Exploring our company archive – online catalogue now available

23 November 2020

Standard Life Aberdeen has one of the most complete archives of any investment or insurance company in Europe – and we’ve now completed the work to make details of all our catalogued collections available to the public online.

The launch of our company’s archive catalogue on the National Archives UK website means that anyone can now see details of the collections we hold, and get in touch to use them at the click of a button. The catalogue currently lists the first 10 collections, with our property and overseas collections most recently uploaded. Every six months new collections, images and objects will be added.

The archive contains the corporate memory of our company, and documents the changes and evolution of a nearly 200-year old business – from items that mark milestones achieved and awards won, to those that demonstrate its impact on the wider world. This includes records and items that have remained almost untouched since they were first created.

Following the catalogue launch, our company archivist Karyn Williamson said:

"Making our collections searchable to as many people as possible is imperative to keeping the corporate memory of Standard Life Aberdeen visible and accessible for many years to come – and catalogues are the single most important tools to help users find records relating to their research. Without our catalogues we would have no idea what each collection holds or where specific items are stored.

We’ve had users from both in and outside our company, with interests ranging from business history, architecture, economics, insurance and investments, to finding information on ancestors who worked for the company. Several PhDs have been researched and written using resources from our archive, as have books related to architecture and culture.

While part of the archive’s role is focused on collecting and caring for historic records, it also plays an important role in ensuring that current events and records are preserved and managed so they can be accessed by future generations. A recent example is our work to collect records that evidence how the company has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. In years to come, when scientists or business historians want to study the topic, the archive will provide a unique insight into the actions of a FTSE 100 company at a time of worldwide crisis."

The most recent additions to our online archive catalogue coincided with the annual Explore Your Archive launch week, 21-29 November. This is an initiative run by the Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland) for public and private organisations to share more about their collections, and for people to connect with archives in their local communities. Each day of the launch week has a different theme, and organisations are encouraged to share parts of their collections that link to the daily theme. You can search #RecordSLA on Twitter to find the items we've been sharing from our collections.