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Partnerships and Collaboration

Transferring the Archive to a Public Sector Partner

If you choose to transfer your archives to a public sector archive, the collection will, in the main, be professionally catalogued and managed, and stored in good quality environmental conditions designed for the long-term preservation of archives. The records of your business will be accessible to academics and public researchers and will become part of the UKs cultural heritage. To find out the most suitable public sector partner for your business archives collection please contact The National Archives Business Archives Advice Manager asd@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk; telephone 020 8392 5270.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (London) has set up an initiative that encourages collaboration between businesses, museums and libraries. For more information see http://mla.sparknow.net/phase2/pilots

Solicitors may also wish to refer to this Practice Note from the Law Society.

N.B. Public sector archives include city and county records offices, university archives, and specialist museums and libraries that have archive collections.

Legal and financial considerations (including terms of deposit)

There are 2 key terms of transfer. Please see our legal advice section to check the impact of and any restrictions on records transfer to public sector archives:-

  • as a gift - where your company surrenders legal title to the collection and has no future claim on stated intellectual property transferred; and the receiving records office will take full responsibility for the collections management (though you may state your access preferences). There may be an initial cost to prepare the collection for transfer e.g. boxing-up and basic-level cataloguing, and you may need to negotiate a one-off or annual fee for ongoing storage, cataloguing, preservation and service provision relating to the collection.
  • as a (permanent) loan - where your company retains ownership of the collection and can determine research access policy, and is likely to pay a one-off or annual fee to the records office for ongoing storage, cataloguing, preservation and service provision relating to the collection. N.B. There are usually financial penalties if loan agreements are rescinded.

For more information on typical contracts, or loan agreements set up when archives are loaned or deposited in public sector archives see The National Archives website at http:/www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Examples of business archives transferred to public sector archives:

  • British Steel archive was transferred into public ownership in 2004 when Corus agreed to transfer the archive to a new purpose-built archive funded in partnership with Teesside Archives, and the University of Teesside. See Corus case study
  • Bogle-LOuverture Publications Limited, a publishing house in London, loaned its political and literary archive to London Metropolitan Archives in 2005. See Bogle LOuverture case study
  • Penguin books archive was transferred to Bristol University Archives after an initial donation by publisher Sir Allen Lane in 1960. Since then the company has regularly transferred material such as first editions, editorial files and advertising material.
  • Raleigh Cycles archive was deposited in Nottinghamshire Archives in 1983. It is one of the archives major business collections and was showcased by Nottinghamshire Archives and the University of Nottingham in a public exhibition The Story of Raleigh Cycles of Nottingham in 2008.


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