National Archives - Kew Tips?

Discussion in 'Research Material' started by von Poop, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    As I might finally be getting off my btm and popping down to the NA at Kew to check out some things in a few months time, I thought it might be well worth asking for general advice before going.

    One specific query is on cameras; will I be OK with the rather noisy mechanical shutter of my SLR clunking away copying a mound of text, or is it better to take a (silent) compact?
    I'm told there are copy stands provided, presumably these have a screw mounting for the tripod bush? Or is it a simpler arrangement?

    Also is there a limit on the documents you can have for copying at any given time? Or can you just click away to your hearts content?

    All other good advice gratefully received.

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
    Smudger Jnr likes this.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    When I went years ago you needed some ID to get a reader's card.
    Dunno if that still the case?
     
  3. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    You just need ID to get a card, and the copying stands do indeed use the standard screw mount. You can now request seats that have the stands on them if you are going to do a lot of copying. DSLRs are fine - you are just to minimise noise, that's all, with no flash use permitted. There is no limit on how much or what you copy. No-one ever checks on anything in that respect.

    Let me know when you'll be there, and we can have a coffee and natter, and I can tell you all Owen's secrets... :lol:
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    In that case, let me know when you're going, I'll try and use my "odd day" of leave I have left .
     
  5. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    One specific query is on cameras; will I be OK with the rather noisy mechanical shutter of my SLR clunking away copying a mound of text, or is it better to take a (silent) compact?.

    No one's ever complained about the (artificial) shutter sound on my camera (why do digitals have that noise when it's totally unecessary?), but they might do if I was to use the "quiet" room. I've never been distracted by other people's camera clicks either, but one thing that really does p*** me off is the damned annoying "XP tune" of a laptop being turned on and off (a woman opposite me turned hers on and off everytime she went out of the room last week - she nearly ended up with a full wodge of ASC diary through her screen by the time she'd done it 4 or 5 times!!!!:lol:). So annoying as it's so easy to put a PC on mute!

    Dave
     
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Adam,

    That was a great question and received equally good answers.

    Some day I hope to make it there also, but I think it will be some time off yet.

    Tom
     
  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Nice one Dave, I'd somehow foolishly assumed laptops might not be allowed.
    Don't suppose there's a public internet node there too?

    (First thing I do with any PC is kill that sodding windows noise... you can normally kill the sound on digicams via the options too.)
     
  8. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    As I might finally be getting off my btm and popping down to the NA at Kew to check out some things in a few months time, I thought it might be well worth asking for general advice before going.

    One specific query is on cameras; will I be OK with the rather noisy mechanical shutter of my SLR clunking away copying a mound of text, or is it better to take a (silent) compact?
    I'm told there are copy stands provided, presumably these have a screw mounting for the tripod bush? Or is it a simpler arrangement?

    Also is there a limit on the documents you can have for copying at any given time? Or can you just click away to your hearts content?

    All other good advice gratefully received.

    Cheers,
    Adam.

    What you do need Adam is Two forms of Identification. Driving Licence and a Utility bill will suffice. This also applies when you are renewing an existing readers Card.

    Camera wise you need nothing elaborate so long it has macro focusing and the means to switch off the flash,for obvious reasons. The Thread on the Camera stands are standard to most cameras. The dedicated Copying tables have been changed a little.During my last visit they were tables 5,25,and 34.

    The most important thing to remember to do your homework first by identifying Files you would like to read,and put an advanced order in which will save you 30 - 40 minutes.
    The limit to total files you have out at any one time is I believe 21,but you can only order 3 at a time. You are allowed 3 Files at your Desk ,but only one if it is a boxed File.

    The Search engine has it's"Blonde"moments so keep a search simple. Study the Research Guides which are on the Home Page but experience will eventually learn you more.

    Good Luck.
     
    Owen likes this.
  9. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Nice one Dave, I'd somehow foolishly assumed laptops might not be allowed.
    Don't suppose there's a public internet node there too?

    (First thing I do with any PC is kill that sodding windows noise... you can normally kill the sound on digicams via the options too.)

    Yes, no probs with laptops. There is free wi-fi throughout the building as well.
     
  10. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Great stuff Brian, particularly on amounts of files etc. & cheers Paul.

    I'm very gradually coming to terms with the search engine so I can pre-order. Not exactly intuitive is it!
    I notice many file entries give little indication of how many pages there might be in a document, any worthwhile way this can be checked beforehand? Or do you just have to take the surprise if it turns out to be 500 pages when you were expecting 1, and vice versa?
     
  11. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    If you have a readers ticket or pre-register for one from the website, then you can order up to 3 documents in advance of your visit. Each seat has a glass doored cupboard allocated to it; the documents are delivered to these. If you pre order, these will be waiting for you and you can order another 3. Once these arrive, you can order another 3, and so on up to a maximum of 21 out at any one time. You'll then have to return something to the returns desk to allow you to order more. A document may be a box file, a loose document or a bound volume. You can have either 1 or 3, depending on the nature, at your desk at the same time.

    Following the renovations completed earlier this year, there are 3 sections, which I think are meant to be complete silence, odd whispers allowed, and group working. It might be best to ask not to be in the 'complete silence' section given your noisy camera.

    PS Must type faster!
     
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  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Cheers again.
    I tell you what chaps, this is all a damn site more useful than the somewhat sparse info given on their website.
     
  13. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Great stuff Brian, particularly on amounts of files etc. & cheers Paul.

    I'm very gradually coming to terms with the search engine so I can pre-order. Not exactly intuitive is it!
    I notice many file entries give little indication of how many pages there might be in a document, any worthwhile way this can be checked beforehand? Or do you just have to take the surprise if it turns out to be 500 pages when you were expecting 1, and vice versa?


    Can be surprising. Some of the recently released Files in WO311 contain just a few pages that were originally extracted from other earlier releases.

    Some can by quite thick and contain more pages than you think as in a lot of cases economy paper was used.
    Another piece of advice is take a blank piece of A4 with you to prevent the print showing from the pages next to the one you are copying. I usually have a sheet of 200g paper.

    They really are that thin.
     
    von Poop likes this.
  14. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey Patron

    Can be surprising. Some of the recently released Files in WO311 contain just a few pages that were originally extracted from other earlier releases.

    Some can by quite thick and contain more pages than you think as in a lot of cases economy paper was used.
    Another piece of advice is take a blank piece of A4 with you to prevent the print showing from the pages next to the one you are copying. I usually have a sheet of 200g paper.

    They really are that thin.

    What I used to do beforehand was print out a little label with the file reference on it and a measured rule. I'd include this is every digital photo I took.

    I'll post the template here is anyone wants it.

    Lee
     
  15. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey Patron

    No one's ever complained about the (artificial) shutter sound on my camera (why do digitals have that noise when it's totally unecessary?), but they might do if I was to use the "quiet" room. I've never been distracted by other people's camera clicks either, but one thing that really does p*** me off is the damned annoying "XP tune" of a laptop being turned on and off (a woman opposite me turned hers on and off everytime she went out of the room last week - she nearly ended up with a full wodge of ASC diary through her screen by the time she'd done it 4 or 5 times!!!!:lol:). So annoying as it's so easy to put a PC on mute!

    Dave

    And it's so easy to put your digital camera on mute as well ;) (Well actually sometimes not so easy but every digital camera I've used had a menu option to turn off sounds and/or reduce the volume)

    Personally I find the clicks and bleeps from cameras as annoying as the laptop start up sounds but admit I've been guilty of the noisy PC faux pax, my PC was not only not muted but the sound-level was turned-up to the max. :blush: Only ever did it once though.
     
    Owen likes this.
  16. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    What I used to do beforehand was print out a little label with the file reference on it and a measured rule. I'd include this is every digital photo I took.

    I'll post the template here is anyone wants it.

    Lee


    I copy the front page of the File with the Reference on so everything that follows is from that file. The same again when copying the next File. Couldn't be simpler.

    If you have several Memory cards I would take them so that when you change subject it is easier to define and name when downloaded onto your hard drive.

    My bag contains something like 20gb of memory in sizes from 256mb to 4gb.
     
  17. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Just looking at how close Kew is to a mate's house (about a mile), so errr... anyone got an opinion on the best pubs nearby? :unsure:
    I know a nice one on Kew green but don't think it's too close to the archives.

    This is for after my visit you understand. :D
     
  18. mahross

    mahross Senior Member

    Adam - You will also find that files, especially admin files and order, appear in more than one series as do combat reports. So when you put in a search term say 'Combined Operations' you may find that you see the same document more than once. A bit frustrating but sometimes very useful as you can see who has seen what and the comments they make on them.

    Ross
     
  19. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    Just looking at how close Kew is to a mate's house (about a mile), so errr... anyone got an opinion on the best pubs nearby? :unsure:
    I know a nice one on Kew green but don't think it's too close to the archives.

    This is for after my visit you understand. :D

    The only pub close to the NA that I've been to is the Railway Inn which is, unsurprisingly, beside Kew Gardens Railway and Underground Station, on the opposite side of the line from the NA. It's quite a bright place, with large windows and has seats outside (but not adjacent to the railway line) and pub food. Real ale is Adnams, which is unusual in that part of the world; the majority of Richmond pubs are Youngs, with most of the rest being Fullers. Prices were reasonable for that area; about £2.80 a pint this June versus £3+ in Richmond.
     
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Nice one Martin, cheers!
    And Ross, I'm starting to see what you mean - commentary left on the website by other people who've viewed them seems a not bad indication of what document may and may not be worth the effort.

    It's looking like Brian's point is one of the most significant 'tips' - to really get as much work as possible done beforehand on what might be relevant.
    Staggering how much material's kept there, and careful sifting seems essential.
     

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