User participation

Terms and conditions of use

1. The National Archives’ website ( provides user contribution spaces where users can participate online and contribute text, images and files (‘content’) to improve descriptions to The National Archives’ online catalogues and other resources. You may need to register before you can participate.

2. User contributions are clearly distinct from The National Archives’ official information and are indicated as: ‘feedback’, ‘comments’, ‘user tags’, ‘user contributions’ or similar phrases.

3. By making user contributions, or by registering, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions, and by the code of conduct and the participation guidelines.

4. We may update these terms of use from time to time. We will alert users via our website of any changes to these terms of use.

5. If you breach the terms and conditions, code of conduct or participation guidelines, The National Archives may delete your contributions and may suspend your account either temporarily or permanently without notice.


6. The National Archives does not necessarily agree with, support or promote any opinion or representation within any user contribution and cannot vouch for the accuracy, completeness or fitness of any information published by users. You are recommended to seek independent advice or verification before acting on the information contained in any user contribution.

Limitation of liability

7. Spaces for user contributions are provided ‘as is’ and ‘as available’.

8. The National Archives will not be liable for the loss of your contributions and suggest that you keep a copy of your own contributions.

9. The National Archives cannot be held responsible for any violations of any law arising from any user generated content contained on any third party community space or any use, reproduction, or republishing of any of the information published on the third party community spaces.

10. The National Archives will handle your personal details, including your real name and email address, in accordance with our Information Charter. We cannot accept any liability for use by others of personal information you have chosen to make generally accessible within the user contribution areas.

11. User contributions may contain links to third-party websites but The National Archives does not accept liability arising from any such hyperlink. The National Archives does not have control over those sites and does not endorse the information, discussions or statements made on those third-party sites.

Code of conduct

12. In order to participate please:

  • be respectful of other users
  • write in English, be factual and objective, and cite sources used
  • stay on topic and do not upload content (including links to websites and archival and bibliographic references) that is unrelated to the purpose of this site
  • ensure that you have the right to submit your text, images or other content and have not copied someone else’s copyright work without their permission and appropriate acknowledgement
  • do not use language that is offensive, inflammatory or provocative (this includes swearing and obscene or vulgar comments)
  • do not break the law (this includes, but is not limited to, libel, condoning illegal activity and contempt of court)
  • do not post any personal information relating to you or other living individuals (this includes, but is not limited to, names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other contact details)
  • do not impersonate or falsely claim to represent a person or an organisation
  • do not make any commercial endorsement or promotion of any product, service or publication not relevant to the discussion
  • do not post content which could cause damage to a computer, software program, network or server
  • do not post content which is for party political purposes
  • do not reveal information to which an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations may apply
  • do not post comments or discussions about closed records or access arrangements to closed records

13. There may be exceptions to these where the contribution is an exact transcription of an archival record or a quotation from an archival record, for which the use of the inappropriate content is proportionate, relevant and in context. In these circumstances it must be made clear that this is a transcription or quotation.

Participation guidelines


14. You do not need to register in order to search, browse or view content contributed by users on our public websites. However, you will need to register in order to participate. The information that you provide must be true, accurate and current and you must keep this information up to date. To protect your privacy, user account and online identity do not divulge or share your registration details or other personal information after registration.

15. To register you need to provide the following information:

  • email address – this is your username. This must be a valid email address. Occasionally, The National Archives’ staff may need to contact you concerning your contributions
  • password – this is used to verify your identity for logging in. You should select a password which is known only to you and not share it with anyone else
  • screen name – this is optional but it may be displayed as a welcome message after you sign in and on emails
  • security question – this is used to help you to log on to your account if you have forgotten your password


16. If you choose to unregister, we will close your account and prevent you or anyone else logging into that account. There may be a delay before the account is fully deleted as this will depend on how you have used your account and any outstanding transactions. If you have contributed to any community spaces your account will be deactivated but your user name and screen name will be preserved to prevent others assuming your identity. The screen name forms part of the vital evidence of who has created content and when.

Your contributions

17. By contributing to the community spaces you grant The National Archives a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to hold, use, adapt, transmit, distribute and reuse your contributions under the Open Government Licence. If you do not want your contribution to be treated in this way please do not submit them.

17. This permission is not exclusive and your contributions, ideas and comments remain your own and so you can continue to use your work, including allowing others to use it. We suggest you keep a copy of your own contributions.

18. In contributing, you indemnify us against any costs arising from claims made against us for: (a) infringement of any person’s Intellectual Property Rights; (b) defamation; or (c) for any other breach of any laws of England and Wales.

19. The National Archives’ websites are archived on the UK Government Web Archive and therefore your contributions may be archived, indexed and accessible to future researchers. If you do not want your contributions to be archived, please do not submit them.

20. Community spaces may allow multiple registered users to collaborate and therefore other users may edit, alter or remove your contributions. If you do not want your contributions to be treated in this way please do not submit them.

21. Any contributions in community spaces that are Crown copyright, such as those made by The National Archives’ staff or other civil servants in the course of their duties, may be amended in the same way as other contributions.

Reuse of contributions

22. This section applies only to content provided in The National Archives’ community spaces: content posted elsewhere on The National Archives’ website is subject to the website terms and conditions.

23. Information posted in the community spaces is made available for use and reuse under the Open Government Licence and you are free to:

  • copy, publish, distribute and transmit the information
  • adapt the information
  • exploit the information commercially for example, by combining it with other information, or by including it in your own product or application

24. If you do this you must:

  • acknowledge the source of the information by including the following attribution statements and where possible, provide a link to the licence

25. To acknowledge the source of information, you must:

  • include title of the entry or reference, the full url (or embedded link), and the date retrieved
  • entry by a single contributor: username, title of the entry or reference, the full URL (or embedded link), and the date retrieved

26. You must ensure that you do not use the information in a way that suggests any official status or that The National Archives endorses you or your use of the information

27. You must ensure that you do not mislead others or misrepresent the information or its source.

28. You must ensure that your use of the information does not breach the Data Protection Act 1998 or the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

29. These are important conditions of this licence and if you fail to comply with them the rights granted to you under this licence, or any similar licence granted by the licensor, will end automatically.

30. From time to time The National Archives may provide information from its catalogues and websites to third parties under the ‘Opening up government’ initiative and this may include information posted as user contributions. This information will be made available under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

31. These terms and conditions do not affect your freedoms under fair dealing provisions or any other copyright or database right exceptions and limitations.

32. If you believe that your copyright or other intellectual property rights have been infringed please contact us via the feedback form and we will review the matter under our takedown and reclosure policy.

Requests for information

33. We would prefer to receive Freedom of Information requests and data protection requests via our online contact form, or by email or letter, in order to assist us in giving them a full response. However, we note the Information Commissioner’s Office guidance on the validity of social media as a channel for receiving such requests and will handle them in accordance with that guidance.


34. Comments are post-moderated.

35. The National Archives will monitor the contents of comments and catalogue entries. However, it cannot guarantee that there will be no offensive or inappropriate content. You can notify a moderator of any content that you consider offensive or a breach of the code of conduct by using the feedback form and describing your concerns, or clicking the ‘flag as inappropriate’ button. Your concerns will be read and considered under the takedown policy.

36. Moderators may sometimes edit or delete submitted content. Where we edit the content we will endeavour not to change the substance or meaning of the contribution.

37. Where possible or appropriate we will contact you to explain why we made the changes.