Accessions

Each year The National Archives asks archive services in the UK and Ireland to send a list of new archival material they have accessioned during the previous 12 months. In order to allow for more accurate analysis of trends and collecting practices, some changes were implemented in the 2016 Accessions programme. Please consult the new Accessions to Repositories Guidance below for further details.

Accessions to Repositories 2016

The deadline for submitting returns for the Accessions to Repositories 2016 survey has now passed.

If you were invited to submit a return to us but have not yet done so, please contact us.

With the exception of local authority places of deposit, all participants were asked to use the following template to send in their returns:

TemplateAccessions template (general) 2016 (XLS, 0.04MB)

Guidance: Accessions to Repositories Guidance (general) 2016 (PDF, 0.15MB)

20-year rule and local authority Places of Deposit

Local authority places of deposit were requested to complete the survey using the template below. This allowed local authority places of deposit to record all accessions for 2016 and mark up any public record accessions:

Template for local authority Places of Deposit: Accessions template (local authority places of deposit) 2016 (XLS, 0.05MB)

Guidance for local authority Places of Deposit: Accessions to Repositories Guidance (local authority places of deposit) 2016 (PDF, 0.18MB)

Receipt of accessions returns was required by 1st February, in order to process payments of New Burdens funding to local authority places of deposit.

Further details about New Burdens and eligibility for local authority places of deposit are available on the 20 year rule web page.

Changes to the 2016 Survey

Following a comprehensive review of Accessions to Repositories, some changes were made to the focus of the 2016 programme.

Archives were still asked to send in their accessions information as before, but the way the data is now being used and processed is a little different.

The National Archives requested archives services to send the details of all the archival material accessioned in 2016, without filtering the information. The 2016 survey intended to gather a full snapshot of collecting patterns across the sector. This information is being used to conduct a major analysis across all of this data to enable confident answers to important questions including:

  • Where are the collecting hubs in the country?
  • Are certain types of institutions driving collecting? By how much?
  • Differentials in levels of collecting
  • What are the emerging themes from the content of what is being collected?

The results of this analysis will be shared with the archive sector as well as researchers and will shape our major training and development programmes.

With the focus moving to data analysis for Accessions 2016, the number of new collections added to The National Archives’ information resources will be much smaller than in previous years and, therefore, the usual digests will not be produced.

Some information is being added to Discovery as usual. This includes information about new accessions of records of public interest and new accessions of statutory classes of records – such as manorial records, public and tithe records.

In addition to this, archives were asked to indicate the highlights of their new collections over 2016: Newly accessioned records with the strongest evidential, cultural and societal impact. Information about these highlights is also being made available within Discovery and may be publicised on The National Archives’ social media outlets.

Accessions data

The survey provides a vital knowledge base for The National Archives’ work with the wider sector. The information gathered allows us to:

  • trace the location of archives and manuscripts
  • track documents and records identified as part of our Sales Monitoring Service
  • monitor public records and manorial document transfers
  • analyse collecting patterns and trends
  • extend Discovery’s coverage of other archives’ records

The 2016 survey has surfaced a number of interesting records and collections such as a letter to John Pigott, High Sheriff of Somerset, concerning the Rye House Plot in 1683, and correspondence between author Sir Terry Pratchett and writer Henye Meyer. To find out more about collections discovered through past surveys, read our blog.

Find out more about how we make collections information available here.

More information

For further information about the Accessions programme or to discuss submitting a return after the deadline, please email us.