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

The current opportunities available:

Royal Marines Attestation and Discharge Papers

Attestations in ADM 157 are the loose forms that a Marine completed on enlistment, attesting that he would serve wherever required. The forms gathered a considerable amount of personal information about the Marine, such as date and place of birth, age, trade and physical characteristics of each man on recruitment, details of his enlistment and attestation, sometimes even references to next-of-kin. These forms also give details of discharge including the reason for his discharge.

We are currently improving the description of these records to make them searchable on Discovery by the individual. This is an on going and established project based in Kew. You need to be able to read 19th and 20th century handwriting and be happy using a computer. Full training will be given.

Contact volunteer@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk if you would like to get involved with this project.

Merchant Navy Ships' Logs

Masters of Merchant Ships' were required to keep a log for each voyage they undertook. Not all Logs survive. These logs in  BT 165 only survive either because the Log contains an entry of a birth, marriage or death on board during the voyage or because the ship was at sea during the First World War. 

We are improving the way this series is described and searched on Discovery. This is an on going and established project based in Kew. You need to be able to read 20th Century handwriting and be happy using a computer. Full training will be given.

Contact volunteer@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk if you would like to get involved with this project.

Ships' Allotment Registers

When at sea, sailors, officers and Royal Marines could arrange to have money allocated to their next of kin. This money was known as an 'allotment'. The allotment registers ADM 27 are unique in that they predate most Naval service records and they give full details of next of kin.

Currently these registers are difficult to use and this project aims to open up this unique resource by improving the search on Discovery. This is an on going and established project based in Kew. There are limited openings on this project. You need to be able to read 18th and 19th century handwriting and be happy using a computer. Full training will be given.

Contact volunteer@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk if you would like to get involved with this project.

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.

Discovery

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.