A2A (Access to archives), John d’Arcy


A2A is the English strand in the UK archives network; its database at www.a2a.org.uk (a new web address) already contains the electronic equivalent of over 400,000 catalogue pages or 5.7 million catalogue entries describing archives held across England in national, local and specialist archive repositories, and dating from the 8th century to the present day.

The WSRO has participated fully in this project, and intends to offer further catalogues for inclusion as part of the third tranche organised within our western region. So far almost all the public records (e. g. courts and hospitals), and ecclesiastical parish and school records and all the
major lists of family, business, and solicitors’ archives are now on the site. With the completion of the third stage by the end of this year (2004) all the catalogues of listed archives will be available.

A very important caution to add is that obviously many of the catalogues are being updated, as records are added to collections, and therefore many of the lists on the A2A site are quickly out of date. In the long term we will update them on the site ourselves.

In the latest monthly analysis of catalogue files requested by users of the web site the WSRO came eighth out of about 250 with over 800 hits, a very creditable performance, but as other record offices achieve total or near total coverage our position may decline. We are receiving a number of email enquiries about our archives here consequent to these hits and one searcher came specially to Trowbridge to see a number of share certificates of the Real del Monte Mining Company in the Savernake archives, which is probably one of the very few times that those documents have been produced for inspection.