WE ARE pleased that at long last, funding has been granted for specialist software for the creation of a digital catalogue for York City Archives (The Press, November 19). However, there are serious inaccuracies in the remarks quoted, such as “it is necessary to ‘bring order to the chaos’ and ‘We don’t really know what we have’.”
Such statements show a surprising lack of awareness both of archival practice and also the work done by the National Archives on its Access to Archives site (A2A), a site well known to archivists and serious researchers. There are 8,000 entries for York City Archives records (including the catalogue of Mayors illustrated in the article) on the site. These are fully searchable.
Almost all collections and groups of records have been catalogued to an adequate level to identify material which might be relevant to researchers. There is a general guide, several collection guides and detailed lists and databases, which all the staff should know about.
All except the card index are on computer. It is difficult to understand how this view can be promulgated by fellow professionals and we would like to set the record straight.
Rita Freedman, Anna Wheeler, Sarah Costley and Mary Thallon York archivists, variously, between 1969 and 2008.