02 July 2009

Proposed changes at TNA

The start of official consultations is today, but proposals leaked. The (UK) National Archives wants to stay closed on Mondays, and start charging for parking.

TNA comments "These changes to our Kew service reflect the growth in demand from our online customers, who account for over 90 per cent of our usage, and are unaffected by these changes."

TNA also comments "In fact, over 170 documents are now downloaded for every one original document seen by a visitor to the reading rooms." I'm wondering if this includes people visiting Kew who go online there. I know I downloaded many more documents on my last visit than I've done remotely.

I understand Mondays were selected as they are the quietest day at TNA. Of course, there will always be a quietest day and you can extend the argument until there's no service.

It also looks like a cash grab. While you can use TNA in person without cost you pay 3.50 pounds per document for most Documents Online service. Making the physical facility less accessible forces people toward the costly online service. Or will they announce a reduction in the cost of the online documents to compensate for the reduction in service and the money saved in not being open on Mondays?

On parking, I wonder how the residents of nearby Ruskin and Defoe Avenues will feel about the influx of people looking for free onstreet parking.

In case you're going to TNA soon, I understand the changes won't be implemented for several months.

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