Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Changes to TNA records copying service

The National Archives at Kew has made an announcement which I imagine will be seen by many as not being its best move of the year, particularly for those who do not live near the facility:

Please be aware that from spring 2009 we will be making the following changes to our services - full details will be provided nearer the time.

Records Copying Estimating Service

You will need to specify your requirements precisely, including the number of pages, for us to provide you with an estimate of the cost of record copying. We will no longer be able to search within documents to identify the items to be copied for estimation purposes.

If a search is required to identify the items to be copied, you will now be offered the options of engaging an independent researcher or using our paid search service.

We have taken this decision because, while we have been providing an increasing number of estimates, the number of actual copy orders from these estimates is declining. As a result, the service no longer covers its costs.

The bottom line appears to be that if you have located an item via the TNA catalogue, where before you could ask for an estimate on how much it would cost to copy particular documents, you will now have to hire somebody either at TNA or privately to look at the documents prior to ordering them, in order to work out how many pages need copying. Further announcements on this are expected soon.

Having relied on the service myself in the past, I personally think this is an unfortunate development from an institution that has done so much in recent years to try to make its material so accessible to the general public.


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