This guide to digital archives was written while many UK archives were closed to COVID-19. Although the majority have now re-opened, it continues to be a useful introduction 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 staff and students of the University of Westminster who are researching 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.
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.