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What are Archives?

Archives are collections of information – known as records. They come in many forms including:

  • Text
  • Images
  • Audio
  • Audio-visual

They can be digital (ie. email) or analogue (ie. a letter).

Increasingly, records might be complex digital objects such as a 3D interactive drawing, an online chat forum, or a website.

Archives accumulate overtime. As an organisation, person or business continues to make records, so the archive grows. In the case of the Parliamentary Archives, the collection has been growing for over five hundred years! You can find out more about the records we hold by visiting Our Collections pages.

There are Archive Services all over the UK and Ireland collecting and making records accessible. You can find out more about these Services and what they collect by visiting The National Archives’ Find An Archive page.