Tales from the Archives: An Archivist’s Perspective

Guildford Cathedral archives has been undergoing an ambitious project to professionalise our archive and to open it up further to researchers and the local community, which is all part of the wider People’s Cathedral Project.

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Over the past year we have truly accomplished a great deal and now is the time to stop and celebrate our achievements.


Firstly and most importantly the archive is now formally recognised and endorsed by Chapter and as such we now have professional policies that guide all the work that we do, from collecting policies, to a deposit agreement, access policy and loan policies.  We truly now are a fully functioning professional archive.


Next, and almost as important, we have embarked on a massive cataloguing project. Although the collection was listed in a rudimentary state at the beginning of the project it was not fit for purpose or following professional archive standards and did not aid discovery by researchers.

After much head scratching a cataloguing hierarchy was designed which would enable researchers to pick apart the collection, and undertake thorough research into the Cathedral Archives as well as being able to grow and develop effectively as the catalogue project picks up speed.

Guildford Cathedral Archives are now being catalogued effectively into this hierarchy and it is proving robust and fit for purpose, accurately reflecting the collections held by the Cathedral.


In order to aid discovery of our Collections we have purchased cataloguing software with an online accessible search function.  The catalogue is user friendly to both archivist and the public, while also aiding professional cataloguing of the collections following international standards (ISAD(G)).  It is fully functional as a search tool and has much to offer the archives in terms of the way the Collections are presented to the wider public.


The website itself allows us to widen our net and opening up the Collections to researchers throughout the globe.  It also has an inbuilt exhibition area which enables us to curate articles, blogs and small exhibitions online to present our Collections in a new and unique way.  As the Cathedral has limited space with regards to exhibition space for archive materials it gives us more options to display our materials further.

If you wish to explore our catalogue and collections further head over to http://archive.guildford-cathedral.org/


Running alongside this we have also undertaken a massive digitisation project aimed at digitising key items within the Collections which again supports us to get our collections out there in the wider community and provides access to researchers who might not necessarily be able to come on site.  Digitised content is now available on our catalogue website and is ready and waiting for you to explore.

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We now also have a loyal team of archive volunteers who are fully trained up and are a great asset to the team and have really helped the project move forward and enabled up to get to the stage that we are at now.  As the project moves forward over the next few months (and for years to come) they will be the constant when it comes to the archive.


All in all the past 12 months have been quite momentous in Guildford Cathedral Archives, must has happened to drive forward with professionalising and opening up the collections further and the future looks bright.


If you are interested in any aspect of our collections do head over to our archive website and explore and do not hesitate to contact the archive team: archive@guildford-cathedral.org