Implementation of New Archives Card

The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) today announcesthe implementation, testing and piloting phase of the new ArchivesCard for England and Wales, having completed the due diligence andinitial financing phases of the project.

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ARA Announces Implementation of New Archives Card

Due diligence competed and contract signed with main provider

ASI’s iMIS platform chosen – managed by iFINITY plc

One Card to access 40-plus archives and county record offices in England & Wales – introduction now delayed until August 2019

CARN cards will continue to be accepted for now at services signed up for the new Card


29 March 2019

The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) today announces the implementation, testing and piloting phase of the new Archives Card for England and Wales, having completed the due diligence and initial financing phases of the project.

The new Archives Card is based on the iMIS platform developed by Advanced Solutions International (ASI) and will be delivered by its UK partner, iFINITY plc. The card will enable local researchers, family historians, journalists and anyone interested in planning, environmental and other records to use one personalised card to access records at all participating archives and county/borough record offices in England and Wales.

The new card will be more convenient for users; it has an automatic reader facility and offers updated security features and data protection compliance, reassuring cardholders and participating services that their data is safe. The card will give researchers flexibility to access research material in multiple locations and make it easier for people to access important statutory environmental, planning, etc. records that serve the public interest.

The new card will launch initially in England and Wales. Ultimately, the goal is to extend it to services and users in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The new card will be free for individual applicants.

Delay to launch, registrations and applications

The formal introduction of the new card was originally scheduled for April 2019. The delay in securing funding from some participating services, the decision by others to pull out (and the need to find replacements to maintain the scheme’s viability), means that the launch date and the registration/applications process for individuals to sign up for the new card has slipped to August 2019.

John Chambers, the ARA’s CEO said:

“We are pleased to be able to move this ground-breaking Archives Card to implementation phase, though very much regret the unavoidable delay to the launch timetable. We know – from the number of enquiries we have been getting - that archive service users holding CARN cards and/or the Welsh Reader Ticket are keen to sign up to the new service and thank them for their patience.

The new card is a big step forward in terms of ease of use, protection of holders’ data, security of precious collections and feedback for services on user experiences and interests. We will of course continue to service the obsolete CARN system during the delay period for users accessing collections at services that will participate in the Archives Card.

We are grateful for the ongoing support of the Family History Federation, the Museums Libraries and Archives Division of the Welsh Government, and Ancestry. We look forward to joining the Family History Federation at the Family Tree Live! 2019 Fair on 26 and 27 April at Alexandra Palace London, and thank the federation for its kind offer of stand space.”


The ARA again acknowledges the commitment of the founding archive services and record offices, many of whom face significant financial pressures, and support from the above-mentioned partners, all of whom enabled the costs of the new Archives Card to be kept to a minimum.

Rhona Murray, Senior Content Manager at Ancestry, said:

“We are proud to continue our relationship with the ARA by sponsoring the Archives Card. There is a wealth of unique historical documents across England and Wales, which, with the introduction of the new card, will be more easily available to users who want to better understand both their family history and English and Welsh history as a whole. We hope this new technology will help empower more discoveries across multiple archives and ultimately bring the past with us into the future.”

Steve Manning, chair of the Family History Federation, said:

“We are certain the new Archives Card will prove a great asset to all family historians. Locally-held archive material helps us discover the detail of our ancestors’ lives – and the new Archive Card makes it so easily accessible. Learn more about the new Archives Card on the Family History Federation stand at Family Tree LIVE on 26-27 April at Alexandra Palace, London. For more information regarding the show visit

Information for Current Card Users

The ARA reassures CARN card holders that it will continue to manage the CARN network on behalf of services planning to join the new Archives Card scheme. A revised list of services participating in the new scheme is attached below, for information.

Applications for the new Archives Card will be via a single online registration portal. Applicants will then need to complete their registration in person at a participating office or service to satisfy the identity (ID) verification process. (For more details on the overall registration process, click here. More details on this will follow at launch.)

To meet data protection requirements, there will be no readily-identifiable personal data on Archives Card itself, beyond a name strip to show ownership of the ticket.


Notes for editors and card users:

The founding archives and county record offices participating in the new Archives Card are:



Berkshire Record Office

Birmingham City Archives

Buckinghamshire (Centre for) Studies

Cambridgeshire Archives

Cheshire Archives and Local Studies

Cumbria Archive Service (all offices)

Derbyshire Record Office

Dorset History Centre

Dudley Archives and Local History Centre

East Riding of Yorkshire Archives Service

Essex Record Office

Gloucestershire Archives

Hampshire Record Office

Herefordshire Record Office

Lancashire Record Office

Leicestershire, Rutland & Leicester Record Office

Norfolk Record Office

Northumberland Archives

Oxfordshire Record Office

Sandwell Community History and Archives Service

Surrey History Centre

Teesside Archives

Walsall Archives

Warwickshire County Record Office

West Sussex Records Office

Wolverhampton Archives & Local Studies

Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service



Cardiff University Special Collections and Archives

Ceredigion Archives

Conwy Archive Service

Denbighshire Record Office

Flintshire Record Office

Gwent Archives

Gwynedd Archives Service

Richard Burton Archives

West Glamorgan Archive Service

Ynys Môn - Anglesey Archives


The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) is the leading professional and membership body for records managers, archivists and archive conservators in the UK and Republic of Ireland. For further details on the ARA or the Archives Card, see: or contact Jon Elliott (Head of Public Affairs) on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07587 635402