Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Archives Hub?
The Archives Hub is a free online service giving access to 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.It also provides descriptions of themed collections, often including digital content, and holds information on individual repositories.
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.
Click to email the repository for more information, which automatically opens up an email and provides the address.
Click on the name of the repository in order to get more information about it and get a list of all its descriptions.
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.
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 may 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 is a guide for genealogical research on the pages of the UK National Archives
Why doesn't the Hub take in descriptions from all UK archives?
We aim to represent all archives held in the UK that are of value to research and education, but it is up to individual repositories whether they wish to submit descriptions for inclusion on the Hub. We have over 330 contributors, and new contributors are added every month. We focus on academic research rather than family history, so we do not necessarily have descriptions of parish registers and family records.
Why can't I find the archives I expected to find on the Hub?
The Archives Hub does not include all UK archives, so it is possible that we do not have a description for an archive you are interested in. If you cannot find an archive, you could try searching TNA's Discovery service. The nature of archives and archival description means that you may need to alter your search stragegies. The search term you use may not bring back all records relevant to your subject interest. Try our Guide to Using Archives if you are new to using archives, or see our search help for tips on how to search.
If you know of an archive collection that you feel should be included please do get in touch with us.
I've found an error in a description, can you correct it?
You can either email us or contact the holding repository regarding the contents of their description (at the top of the description there's a link to 'Email the repository'). Any changes they make will be reflected on the Archives Hub the next time they send us an update.
Please let us know if you find dead links to e.g. images and other materials. We don't host the digital materials but we will contact the repository to correct the link. As the content is held on external sites outside of the Archives Hub, we are not responsible for the maintenance of these links, which may show 'page not found' if they are not maintained.
What is a Themed Collection?
Some search results may include Themed Collections. These are descriptions of material that has been brought together to be part of a website, usually with digital content. They range over diverse topics, from World War One to poetry, fashion and dance. The collections are largely digital and they may be hosted by a number of different institutions.
Browse all Themed Collections.
Can you explain the archival terms used in descriptions?
Please see our Glossary.
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.)
Remember that the majority of repositories have specific collection policies, and they do 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. Click on the repository name for more information about the repository, or click on the email link to open an email to them.