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Thread: NA policy

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    Default NA policy

    A friend who requested a copy of a page from an ORB has been advised that the NA will no longer search "for any details within a date range in any document". Has anyone else come up against this?

    Perhaps we have both misunderstood the NA's advice, but if correct it appears that one either has to visit the NA in person to copy a page, or pay a 'researcher' to do it - both inordinately expensive for a single page copy.

    Brian

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    This sounds like a typical cost-cutting move to limit the time it takes to process public requests. I have not had any dealings with the NA but I have encountered similar policies at other archives. If you imagine the amount of time it takes us to scan these documents in order to come up with the information we want, I can't say I blame them, although it probably does represent a lessening of the high level of service we have known in the past.
    David

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    Dear Brian,

    I had the same problem before. I was told that it's no problem to get copies of a whole month or something like that. But if you ask for a single page your request will be denied. This method saves time and money for the NA.

    For us it's another step backwards.

    kind regards

    Steve

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    Brian

    I have completely given up on making direct request from TNA as I have considerable collection of emails saying exactly the same. I've even had the same refusal when requesting an entire document.

    But I have found that if I am desperate I ring up and ask to be put through to the Copying Department and ask to speak to the manager. He's a really nice chap, though he always sounds stressed (understandable really). Though there's no guarantees that a service wil be provided, talking to someone in person helps expalin the situation.

    A
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    I recently contacted the copying dept at the NA to ask if they could copy a couple of POW repatriation records. They said that they could, no problem. They posted me the application form which I completed with the file ref numbers, Full name, rank, serv No and POW number for both men.

    I then had an e mail saying "Our preliminary examination of your request shows that specific information within this document is not easily identifiable and will require research."
    I queried this as I had supplied plenty of reference material to identify them.

    Their next reply stated
    "Please be aware that the following changes are taking place to the record copying estimating service.
    Searches of the records
    We will soon no longer be able to offer free searches in the records to identify items to be copied.
    The first phase has now been implemented in that we will not search:
    within any document for an individual, unless the catalogue description indicates that the file is for that particular person only
    for any details within a date range within any document
    within the WO 97 or WO 95 series
    If a search is required to identify the items to be copied, you can pay us to do the search, hire an independent researcher or carry out the research yourself. Find out more about search options.
    We have taken this decision because, while we have been providing an increasing number of estimates, the number of actual copy orders from these estimates is declining. As a result, the service no longer covers its costs.
    Introduction of automated system
    The copy estimating service is being replaced by an automated system whereby copies will be costed on the average page count of a series. This system will go live during spring 2010."


    I spoke to a very nice man in research who agreed with me that I had had the run around and that the e-mails did not offer consistancy. Unfortunatly he also assured me that the copying dept would not go back on their decision which had been made because a lot of requests were made for costing and then the order to proceed was not given which was wasting the dept's time. We agreed that I would submit an application to the research dept which I did. The estimate for the job is 45.
    At present I am holding off as I am very short of funds.
    Maybe there is someone out there who is visiting the NA and could do a copy on my behalf? Please contact via PM or e-mail and I could supply further details. I would of course pay you should the price be appropriate.

    Unfortunatly the copying dept's change of rules means that POW Repatriations, ORB's and any file where a specific few pages are required out of a larger file, means that even with the correct reference numbers, anyone who is researching and does not live within reach of Kew or have the funds to employ a researcher is not going to be able to see the goodies

    Apologies for the rant...
    Best wishes
    James

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    Thank you gentlemen - both on and off- board - for your responses. And I know my friend will also see them and be reassured - if not satisfied - that he is not the only one who has come up against this.

    One can see where this goes - the new policy will undoubtedly mean less requests - therefore even more reason to cut staff to the point the authorities think it's no longer worth financing the place since so few people use it.

    Sceptic (sorry - Brian)

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    Just my two cents: In October 2009 I requested an estimate on

    1. Document Reference(s): AIR 27/617
    Instructions for Copying: ORB, form 540 and 541 for Oct. and Nov. 44

    2. Document Reference(s): AIR 27/1012
    Instructions for Copying: ORB, form 540 and 541 for June and July 44

    3. Document Reference(s): AIR 27/1013
    Instructions for Copying: ORB, form 540 and 541 for July and Oct. 44

    The following day (!) I got a reply with among other the following paragraph:

    "We are able to spend up to twenty minutes attempting to identify the material specified by you in up to five records, in order to estimate the copying cost. Our preliminary examination shows that your request would require a longer search than this, so we are unable to proceed."

    This a kind of request that I have had success with about 10 times earlier and quite frankly I do not see how things have changed.

    Since then I have focused on Australian records. The NAA have an excellent service and digital records policy.

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Hi,

    I get the same problem. Why don't they go back to the old method? You used to pay 10 for the estimate. If you then went ahead the 10 was deducted from the toal amount. If you didn't, you lost your 10. As the little rodent on the telly says. 'simples'

    Alex

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    Mikkel,

    I don't know if it would work, but have you considered making six separate requests - one for each month? I don't know how long it would take to copy each month - I suspect more than 20 minutes - but it would be worth a try. I appreciate that would mean paying the postage six times but it might be a way around it.

    Agree Alex; that apart I can't see what is so difficult in copying a single page from an ORB - there can't be an easier document to single-page copy.

    Still Sceptic

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    Hi Brian,
    Just out of interest, what is your freind after. I have literally thousands of ORB pages (paper copies) in my attic that i've accumulated over the years before going over to digital. Mostly BC and a couple of CC and FC thrown in. Too many to list, i have a notebook that gives me an idea of whats up there though, but theres no harm in asking if i can check to see if i've got anything of interest to anyone, plus, my searching is not limited to the 20mins of the N/A:-) please be aware that i can't of course promise i'll have it, but!! any queries, just pm me and i'll check.
    I
    Last edited by AlanW; 10th March 2010 at 18:29.

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