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Thread: TNA advice

  1. #1
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    Default TNA advice

    Hello everyone

    I'm intending to pay a visit to the National Archives at Kew on Friday, and had a couple of what may seem to be daft questions, if anyone can help. It's my first visit, so forewarned is forearmed and all that!

    I've got a list of ORBs that I'd like to access. These have been digitised, so can I view the digitised files at Kew free of charge, rather than paying the normal 3.36? If I can, are they accessible through TNA computers, or can I take a laptop and view them on that?

    Many thanks,

    Regards

    Simon

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    The ORB's will be on microfilm, so you'll have to source the reel and load a film reader. No charge involved unless you want photocopies.

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    Last time I was there you could access the ORBs for free via one of the desk top computers. There was no need to faff around with the microfiche. You still have to pay to print the pages off though.
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Simon,
    Before you go spending any money, let me have a list of what ORB's you're after, as i have quite a few in my collection.
    Alan

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    Thanks for all the replies. I'd assumed that if they'd been digitised, they'd be accessible in that format, rather than having to go through reels of microfilm; from experience that's a long and pretty tedious business!

    Alan, that's a very kind offer. I've got quite a few I'm after - they're all specific months for specific Squadrons. Let me know if that's okay, and I'll drop you a PM.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hi Simon,
    Can't promise i'll have the specific ones you're after but PM the list.
    Alan.

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    The old microfilm ORBs AIR27 series are now all online, and that's pretty much the only way you'll get to see them; the microfilm versions are no longer available. Their digital equivalents are much more fiddly to access. Whereas with the microfilms you could whizz back and forth through the film to the section you wanted, the digital versions are chopped into small sections, by year/month, and the photo resolution is rarely better than poor. Clearly, whoever in the NA specified their digital system wasn't about to need to use it. But the information is usually clear enough if the entries were typed; handwritten ones in the orderly Room clerk's customary copperplate are less reliable. The originals are off-limits to mortals.

    To view the AIR27s you do not have to be a registered reader, but if you're going to do any in-depth research I strongly advise you become one.

    AIR 28s and 29s and other such documents are generally available in the originals, but you will need to be a registered reader, and for this you will need to set aside a half-hour upstairs to get registered. Make sure you take the required identification documents with you. The NA website has full details. But beware, research becomes addictive!

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    Hi

    As has been said you can view everything that is digitalised for free on the many computer screens that are available on the first floor at Kew. I think if you try to access this material from your own laptop at Kew then you will encounter the same charges as you would if you were at home.

    If you want complete copies of whole sections of an ORB in Kew language a "piece" such as AIR27/866 which is the ORB for No 111Sqn for all 12 months of 1940 then in my view the best thing to do is to purchase a digitalised copy on CD via the website which will cost you just 10 - excellent value in my view.

    If you just want odd pieces of the ORB then you can call it up on a computer screen at Kew and if you have a digital camera you can take a photo of the screen/page of the bits you want.

    From my experience "deadrock" is not correct the microfilm copies of AIR27 were still there accessible on 11 January 2014 and if you go to the help desk they will direct you to where they can be found on the first floor and then if you view them through a reader you can make digital camera copies of the pages you want (for free).

    Don't forget to check the website for the identification stuff you need to take to get a readers card and you will need to fill in a document to get permission to use a camera.

    Steve

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    Default ORB's at Kew

    I agree with Steve

    I was there 2 weeks ago and the microfilmed Squadron ORB's were all still there. Free to view and photograph on the screen of the microfilm reader, or pay-to-print copies on the other machines.

    Other ORB's (stations, Groups, etc) are not microfilmed and you have to order down the originals as a registered reader.

    Ian
    Last edited by ianh; 22nd February 2014 at 22:26.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the additional replies. My first job will be to get a reader's card and the photography permission sorted, then off I go. I've got my list of TNA file references ready, so wish me luck!

    Regards

    Simon

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