Although many UK archives are currently closed due to COVID-19, some of them have made part of their collections available online. This guide will introduce you to the different types of archives that are available digitally and how to approach them critically.
As well as looking after the University's own collections, the University Archive staff are here to support your research using other archive collections held here in the UK or elsewhere. Once you have read through this guide, feel free to email us with any questions you have.
This guide has been written mainly for humanities students needing to access text-based archive resources. It is written with the presumption that you are unable to access any physical archives and are only able to use digital resources. The guide will be updated as and when some access is available to physical archive collections again.
An archive can refer to:
Although we usually think of archives as being paper documents, they can also be digital, photographic and audiovisual. Many archive collections also include some books and objects.
An archive differs from a library both in what it holds and how it is organised.
Digitised archives are physical collections that have been scanned, photographed or indexed in order to make the information in them available online.
Born-digital archives are archives that have started their life as digital documents (for example, as a spreadsheet or as a digital photograph) and have been used in this format throughout their life, before being transferred to the archive in a digital format.