National Archives
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New online tools point researchers in the right direction

The National Archives has launched an innovative online tool to point researchers directly to the historical resources they are looking for.

Known as 'research signposts', the first set of guides - 'Looking for records of a person?' - simplify the process of researching an individual's history by drawing together all useful research resources in one place. The signposts indicate whether the information being researched exists, and where to find it - be it online, as original documents or from external sources.

'These "research signposts" will guide researchers through the minefield of information out there,' Jeff James, Director of Operations and Services at The National Archives, said. 'As the first port of call, the online tools pull everything together in one place and will give people greater confidence to find the answers for themselves.'

Complementing the research signposts are a series of two minute animated guides, collectively entitled 'Understand the archives in minutes'. These have been designed to develop researchers' skills so they can explore the archives more effectively.

The new tools are the first in a series of online investments The National Archives is making in its website over the next year. Two further sets of research signposts, 'Looking for a place?' and 'Looking for a subject?', are currently in development and will be available on the website from September.