Collection of historically valuable records, ranging from papers and documents to photographs, films, videotapes, and sound recordings.
UK archives The National Register of Archives, founded 1945, is in London; the Public Record Office (London and Kew) has documents of law and government departments from the Norman Conquest, including the Domesday Book and Magna Carta. Some government documents remain closed, normally for 30 years, but some for up to 100 years. The National Portrait Gallery has photographs, paintings, and sculptures; the British Broadcasting Corporation Archives have sound recordings, 500,000 cans of films, 1.5 million videotapes (1990), and a contemporary Archive Unit to make films about the background to current events. In 1989 the British Film Institute launched a campaign for a national television archive to be funded from ITV advertising revenues.
Private archives have been increasingly made available to users by their transfer to public custody in the manuscript departments of, for example, the British Library, university and larger public libraries, and to record offices of local authorities. The Historical Manuscripts Commission, through its National Register of Archives, acts as a central clearing house of information as to the whereabouts and accessibility of private (and other) archives. The National Register of Archives is the central collecting point for information about manuscripts relating to British history.
UK archivists The professional body for archivists is the Society of Archivists, founded 1947, and a common meeting point for both archivist and user is provided by the British Records Association, founded 1932. The interests of business archives are catered for by the Business Archives Council, established 1934. Training for archivists is provided in Britain at the universities of Liverpool and London (University College), the university colleges at Aberystwyth and Bangor, and at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
International archives The United Nations and several international organizations maintain archives. The International Council on Archives was founded 1948 in Paris under the auspices of UNESCO.