Tuesday, 11 January 2011

2010 in Figures

Archivists can do just about anything. Certainly, working here requires a wide range of skills from bleeding radiators, changing lightbulbs and oiling swords to deciphering the handwriting of successive Cardinals and being able to work out where the really exciting letter which is neither addressed, dated or signed might possibly come from.

However, the one thing they don't teach archivists is maths. Nevertheless, here are our visitor statistics for 2010 which may or may not be accurate:

Over the year, we had 152 visits by 79 users, 10 of whom visited more than once. Of these, 68 were new visits (that is, a completely new user, or a user visiting for a new research subject) and 84 repeat visits. This is slightly down on last year's figures but we were closed in January for stocktaking and August-September for the training of new staff.

Our collection most in demand is the Parish Registers, which has been used by 29 visitors, mainly for family history which continues to be a popular reason for visits. Nearly half of our researchers do not have an academic or business affiliation. The A Series, including letters of the Vicars Apostolic of the London District, is our most popular collection for academic researchers. One collection which remains popular every year, although not strictly archival, is our complete set of Catholic Directories. These are getting harder and harder to find in major libraries but remain on open access shelves in our reading room.

I could provide the full figures with tables and pie charts but I think those can wait for the next advisory council meeting!

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