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Thread: National Archives Fees

  1. #1
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    Default National Archives Fees

    Just been informed that the cost of a digital download from National Archives is being increased to 3.45 wef 1st February 2016

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/d...s-feb-2016.pdf

    No comment!

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Hello Pete,
    You beat me to it. I am concerned that the Kew inhouse service, which has been the subject of complicated 'reviews', will be further pushed out of the reach of the average member of the public. In the meantime, I have spent some time over Christmas trying to think of ways I can lower my costs for RAFCommands members... what am I not seeing?

    Bruce (busy scratching his head)
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    however, the cost of postal photocopies and digital copies has been reduced

    Malcolm

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    Hello

    Bruce, can you explain ? Do you mean that there'll be some sections out of reach for a "normal" reader like me ?

    Joss

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    ... but now there is a charge for estimating the order (8.24) which is pretty important in most files unless you order the whole file without knowing it's size, or 'research' charges (22.75 + vat per 15 minutes) to select sections of a file for copying: I have been told in advance that this will be applied if a date or subject range is included in the order, such as ' April to June 1944 ' from an ORB that covers a longer period. I do not know yet if the staff will have any discretion in the matter, but was told not to count on it. I will be pleased if forum members are able to give some positive feedback after the new charges come into force, until then I am passing on what I have been told by the staff affected.

    Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    Hello Joss,
    What I mean by 'normal' (nothing personal) is a customer who is a member of the public. A lot of orders come to TNA from businesses, government departments, news media and other sources where a research fee is paid from a budget and it is expected. For most of the people on this forum, it is different. The money comes from the same budget that feeds the children and insures the car. To pay over 8 to ask the size of a file and then over 1 per page for the copies is not possible for many people with a non-commercial interest, and an extra charge if you only want a certain date range from within the file is almost certain to make most people say 'no thanks'.
    The commercial success of the Image Gallery service at TNA has lead to what I believe is a distorted view of what is acceptable in the 'by request' copying of open documents. I am looking for ways to encourage researchers and cannot see how this new layer of charges to the public helps.

    Regards,
    a very grumpy Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    Hello Bruce,

    Thanks for the explanations. I don't buy online, I prefer to visit in person, I can do a day research from France, and by judging by the increase in prices, it'll soon be a bargain to drive through the Channel Tunnel and up to Kew, rather than order from home !


    Regards

    Joss

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    For 1 month of some Sqn ORBs, you need 3, 4 occasionly 5 downloads to get Form 540, 541 and all the Appx. Cash Cow comes to mind!

    I was back to circa 1785 over 15 years ago, but my ancestor (Married 1815 per Archive copies), also has a GRO death Certificate with place of death, but was never born and has no burial place, well no record online at least.

    I'm afraid any serious research, a paid researcher, travelling, meals, photocopies, taxis, scans and overnight stays, are effectively out of bounds to many.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 5th January 2016 at 11:49.

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    Add to this, that the wartime service would have been covered over the period of 72 months, be it a unit or an airman. If you add the post-war period, number of months increases significantly. For me, the research is out of question, as having no access to personal records, I would have to get through every ORB of every RAF unit existing after the war.
    That said, I do not understand the approach. The operation is being done by money of the taxpayer, then still, the taxpayer is asked to provide further funds. Looks like double tax. I do not know, where savings are made, either. Most countries provide such records online for free, thus allowing to reduce cost of personnel employed, and save space for reading rooms.

  10. #10
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    It is a bit of a problem with government spending overall and I suspect it is more akin to a selective tax, which I suppose is fairer, as much as I dislike the escalating cost of research. Currently my rail/tube fair is around 25 per visit so the odd ORB for a month is cheaper. Luckily a lot of my research covered the pre-war period and you could get decades in one 3.30 download per squadron, although the quality of the entries was variable to say the least. The biggest problem I have is the quality of the light and the dark shadows the camera stands cast. I normally have to pay for copies of photos as these are almost impossible to photograph without severe reflections but the quality is not as goodT as the scan is low resolution - okay for documents.

    The real problem is for those in the majority who can't make personal visits to TNA and I can understand the frustration. Where I have had to request documents copied from local archives or libraries that are too far to travel for me I have always had a good response and at very reasonable prices but you may have to put up with multiple A3 copies of single large charts or maps.

    I suspect the austerity measures have not yet been fully implemented so I hope that things don't get more expensive. If only government cut backs were managed by real people in the real world as I'm sure there is a completely useless element that could be removed at a great saving. Normally the front end suffers while the back end buys more sherry. It's the front end that gets things done!

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