The National Archives (TNA) of the UK has announced that it’s currently developing a number of new and innovative ways of sharing, re-using and accessing its data. TNA says: “The first of these is The National Archives Labs – an area on our website where you are invited to test prototypes, provide feedback and help us to develop further our ideas for exciting online resources.
“The National Archives Labs aims to be a more interactive and engaging way for our users to influence the development of our innovations. Whether these are improvements to existing services or completely new ways of presenting the rich and varied information we hold, we want to involve you in the development process.
“Emma Bayne, programme manager, said: ‘Labs is the first step towards us opening up our records further, and providing new ways for you to access the vast collection of information we hold.’
“The projects in Labs are not intended to be full, finished versions, but a means of showcasing and testing our ideas. If, and when, they are given approval by you, the user, they will need to be refined and made accessible before they can be properly integrated into The National Archives’ main website.
UK history photo finder
“This tool allows you to search and view digitised historical photographs of the UK and Ireland. Starting with the Dixon-Scott collection, which holds more than 14,000 photographs taken in the 1920s-1940s, we will be adding new photographic resources in time. You can search by location and view images for free.
Valuation Office Survey
“This tool allows you to identify and order Valuation Office Survey maps of England and Wales from 1910 to 1915. Our Catalogue contains descriptions of nearly 50,000 Valuation Office Survey maps and this innovative tool provides a simple way to identify and order a map without having to visit The National Archives. The process previously required a complex, multi-stage onsite search.
“Using the new person search, you can search for a particular name within a large number of records from our collection. These include a number of First World War records, Royal Navy records, criminal registers, law suits, wills and pension records.
“The person search is still in development phase, and we encourage you to try out the new tool and give feedback on it to help us refine it.”