Research in the archives is the lifeblood of history. But with the pressures of modern academic and postgraduate life, researchers are finding it increasingly difficult to find the time and resources to visit these treasure chests of the past.
Dr Matthew Kidd founded Archive Mole in August 2020 to provide a solution to these problems.
As of September 2021, Matthew and his team have taken over 100,000 photographs of historical documents held in archives, libraries and record offices across the UK, and sent them on to researchers based at over fifty different universities in the USA, Canada, China, Australia, Europe and the UK. Head over to our testimonials page to find out what customers think about our work (short answer: they like it).
The Archive Mole idea grew out of Matthew's first-hand experience of conducting research in the archives. While studying for a PhD in History, Matthew found it frustrating that he didn't have the resources to visit every archive that held materials relevant to his research project. Similarly, as an early career researcher with family and work commitments, Matthew struggled to find the time to conduct research for his first book and journal articles.
If only the Archive Mole had existed earlier!
Offering customers a fast, reliable and knowledgeable service, Matthew visits archives, libraries and record offices on your behalf, taking photographs of requested materials and sending digital copies of them to you via your preferred online storage service. Matthew specialises in the history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain, but he is happy to retrieve any materials - both medieval and modern - that can be accessed and photographed in UK-based archives, libraries or record offices.
The Archive Mole service is available to anyone from any country, from businesses and heritage organisations to independent researchers and family historians. Its main customers, though, are those working in and around the higher education sector, including:
MA and phd students
Lack of time in the archives is a major problem for postgraduate researchers (PGRs), many of whom are losing confidence in their ability to complete their dissertation/thesis on time. As they approach the end of their studies, PGRs often fear that they have not conducted enough research or visited the sufficient amount of archives. It is no coincidence that anxiety levels among PGRs are higher than those among undergraduates and that PGRs display lower levels of wellbeing than the general population.
Are you an MA or PhD student who wants to broaden the archival breadth of their thesis? Let the Archive Mole help.
early career researchers
Lack of time in the archives is a major problem for those who have completed their PhD but have not yet obtained a full-time academic or research post. Although early career researchers (ECRs) are often employed on insecure, fixed-term contracts or in non-academic posts for which no time is allocated for research trips, they are still expected to ‘publish or perish’ - which requires extensive archival research - if they hope to achieve their dream of becoming a full-time academic.
Are you an early career researcher who needs archival materials to turn their PhD thesis into a book? Let the Archive Mole help.
lecturers and professors
Academic historians are expected to getting their hands dusty in the archives during the three-month summer window. However, in recent years, academics spend much of the summer juggling non-research related tasks, from teaching preparation to PhD supervision, which causes stress and, in some cases, mental health problems. According to one recent survey, many academics struggle to visit the archives for more than thirty days over the course of an academic year – far less time than is necessary to produce a truly ground-breaking piece of work.
Are you a lecturer or professor who needs archival materials for your next monograph or research article? Let the Archive Mole help.