Archives Hub

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The Archives Hub
Archives Hub Logo.jpg
Parent company Jisc
Status Free online discovery service for UK archives
Founded 1998
Country of origin UK
Distribution Covers the UK and Isle of Man
Nonfiction topics Multi-disciplinary
Official website

The Archives Hub a free and open catalogue of descriptions of archives held across the UK, in over 280 institutions, including universities, colleges, specialist repositories, charities, businesses and other institutions. It includes over 27,000 descriptions of archive collections on all manner of subjects, and also has over 450,000 descriptions of units (series, items, etc). It began in 1999[1] and has continually expanded and developed.

The Hub does not itself hold archives. Rather, it holds finding aids, helping researchers to locate archives, by enabling them to search across descriptions. Each description provides a link to the contact details for the repository that holds the archive, and there is also a regional search. It enables researchers to search by person, organisation, subject, place, date and keyword, and to bring together archives held all over the country that relate to that topic. It represents both digital and analogue archives, as most archives in the UK are not digitised, and it includes many images and also links to digital content.

Descriptions on the Hub are standards-based, using ISAD(G), the international archival standard, and other standards for data such as languages, dates and index terms standards. It takes in and provides EAD (Encoded Archival Description), which is XML for archives. The site provides information for archivists and other cataloguers on online discovery, data creation, the use of standards, metadata and protocols for interoperability and to facilitate cross-searching.

The Archives Hub also has information for researchers, including an introductory guide, to introduce people to archives, and to searching for and working with archives. It runs monthly features, created mainly by contributors on a subject, person or organisation, to showcase the variety of archival content described.

The Archives Hub has an ethos based on open access and ‘making the data work harder’. In the online world, it should be possible for researchers to take different routes through to content; the idea of a single interface onto content is no longer practical or desirable. The Hub has recently developed a practical and lightweight solution for any higher education institutions wanting their own search application for descriptions stored on the Hub, and Salford University Library has become the first Archives Hub ‘micro site’ adopter.[2]

The Hub is a Jisc service, and is freely available to all. It is based at Jisc Manchester.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Hill, A. 'Bringing Archives Online with the Archives Hub' Archived February 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Journal of the Society of Archivists, 2002
  2. ^ Stevenson and Johnson Accessing Archive Collections: a pluralist approach