Collaborative Description: Opening Access to the Georgian Papers

Launched by Her Majesty The Queen in 2015, the Georgian Papers Programme (GPP) is an interdisciplinary partnership to conserve, digitise and catalogue 425,000 pages of material held by the Royal Archives and Royal Library relating to the Georgian period, 1714–1837, encompassing the reigns of the five Hanoverian kings (George I, George II, George III, George IV, and William IV). The papers include private, official, and financial material pertaining to the monarchs and their families, papers of various courtiers and ministers, and in addition records which relate to the running of the Georgian royal households. The papers are invaluable in all areas of eighteenth-century study, for they shed light on matters of political, social, economic and military history, as well as international relations and medical knowledge in the Georgian period.

Round Tower, Windsor Castle
Royal Collection Trust/©Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018
Round Tower, Windsor Castle
Royal Collection Trust /
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

The Georgian Papers Programme is expected to take ten years to complete, with the core cataloguing work taking place within the walls of Windsor Castle, in the Royal Archives and Royal Library. The Programme’s principal partners are the Royal Archives and Royal Collection Trust (RCT), King’s College London (the academic lead), the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture (lead American partner), and the College of William & Mary.[1] The Programme has taken an ambitious approach to developing an integrated workflow that simultaneously supports access, cataloguing and dissemination of digital facsimiles and transcriptions to create a virtuous feedback loop between the expertise of archivists and academics. The Programme has two ultimate ambitions: to optimise public, freely available access supported by enhanced metadata and interpretation; and, to provide a collaborative workspace in which scholars may explore, interrogate and manipulate data using a variety of online tools.