Collections

Military Archives holds a large number of ‘collections’ — which is the archival term for a group of records from a common office of origin.  For example the records for the Military Mission to the USA in 1926, are held together as a collection, produced as they were by a particular organisation at a given moment in time.  Collections are often associated with the international archival  terms ‘fonds’ and ‘sub-fonds’ and archivists usually provide descriptions for a given level using the International Standard for Archival Description (ISAD).

Such collections are held intact to avoid a subjective approach on behalf of the archivist, which could lead to the retrospective re-ordering of material into ‘subject’ based series of papers. Archivists avoid subject categorisation because it inevitably leads to a loss of objectivity and ultimately proves impossible for a researcher to find what he/she is looking for across a large archival repository such as Military Archives.

Staff at Military Archives are working to ensure that our primary goal of making our documentary military heritage available to the public is met through continuous development of our website, as well as the uploading of digitised (scanned) material to allow for online research.  However, it is important to note that digitisation can be a costly and time-consuming process and that for the foreseeable future, the vast majority of collections will be available in the reading room only.  Military Archives, like similar archives services throughout the world, digitises collections of major interest or importance and sometimes to ensure wear and tear on original records is prevented through excessive handling in our reading room.

Collections held at Military Archives can be categorised as follows:

  • Online Collections 
    Where both the finding aid (e.g. a database) and a scan of the original archival records is available online on this website.  Examples here include our Barrack Maps, Plans and Drawings collection and the Bureau of Military History collection (coming soon).
    View the Online Collections
  • Online Collections Finding Aids
    Where the finding aid is available online and you must book an appointment for our reading room to see the original records.  Examples here include the Civil War Ops/Int Collection and the Civil War Prisoners Collections.
    View the Online Collection Finding Aids
  • Offline Collections
    Where a simple description of a collection is given online, but an appointment in the reading room will be necessary to view both the finding aid and the original records. Examples here include our hyperlinked collections below in the ‘offline’ category.
    View the offline Collections