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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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved. To find out more about upcoming opportunities, sign up for our free monthly enewsletter.
Projects based at Kew
We are currently seeking volunteers for the following project:
The Charter Rolls cataloguing project aims to provide useful, searchable online catalogue descriptions of the medieval charter rolls (C 53). These are the enrolled copies of the charters by which medieval royal government granted land and liberties and privileges such as markets and fairs, peerages and exemptions. The grants were to individuals, cities, towns and religious corporations and are vital to the study of the history of the period. The online catalogue descriptions will be based on the summaries currently only available in printed formats.
We are looking for volunteers with a good knowledge of Latin to help us with this project.
Projects you can work on from home
As our records are increasingly either digitised or born-digital, many of our projects are conducted off site, or virtually.
British Merchant Navy crew lists
This project aims to transcribe approximately 39,000 British Merchant Navy crew lists from 1915, held here at the National Archives in Kew and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. These transcriptions will then be fully searchable for both military and family historians, via the online catalogues of both these institutions and will give us a snapshot of those who served in the Merchant Navy during the First World War in time for the centenary in 2014.
This work can be done from home. All you need is a computer with broadband, basic computer skills and a keen eye for detail. You'll receive the Crew List images via your computer; you then read the handwritten lists and transcribe the information into a database.
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.
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.