Tagging in Discovery

The National Archives offers a combination of on site volunteering (at Kew), and remote and online collaboration projects.

Find out more about our current opportunities below and contact volunteer@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk if you would like to get involved. To find out more about upcoming opportunities, sign up for our free monthly enewsletter.

You can also read more about other volunteering projects happening at The National Archives now and the experiences of our volunteers

Projects based at Kew

Help protect some of our valuation maps

We are looking for volunteers to help us reorganise some of our large valuation maps.

Approximately 122,000 Ordnance Survey maps are currently stored unprotected inside plan chest drawers in Kew repositories. We are looking for people to help us move these maps from their current location into new archival quality folders that will need labelling with our document references.

Due to the size of the maps, volunteers will work in pairs. Document handling training will be provided.

The project will be piloted in September 2015 and run until April 2017.

For more information please contact our conservation team

Remote projects

The current opportunities are available:

Royal Navy First World War Crew List project

We are pleased to announce a joint collaboration between the National Maritime Museum and The National Archives, to recreate the crew lists of Royal Navy ships for the First World War from service records of officers and ratings. This is being done with the generous support of the Crew List Index project team.

The project's aims are to identify which officers and ratings served in the First World War from service records. It will identify their date and place of birth, their occupation prior to joining the Royal Navy, names and dates of ships, submarines, the shore establishment served in during their service, together with their ranks or ratings, what battles they served in and cause and date of discharge.

The project team is looking for volunteers to work from home to create this online resource to be hosted by the National Maritime Museum. If you would like to get involved in this project, please contact volunteer@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk to register your interest. 

Royal Marine Description books

You can help us unpick the story of 250 years of Royal Marine history through a new project being launched. The records in ADM 158, Royal Marine Description books, cover hundreds of thousands of serving marines from 1760 to 1925. We are digitizing these records in a new 'working from home' volunteer project.

To register your interest in taking part please contact volunteer@nationalarchives.gov.uk.

Help us to describe our records online

We are encouraging users to help tag and contribute to our records, both in our online catalogue, Discovery, and on other interfaces such as the photo-sharing website Flickr. You do not need to contact us to take part in these activities.

Operation War Diary

Take part in Operation War Diary, our innovative crowdsourcing project, by reading recently digitised First World War diaries and tagging key pieces of information on each page.

A ten-minute tutorial gives a step by step guide of what to look for, including people and activites described in the diaries, and instructions on how to tag this data. The volunteer Citizen Historians involved in this project will unlock this important information, enabling family historians and academic researchers to search the diaries by name and place. This project is being run in conjunction with the Imperial War Museums (IWM) and crowd-sourcing experts Zooniverse.


The introduction of a tagging tool to Discovery allows users to assign key words or phrases to our records, helping other users to find records that they previously wouldn't have known about. As much of the catalogue data also uses older language to describe our records, tagging presents the opportunity to refresh and modernise some of this language, making it relevant to today's users.

This will lay the foundations for future developments, such as adding user-generated content to catalogue descriptions and tagging records with location information.

Through a lens

Our 'Through a lens' series has seen the publication on Flickr of the CO 1069 series of photographs, providing online access to thousands of photographs previously only available at Kew. This has given users the opportunity to engage with our records, to tag and contribute comments and suggestions to help improve catalogue descriptions and geographical references. Our ultimate intention is to extract these contributions from Flickr and add them to our catalogue.

Building on the success of our Africa through a lens project in 2011, and the Your Caribbean Heritage cataloguing project, our wider Caribbean through a lens project seeks to build relationships with under-represented communities regionally and engage with non-traditional audiences of archives.

Contribute to our collections on Flickr now.