices to the Religious Archives Survey 2010 (PDF, 2.61MB)

Listening to the past, speaking to the future

These reports are mostly of historical interest, but still provide some useful statistics in the discussion papers.

Older mapping and development studies

Our shared past: an archival Domesday for England (PDF, 0.38MB)

Our shared past: developing 21st century archive services (PDF, 0.45MB)

Further reports

For OPSI reports and reports on the re-use of public sector information, go to information management reports and publications.