Britain’s university archives own everything from medieval court records to prime ministers’ letters, with definitive collections including subjects like theatre companies, pressure groups and leading businesses.
Yet while essential for researchers, they are unlikely to escape the “deep cuts” that the Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable has warned are coming for higher education following the Comprehensive Spending Review this autumn.
Against this backdrop, the National Archives has launched a range of linked initiatives to find ways of building a sustainable future. ….
…Another possible scenario is that archives will be required to generate a greater share of their running costs. Here again the National Archives are available to help.
“It took us four or five years to get digitisation right,” said Mr Morley, “so we can draw on our experience. That can offer opportunities for revenue generation for some archives, although they need to keep a balance between what researchers and family historians need. Any money generated by digitisation should also be used to digitise less popular material.”