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Investing in Knowledge
International
Regional
People's Network
Renaissance
Action for Archives
Archives Task Force
Strategies for Archives
Framework for the Future
Wider Library Issues
Standards & Registration
Learning & Access
Designation
Collections
Managing Risk
Workforce
Acceptance in Lieu
Portable Antiquities
Govt Indemnity Scheme
Online Initiatives
DCMS Wolfson
PRISM Fund

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Images relating to archives

Action for Archives

Museums, libraries and archives connect people to knowledge and information, creativity and inspiration. MLA's role is to unlock this wealth for everyone.

Listening to the Past, Speaking to the Future: The Report of the Archives Task Force

The report of the Archives Task Force is now available. Launched by Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the 24th March, the report makes clear recommendations to Government to transform and revitalise the UK's archives.

Listening to the Past, Speaking to the Future: Executive summary and recommendations (PDF 274KB)format: pdf 1.4
Listening to the Past, Speaking to the Future: Executive summary and recommendations (Word 114KB)format: doc

Listening to the Past, Speaking to the Future: The report of the Archives Task Force - Full report (2.9MB) format: pdf 1.4
Gwrando ar y gorffennol, Siarad i’r Dyfodol (3MB)format: pdf 1.4

Archives Task Force: Papers of the Archives Task Force, including full membership list, minutes and papers, research reports, nine Annexes to the Archives Task Force report, and a comprehensive Questions and Answers guide.

MLA's agenda for archives

MLA has been working with key archive stakeholders to deliver an innovative and ambitious agenda for archives. Our first action plan for archives was published in September 2001 and we have been working to develop the profile and capacity of archives through the Regional Agencies. We currently support the National Council on Archives' Archive Lottery Adviser post, and we have provided financial support for the National Council on Archives' Policy and Development Officer post and regional funding for the highly successful Archive Awareness Month 2003. We maintain a strong record of innovative research and data gathering for the archive domain.

Strategies for Archives: some of the wider archival work MLA has been developing in partnership with other bodies across the archive domain.

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Demand for archives

In the last fifty years there has been a significant expansion in the amount of archival material held in the UK, and a huge increase in the number of people using archives, fuelled in large measure by the growth of interest in family and local history. In the UK, there are over 1.5 million visits each year to archives, and over 75% of those visitors do so for private or personal research. Many are first time visitors, and many more millions access archives virtually. Across the country the use of archives has never been more popular.

Archives play a key role in supporting both formal education and lifelong learning, and helping to combat social exclusion. Over 70% of all visitors see archives as strengthening family or community identity. Over 200 groups in the UK already contribute to online community archive networks. MLA and its partners want to build on this good practice, increase participation and broaden access to hard-to-reach groups.

Archives have a key role to play in the future prosperity and identity of Britain. Use is growing rapidly, but currently only 5% of archive users are aged fewer than 24, and less than 2% are non-white. Archives have the potential to reach millions through the Internet. MLA and its partners want to build on current provision to broaden participation and use of archives, ensuring they are relevant to people from all walks of life.
Archive facts and figures

People

  • 300,000 people visited the sites of The National Archives in 2002/03
  • nearly a million UK members of local & family history societies
  • nearly a million visits to local authority archives in England and Wales in 2002/03

Places

  • MLA estimates that there are 2150 archives in the UK
  • Over 2,000 people employed in archives across the UK

Participation

  • In the last ten years there has been a 52% increase in archive users
  • 30 million people looked at the 1901 census website on its first day
  • 85 million information requests handled by The National Archives websites 2002/03
  • Over 75% of the UK population expressed an interest in history according to MORI in 2002.
  • 94% of archive users say that they have enjoyed and benefited from the experience.
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