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Closure of Your Archives
The 'wiki' format
We launched Your Archives in 2007, with the intention of providing an online platform for users to contribute their knowledge of archival sources held by The National Archives and other archives throughout the UK. Since that time over 31,000 people have registered and contributed or updated articles, over 21,000 articles have been included and there have been almost 260,000 page edits. There have been over 6 million visits to the site with more than 50 million page views.
However, online technologies have changed rapidly in that time, and the expectations of our users have also changed. Users expect to see information relating to records in one place, whether the 'official' catalogue description or detail added by another user. While the wiki format of Your Archives still very much has its place on the web, it doesn't fit with the seamless user experience that we want to provide.
Discovery - a new way to collaborate
We have therefore decided that we should focus our attentions on adding some of the functionality of Your Archives into Discovery, which will soon replace our online Catalogue. We're currently developing the functionality to enable users to enhance our collection by annotating and tagging our records. Our intention is to allow users the flexibility to describe records in new ways, while making the distinction between official catalogue descriptions and user-generated content. Discovery will provide a single platform for users to search and view official and user-generated content seamlessly.
In order to progress with the transition to Discovery, we have decided to close Your Archives to new users from January 2012. In addition, users will be unable to edit content after September 2012. We will then prepare the site for preservation on the government web archive - Your Archives' content will be accessible from the archive, but some functionality may not work. We plan to migrate suitable content into the Discovery service.
Test Discovery now
Take a look at the beta version of Discovery, which is up and running at nationalarchives.gov.uk/discovery. We're making constant improvements to it based on user feedback, so please use it and let us know what you think. Your Archives has helped us learn so much from researchers who use our collection, and has helped us realise the importance and value of user collaboration. We really do value all past contributions and hope that you will continue to work with us on our exciting new ventures.