Interested in using archives but have no idea where to start? Then read on….

Everyone can relate to those time-consuming and frustrating searches that result in – well, let’s face it – not much to show for the effort. If you are planning to use archives, those searches can be even more frustrating. But fear not! There are a number of places that can help with those first steps.

Here at the Institute we have a number of subject guides providing an introduction to the collections we hold. They cover a range of topics including biography, child psychology, comparative education, and vocational and technical education. With links to the archive catalogue they provide a quick and easy way to delve into what we have. They are all available on the website, so why not have a look?

So, you’ve checked and we don’t have what you’re looking for. How about trying somewhere else?  

  • Do you have a name of an individual or organisation? Then your first port of call must be the National Register of Archives. It is the number one place to search for archive collections held around the UK.
  • Are you looking for the records of a school (or other organisation) in a specific geographical area? If so, you will want to go to your local record office; and ARCHON can help you. It provides all the information you need to know about archive services around the UK.
  • You don’t really want to leave London? There is still no excuse! London is the place to be if you want to do some documentary research and AIM25 is the best place to get started. You can search by archive service, individual, organisation, subject…
  • So you’ve tried these places and still nothing…? Then how about having a look at one of a number of websites that are subject-specific. As a taster…
    • Genesis: for women’s history
    • Moving Here: on migration to England over the last 200 years. This is a great website including oral and written reminiscences by people from around the world right up to the present day
    • CASBAH: on Caribbean studies and the history of Black and Asian peoples in the UK
  • Does your research relate to education overseas? Then how about trying the UNESCO Archive Portal, providing a ‘gateway’ into collections held around the world.  

So now you have the know-how the only thing for it is to make a cup of tea, pull up a chair and see what you can find. You will never do an “education archives” Google search again!

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