The National Archives Labs

The National Archives Labs

We’ve created The National Archives Labs because we want to involve you, the customer, in the development of our services. Whether it be an improvement to an existing service or a completely new and innovative way of presenting the rich and vast data we hold, we want you to tell us what you think. Essentially, The National Archives Labs is a test area for you to try out our new ideas without affecting the main website.

Giving our customers what they want from The National Archives is the most important factor in developing new products. Your feedback will help us identify which projects would be useful to you, how you would use them and how they can be improved. However, please note that this is the first phase of a lengthy development process and none of the projects are guaranteed to make it onto The National Archives main website. Your feedback and comments will play an important role in helping us go live with products that are tailored to the requirements of our customers.

What should I expect from the projects in The National Archives Labs?

The projects in Labs are intended to showcase our exciting new ideas but are not intended to be full, finished versions.  If, and when, they are given the ‘thumbs up’ by you, the user, they will still need to be refined based on your feedback before they can be properly integrated into The National Archives main website. We may remove or change things without prior notice, though in most cases changes will be made based on feedback you give us in the comments sections, polls and questionnaires to be found across the Labs website.

Who is behind The National Archives Labs?

It is primarily The National Archives’ engineers, developers and research team that are working on Labs. As mentioned above, these projects are in the early stages of development, so we ask for your patience if a prototype is a bit on the slow side, or not working quite as expected. If this is the case, please do let us know by using any of the feedback mechanisms so we can fix errors and improve the projects.

What will happen to these experiments over time?

That depends in part on you. Your comments and feedback will help us identify which projects should be integrated into the main website. We’d also like to extend this area to allow developers, or those of you who are technically minded, to have a go at designing your own applications using some of our data. The National Archives has an incredible amount of data that we simply don’t have the time and resources to do everything we’d like with: we’d like to open this data up so that you can.

Who do I contact if something is not working?

The National Archives Labs is a separate project to the main website, so any feedback or problems that you encounter with the Labs site should be fed back through one of the feedback mechanisms within Labs. Please note, we may not  be able to respond to all feedback, but will endeavour to keep you informed about all changes and enhancements.

Why isn’t it accessible?

Unfortunately, as this is a test area, we cannot make a large amount of it accessible, mainly because of the types of technologies being used and the lack of robustness in the prototypes themselves. However, for any of projects that we move onto The National Archives main website, we will provide an accessible version.