The collections information on our website comes from a range of systems which have been developed and used over many years. Each system is structured differently to allow for the information it holds.

In bringing these collections together, we have had to map the data from all these systems on to a single schema (structure/index). We have made sure that each record has a unique reference number, title and description. Where available, we have also included geographical coordinates, dates and historical periods/eras, and notes. Images and audio clips that are associated with the records are also available, and links between related records can be followed from the details page of an individual result.

For some collections, such as registrars records, we are unable to make the raw data available because it relates to living individuals. In such cases, a search of the collections for a name will return records which contain that name but you will be unable to see the details here. In some cases, you may be able to get more detailed information by visiting us in person.

Having standardised the structure of the collections, we have used artificial intelligence (AI) to further improve the data. We have used this to identify the names of people, organisations, places and keywords (entity extraction) and made them available in the ‘tags’ section of the record. We hope that this will let us link common themes, individuals and organisations across our records and make them  easier for you to find and explore.

The combined index consists of tens of thousands of records, and it is not possible for us to examine the ‘tags’ produced for each individual record. Over time, we will continue to refine and expand them, taking advantage of rapid developments in this area of technology, and we therefore expect the quality of the ‘tags’ information to improve.