Wiki Archive

Gavin Robinson has written as great post about UK National Archives’ Your Archives.

He says:

First the good points. The scope of the wiki is much bigger than I was expecting. I thought it would only include PRO holdings, but it actually covers the National Register of Archives too, which effectively means that the site can include any archives in the UK. This is the first sign that the merger of the PRO and NRA to form the National Archives is having some tangible benefits – I previously suspected that it was just vacuous rebranding but Your Archives promises to prove me wrong. This is a particularly important benefit because there isn’t necessarily much logic to which repository documents end up in, especially older documents. For example, the records of the Parliamentarian Ordnance Office, which were a major source for my work on saddles, are split between the PRO, the British Library, the Bodleian Library, and the Museum of London. Even the ones at the PRO are illogically split between SP28 and various WO classes rather than being kept together. As far as I know, the best guide to these sources is an appendix of my unpublished PhD thesis, which is hardly ideal

However, the thrust of the blog post is the limiting activity the PRO has set on the wiki.

For me it shows the PRO just doesn’t get the internet. Information is their business. In fact they are in many ways the custodians of information, protecting it from all but the worthy. Yet the internet has changed this. The PRO could play a very important role to play in the development of historical information on the intent. The potential for digitalisation projects and co-ordination of research efforts is almost limitless. However, they must first stop seeing themselves as protectors of the information and begin to realise that they are in fact distributors.


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