Every year we ask archive services in the UK and Ireland to send us a comprehensive list of accessions of manuscripts and records they have taken in during the previous 12 months as part of the Accessions to Repositories survey.

This information is published annually online and is also available within Discovery.

Accessions to Repositories 2015

The Accessions to Repositories 2015 survey will begin soon. This year we will be inviting archives to take part from December 2015 onwards. We will be asking for returns to be submitted to us by the end of January 2016.

This year we will be using Accessions to support changes introduced by the 20-year rule and so some regular contributors may find that we are asking them to provide additional information in their returns. More information about this will be available on our website shortly.

Who takes part?

We invite repositories which are known to be actively collecting beyond their own institutional records.

If you do not normally receive an invitation but wish to take part in next year's survey, please contact us.

Why do we conduct this survey and how do we use this information?

The information provides a vital knowledge base for The National Archives' work with the wider sector, and allows us to trace the location of archives and manuscripts, as well as monitor the transfer of public records and manorial documents. It also provides repositories a great opportunity to showcase their new archive acquisitions.

Information gathered during the accessions survey is used to update records and record creator information within Discovery and is published on our Accessions page.

As well as being published on our website, we use the data to produce a number of thematic digests which are made available online, distributed to specialist repositories and published in academic and specialist journals. These digests help us to monitor collecting activity on particular themes and highlight collections of interest for researchers around specific events or research interests. For example, for the last two years we have published a World War One related digest. 

The 2014 survey surfaced a number of interesting collections including papers, correspondence and related artwork of a Yorkshire feminist art collective, and drafts of 'Adrian Mole: The Prostrate years'. To find out more about the collections discovered through last year's survey read our blog.

For more information about how we make your collections information available, please visit our Discovery and Finding Archives project page.

20-year rule and local authority Places of Deposit

Key points for Accessions 2015:

  • All archives will be asked to send in returns by the end of January and are advised to contact us if they anticipate issues with meeting this deadline.  
  • We will be asking local authority Places of Deposit to submit additional information about public records, including information about the transferring organisation and quantity in linear metres.

Note that this year there will be separate guidance notes for local authority Places of Deposit affected by the 20-year rule which will be available soon. All affected archives will be contacted but if you are unsure of your status please get in touch.

More information

For further information about accessions or changes affected by the 20-year rule, please contact asd@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk.

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