The National Archives holds over eleven million historical government and public records, one of the largest archive collections in the world. From Domesday Book to modern government papers and digital files, the collections includes paper and parchment, electronic records and websites, photographs, posters, maps, drawings and paintings.
Originally, The National Archives website provided a free online search facility for the collections. This required a certain level of knowledge to successfully search the Catalogue and locate the document or record series you required. So, during the course of 2013, a replacement system for the Catalogue was beta tested and now, Discovery is the only way to search the collections. Discovery features new ways to search, allowing users to explore and browse the collections in new ways that do not require any prior knowledge.
In September, The National Archives also released the first pages of their newly designed website which provides a greatly improved customer experience. The site is more modern, visually appealing and simple in layout. If you haven’t visited the site in a while, I would recommend an exploration of the new homepage, blog and top-level service pages – About us, Records, Education, Information management and Archives sector. Have a dig around in previously unchartered territories! For example, even if you are not involved in educating young people, the Education section provides a mine full of fascinating information with workshops, lessons, podcasts and more.
The evolution of the web pages can be followed on The National Archives Pinterest board, from the early Public Record Office web presence to the newly designed website.