FAQ

 

What is the Archives Hub?

The Archives Hub is an online gateway to the descriptions of archives held in UK repositories (such as universities, company archives and local history centres). It does not hold any archive material itself but provides a means to cross-search archival descriptions from different institutions.


The Archives Hub is continually expanding, with new contributors and descriptions, so you may wish to visit the Hub regularly, and make it part of your research routine.

How do I access or contact the different repositories which contribute to the Archives Hub?

To find out more about a collection and about access arrangements, you need to contact the repository that holds the material. At the top of each Hub description you will find key details about the collection including where it is held.

In the blue bar at the top of the description, you will see a link to 'See the: Contact details for the Repository'. This will take you to the National Archives Archon entry for the repository, which provides email, telephone number, website and address details. Archon is The National Archives' directory of archive repositories.

How do I obtain copies of archives?

Reproduction is subject to copyright law and the discretion of the repository that holds the archives. Some Archives Hub descriptions do include information about reproduction and you can find this under the heading 'Copyright/Reproduction'. However we advise users to contact the repository directly for advice. Contact details for the repository are found by clicking on the link in the blue bar at the top of thhe description.

Can I use the Archives Hub for family history research?

If you are researching your family history, you may be using the Hub to look for family members. Whilst there is a chance that the Hub might include something relevant to you, it does not include the most common genealogical records, such as parish and census records.


You might find a relevant description if one of your relatives had an association with one of our contributing institutions. However many descriptions are quite general, and may not refer to individual people. (For example they might not list the students and staff of the institution.)

There are good guides and resources for genalogical research from the UK National Archives and GENUKI.

Why doesn't the Hub take in descriptions from all UK archives?

Our remit is to make available descriptions of archives that are deemed to be of value to the UK education and research communities, and we are funded specifically for this purpose. We aim to represent all archives held in the UK that are of value to academic research, but it is up to individual repositories whether they wish to submit descriptions for inclusion on the Hub.

Why can't I find the archives I expected to find on the Hub?

The Archives Hub does not include all UK archives and although it does represent the majority of archives held within UK universities, it isn’t a comprehensive reflection of the holdings of all UK universities and colleges. You can see a list of contributors to the Hub on our contributor page.


If you know of an archive collection that you feel should be included you can get in touch with us and make a suggestion. (See our collection policy)

Remember that the search term you use may not bring back all records relevant to your subject interest. You might find archives of relevance to your research if you try a different search term or a different search option. For example, you will get more results for ‘world war one’ as a subject than for ‘first world war’. You may like to try broader or related search terms, or different types of search, such as subject, name and place search.


We also have Browse and Subject Finder options. Browse allows you to navigate Hub index terms from an alphabetical list, and Subject Finder can help you to find related subjects that might be of interest to your research. These can be especially useful where there are relevant descriptions which do not include your exact search term.

I have a manuscript/book that I think might be valuable, can you tell me what it is worth?

The Archives Hub cannot provide valuations for materials, such as books or archives. You would need to go to a professional valuer for this, such as an auction house or an antiquarian supplier.

I have some historical documents/papers that I want to offer to a repository. Will you accept it?

The Archives Hub does not hold any materials itself. So, if you have any papers that you wish to offer to any of the Archives Hub contributing institutions, you will need to contact a suitable repository directly to ask if they are interested in acquiring the material. (A suitable repository might be one that has relevant subject areas or a specific geographical location to your historical documents.)

In each Hub description you will find key details about the collection including where it is held. In the blue bar at the top of the description is a link to the Archon entry for the repository, which provides contact details.

You will also find contact details on our Contributors’ page. Please don’t be discouraged if the repository does not accept your item. The majority of repositories have specific collection policies, and they may not have the space or resources to accept every item they are offered. 

I have found an image that I wish to use on my website/in my book. Can I have copyright permission to use it?

You will need to find out which repository holds the image. They might hold the copyright of the item or they may know who you need to contact to ask. You will need to contact them directly to ask.

In each Hub description you will find key details about the collection including where it is held. In the blue bar at the top of the description is a link to the Archon entry for the repository, which provides contact details.

You will also find contact details on our Contributors’ page.

I am trying to track down the copyright of a book published by Blackie and Son. Can you help?

We are unable to help with questions about Blackie intellectual property rights. The only help we can give you is a basic history of the company prepared by Glasgow University Archives Services and to advise you to look at the following website that give general advice about copyright:

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/copy.htm

I am trying to track down the copyright of a book published by a company whose records I have found on the Archives Hub. Can you help?

In each Hub description you will find key details about the collection including where it is held. In the blue box at the top of the description is a link to the Archon entry for the repository, which provides contact details.

You will also find contact details on our Contributors’ page.

I have searched for primary source materials on the Hub and I can’t find any material on my topic. I keep seeing the message, “Sorry we couldn’t find any matching records.” What should I do?

  • If you are searching for primary source material for your academic research, make sure you have a flexible approach to searching and plan your search strategy, so that you can look for synonyms and related subjects to your topic.

Try searching for different keywords (such as First World War as well as World War I), and be prepared to change your search if you don’t get any results. Think of related issues and terms as well as synonyms. You may need to make your search wider (if you don’t get any results), or narrower (if you get too many results).

Remember that the Hub doesn’t contain all of the information that is in all of the archives, and you may need to make your search more general. For instance, a person may be mentioned in company records – to find this on the Hub, you would need to look for the company name rather than the person name.


e.g. If you are looking for primary source materials on post-feminist studies you could also search for broader themes such as:

  • feminis* (this will find records with feminism or feminist in, see search help on wildcards
  • women
  • women’s studies
  • women’s rights
  • women’s organisations
  • suffrage
  • suffragettes
  • gender
  • discrimination

If you are unsure how to start planning your search strategy you could look at the following online tutorial from the Open University: Information Skills for Researchers.