We’ll help you get your community archive on the map.  Find out how

Managing a collection

What you need to know to create a community archive.  Topics include scanning photos, cataloguing, getting your collection online and preserving your archive into the future.  

Collecting and accessioning
Displaying your collection online
Digital preservation
Caring for physical objects
Guidance on particular types of media

Collecting and accessioning

Collections management (link to external website)

A set of one-page guidelines on topics such as writing a collections policy, your relationship with a donor, and completing an accessions form.
Source: Norfolk Record Office, Community Archives Toolkit

Sample consent form for Creative Commons licensing (link to page on this website)

There is a sample donor consent form for groups that want to make use of Creative Commons licenses at the back of the Community Archives Cataloguing Guidelines.
Source: Community Archives and Heritage Group  

Archive collection policy statements: checklist of suggested contents (PDF)

Headings to help you draw up your group’s collection policy, which defines what you seek to acquire and preserve in your archive.
Source: The National Archives. Original 1995, with minor revisions, 2004


How to create digital copies of real objects (e.g. scan a photo)

Digitisation (link to external website)

A ste-by-step overview of the digitisation process.
Source: Norfolk Record Office, from the Community Archives Toolkit, 2011

A guide to Digitisation (link to external website)

A step-by-step guide to digitising collections – from planning your project, to purchasing equipment and choosing software.
Source: Share Museums East

Doing digitisation on a budget: a guide to low-cost digital projects (link to external website)

This guide provides an overview of low-cost heritage digitisation and shares inspiring examples
Source: Heritage Fund

Digitisation project planner (link to external website)

A framework for planning a digitisation project. Includes an example of a completed plan for a typical community archive.
Source: Heritage Fund


Community Archive Cataloguing Guidelines (link to page on this website)

It’s important to realise that record offices and museums follow slightly different approaches to cataloguing collections. Most online resources are written from one perspective or another. The Community Archive Cataloguing Guidelines explain the difference and offer an approach for cataloguing that is realistic and user-friendly, while consistent with either of these widely-used professional catalogue standards.
Source: Community Archives and Heritage Group, 2017

Accessioning and Cataloguing for Community Archives (link to external website)

Video of an online webinar. Good overview of accessioning and cataloguing from the archival ISAD(G) perspective by a professional archivist.
Source:  Scottish Archives

Cataloguing (link to external website)

Step by step guidance on the archival cataloguing process. From the Community Archives Toolkit.
Source: Norfolk Record Office. Community Archive Toolkit

Displaying your collection online

Getting your collections online (Community Archives webinar)

This webinar is  about websites and online catalogues for community archives. It covers low-budget and open-source approaches as well as higher-cost proprietary software.  It also includes tips and traps about running online catalogues from experienced groups.
Source: Community Archives and Heritage Group, 2021

Manage Your Collections (link to external website)

Would you like to upload a spreadsheet copy of your catalogue to the National Archive’s Discovery catalogue?   This webpage describes how this can be done via the Manage Your Collections service , and links to case studies of different archives who are currently using Manage Your Collections to publish their collections information online.
Source: National Archives

Digital preservation

Digital Sustainability for Community Archives (link to external website)

An introductory webinar by archivist Sean Rippington about the principles and practice of preserving records digitally.  With a very comprehensive and useful related PDF handout.
Source: Scottish Council on Archives, 2019

Novice to Know-How (link to external website)

Free online training course on digital preservation
Source: Digital Coalition Preservation and National Archives, 2020

Digital Preservation for Community Archives (PDF)

Commissioned by the Community Archives and Heritage Group, this provides an overview of digital objects and digital preservation, a step by step guide to getting started and more detailed guidance. With a glossary.
Source: University College London. Dept of Information Studies, 2018

Digital Preservation for Small Businesses: An Introductory Guide  (link to external website )

Though this is aimed at small business, it provides a good, accessible overview of digital preservation.
Source: Digital Preservation Coalition (commissioned by Archives and Record Council, Wales), 2022

Personal Digital Archiving (link to external website)

Though this is aimed at individuals, this comprehensive and practical 37-page includes free and low-budget approaches to digital preservation.
Source: Digital Preservation Coalition (written by Gabriela Redwine), 2015

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2023 (link to external website)

Cloud storage is becoming increasingly affordable.  These recommendations come from PC Mag.
Source: PC Mag

Caring for physical objects

Preservation (link to external website)

Good introduction on collections care specifically for community archives.
Source: Norfolk Record Office, Community Archives Toolkit

Archive Principles and Practice: an introduction to archives for non-archivists (link to external website)

This document from the National Archives contains useful guidance on physical storage.
Source: National Archives

Caring for records (link to external website)

Tips on handling and packaging documents and caring for photographs
Source: West Yorkshire Archive Service, not dated

Guidance on particular types of media

How to digitise (link to external website)

A set of guides for digitising different sorts of material, such as maps, 35mm slides, bound books and photographs.
Source: TownsWeb Archiving

How to Scan Your Old Photos (link to external website)

Simple one-page web page guidance from PC Mag on preparing images, scanning resolution, post-processing etc.
Source: PC Mag

Film and videotape and the community archive (PDF)

Guidance on types of film, collecting and managing film and videotape. Advice on copying and links to Film Archives UK
Source: CAHG, not dated

Recording oral history (link to external website)

One-page guidance providing an introduction to oral history recordings.
Source: Hampshire Archives, not dated

Oral History Society (link to external website)

See the Advice link on the main menu of the Oral History Society website, in particular  the sections about ‘Community projects‘ and ‘Archiving and Access‘.
Source: Oral History Society