The National Archives and Research Libraries UK (RLUK) announced today that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which sets out the role of both organisations and how they will work together in the future to achieve their goals.

The MOU will facilitate contact and discussion on matters of common interest and will provide a framework for future co-operation. It will be reviewed at least every two years to ensure it is relevant and reflects developments in the sector.

Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper, at The National Archives, said: ‘For both The National Archives and Research Libraries UK, this is an important step forward in cross-sector collaboration. Encouraging greater partnership working underpins much of The National Archives’ activities as sector lead for archives in England and this MOU can only strengthen that’.

Stella Butler, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds, and Chair of RLUK said: ‘This is an enormously positive development for RLUK, and we see this partnership as key in a number of strategic areas for us, such as discovery across sectors, opening up further channels to archives in support of our academic colleagues, and articulating the economic and cultural benefits and impacts of archives’.

In 2011, The National Archives was given sector leadership responsibility within England and works to engage with people across the archive sector to promote good practice and sustainability. It works closely with partners across the heritage, cultural and academic sectors to enhance public access to archive collections wherever they are held.

In 2010, RLUK entered a strategic period of focus on unique and distinctive collections, leading to major reports on hidden collections in archives and libraries with The London Library, and a large-scale survey of special collections of bibliographic and manuscript types with OCLC Research. RLUK has on the basis of this work collaborated with The National Archives, as it aspires to with other national archival bodies, to energise the community of archivists and enhance dialogue between archives and academe.

View the Memorandum of Understanding.

For media enquiries please contact Press Office, The National Archives on 0208 392 5277 or e-mail:

For enquiries about Research Libraries UK, please contact Mike Mertens, Deputy Director on 0121 415 8107 or email:

Notes to editors:

About The National Archives

For the record, for good…The National Archives is a government department and an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). As the official archive of the UK government and England and Wales, we look after and make available to the public a collection of historical records dating back over 1,000 years, including records as diverse as Domesday Book and MI5 files.

Our 21st-century role is to collect and secure the future of the record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible as possible. We do this by devising technological solutions to ensure the long-term survival of public records and working to widen access to our collection. The National Archives also advises on information management across government, publishes all UK legislation, manages Crown copyright and leads the archive sector. We work to promote and improve access to public sector information and its re-use.

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About RLUK

RLUK is a consortium of 34 of the major research libraries in the UK and Ireland, whose purpose is to shape the research library agenda and contribute to the wider knowledge economy through innovative projects and services that add value and impact to the process of research and researcher-training RLUK’s mission is to work with its members and partners, nationally and internationally, to shape and to realise the vision of the modern research library.

Founded in 1983, RLUK has directly and indirectly sponsored some of the major, free, online UK resources in support of research, such as the Archives Hub and Copac.