Managing your collection

In this section we provide information on how to manage, care for and develop records and collections so that they are accessible and relevant to current and future researchers.

While archives are often associated with parchment and paper, as organisational records change, more emphasis will be on digital preservation. This highlights the ongoing importance of the relationship between archives and records managers.

The guidance here – an introduction to archives for non-archivists – is a useful starting point, introducing storage and preservation, and cataloguing.

Embarking on a digitisation project? Find out about our digitisation services.

We help archives, businesses and private organisations develop and modernise their own collections.

Caring for archives

At its most basic, looking after archives is about ensuring they are safe and protected from extreme temperatures and humidity, wherever and whatever they are.

Documenting collections

The National Archives provides advice and guidance on how to formally document ownership and how to improve access to your collections information.

Collections strategies

We are leading and supporting collection development strategies for specific themes and formats of information across the archive sector.

Preserving digital collections

Digital preservation is a vital issue for almost all archives and there is an increasing demand for storage of, and access to, digital information in a discoverable format.

Managing records

The records management process helps to ensure that historically significant records, including electronic records, are smoothly transferred to archives for permanent preservation.

Developing collections

We provide strategic advice on collections planning, widening collections access to new and diverse communities, and guidance for collection development to actively document, reflect and support those communities.

Cultural property

The National Archives is asked to give advice when the government or grant funders are considering spending money on the purchase, conservation or cataloguing of archives.

Designation

The Designation Scheme identifies the pre-eminent collections of national and international importance held in England's non-national museums, libraries and archives, based on their quality and significance.