Challenges and Opportunities with Citing Archives Consistently: a joint report commissioned by Research Libraries UK (RLUK), The National Archives (TNA) and Jisc

This report was commissioned by Research Libraries UK (RLUK), The National Archives (TNA) and Jisc to kickstart a discussion about citation practices and how to standardise references to unique and distinct collections (UDC’s) held in repositories across the UK. Every year, tens of thousands of citations are included within the footnotes and endnotes of academic publications despite the fact that a widely agreed and coherent system of referencing UDC repositories does not currently exist.

Creating a more consistent framework for how academics cite UDC collections will deliver two main benefits. By standardising references to collections and the materials within them, it will be easier for archivists, librarians and collection managers to gauge usage and to take informed collection management decisions. Secondly, it will provide valuable metrics for repositories to evidence impact and make the case for funding.

The commission was awarded to The Research Base, an international social research consultancy based in Brighton, who have delivered a report that looks at the challenges and opportunities related to improving the consistency and accuracy of current citation practices for UDC materials, as well as the strategies and tools required to effectively capture data for citations. It is divided into three key strands: model citation guidance; embedding best practice; and citation capture software. They recommend that focusing on these three strands will prove most effective in meeting the long-term outcomes specified in the original tender.

A workshop is being planned to discuss the recommendations and implications of the report and further details will be announced in due course.

The full report is available to download at:


By Karen Colbron

I focus on access and use of digital content in learning, teaching and research.

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