Bridging the Digital Gap with The National Archives and Gloucestershire Archives

2021 - 2022

Bridging the Digital Gap is a program run by The National Archives, in conjunction with host institutions in the UK, to bring more digital skill-sets into the archive sector.

My name is Natasha Young and I am a Digital Archive Trainee based at the Gloucestershire Archives. I will be documenting my progress through the program (January 2021 – March 2022), showcasing what I have learned in terms of traditional archival skills, alongside the digital and design experience I have brought to the program.

Gloucestershire Archives

Gloucestershire Archives in set within the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub and takes in original material pertinent to the whole of the county. The archive contains a range of collections from council minutes, to community generated papers and a range of born-digital content.


For a more detailed write-up of my role within the archive, and The National Archives 'Bridging the Digital Gap' program, check out my blog post.

Cotswold Roundabout

One of the first tasks I was given by the Archive was to go through a set of tapes from the 60's called Cotswold Roundabout. These tapes contain hours of audio from people all around the county telling stories, singing, and reporting on current events. They are utterly charming and contain so much varied content that it was proving difficult to share them with a wider audience. My job was to listen to the tapes, pull out any poignant, funny, or striking moments and edit them down into bite-sized pieces. 


I created a system for storing, finding, and using these clips that would make it easier for other members of staff to utilise them when producing posts for social media, educational videos and promotional material.


For more information on the project, and to hear some of the wonderful snippets, take a look at the blog post I wrote.

The National Archives training

Alongside the hands-on experience at the Gloucestershire Archive I was given the opportunity to attend many talks, workshops, and focused online modules. These academic pursuits helped to underpin the practical work I was undertaking.

  • I attended the Basic Archiving Skills workshop with The Archive Skills Consultancy
  • I completed the Novice to Know-How course with the Digital Preservation Coalition
  • Was given a series of lectures about digital preservation by Dr. Viv Cothey


Many presentations and workshops from industry professions from Carly Randall, Collections Management at the V&A archive, to Caroline Catchpole, Digital Development Officer at TNA.

Online modules developed and curated by Chris Jones at The National Archives (alongside amazing mentor-ship and support).

Core archiving skills training

I was given talks by different staff members on seeking out and taking in material, appraisal, secondary research materials, using the cataloging system to search for materials, the ins-and-outs of the strongrooms.


Accessioning & Cataloging 

Many of the core archiving skills I learned on the go whilst working at the Gloucestershire Archive. I accessioned and cataloged various physical documents that had been given to the archive and, with help from colleagues, learned how to arrange and describe for find-ability. My time at the archive was interesting as there was a shift from CALM to Epexio mid-way through my time there. This gave me a unique insight into conceptualizing a tool that fulfills the requirements of both archivists and researchers.

I also learned the importance of keeping biases and opinions out of description, how to use inclusive language to aid in find-ability, and how to judge whether or not an item should be closed for access.



At Gloucestershire Archive I was lucky to be able to work under Claire Collins, Digital Preservation and Access Officer. Claire has worked with Dr. Viv Cothey to develop a bespoke in-house ingest system using Strawberry Perl. Using this system, dubbed 'Curation And Trust' I learned the ingest process, the theory behind what makes a successful system, how to package and store born-digital material.

Another exciting development during my time at the archive was the introduction of a new ingest system. This again, allowed me unique insights into the scoping, development, and testing of a new tool.

Gloucestershire Archives website review

Gloucestershire archive set itself the challenge of updating the website to improve accessibility and public engagement with the collections.

I worked as part of the team to re-structure the website, audit the content, and rationalise the user journey.

Website documentation

Whilst working on the website I put together a document that would serve as a guide to using Umbraco. I went through each page as assessed the usability, the potential for use, how to best structure each page for consistency going forwards.

Workshops & live film sessions

My work with the Victorian experience


The lost schools walk bits


Teaching about film editing


Cots volunteer access


Doc con

TNA visit


Digitising / ingest

Ingest stuff