Accessioning Guidance

The following guidance was developed during the NRHE to HERs pilot project and through review by the project team the end of the pilot.   At the final review it was agreed that the concepts of ‘partial accessioning’ and ‘rejecting’ NRHE records should be dropped, as these did not achieve the stated aims of the data transfer. 


Below is a list of individual issues raised during the pilot for which some form of guidance has been issued.  Whilst unable to provide comprehensive field-by-field accessioning guidance, we have included some suggestions based upon HE recording practices which may be of use. Note: these are included only as guidance for those who wish to use them. It is up to the discretion of individual HERs as to how they achieve ‘Fully Accessioned’ status for NRHE records.


Please note that this guidance and associated FAQs will be updated during the life cycle of the NRHE to HERs data reconciliation project.

If you have any queries arising from the guidance, please contact us for further advice or clarification. 


Scope & recording policy

The data transfer and reconciliation relates to all terrestrial (i.e. above Mean Low Water) monument and event records and associated spatial data as recorded in the NRHE.


It should be assumed that all data fields in the NRHE data export are relevant and should be accessioned in accordance with the guidance stated below (see appendix 5 for list of data fields included in export).  Additional data enhancement beyond that needed for the transfer of NRHE data is out of scope for the current project.


Where records contained within the NRHE data export fall outside a local HER’s recording policy (e.g. C20 remains or historic landscape features), the scope of the recording policy should be revised to cover the additional records, thereby ensuring no loss of information during the data transfer.



Historic England defines ‘Fully Accessioned’ as meaning all data contained within a NRHE record is also contained within the corresponding HER record. The names of individual data fields may differ from system to system (e.g. Summary/Description; Sources/References; Long Text/Notes) but as long as data is located in an appropriate field, this can be described as being properly accessioned.


When a NRHE record genuinely spans more one HER area, each HER should respond with 'Fully accessioned' when they have absorbed all the information that is relevant to their area


If a proportion of the NRHE record data is already present in the HER, and so the HER takes only the NRHE data that is new to their record, this would be classed as Fully Accessioned as long as, after this process, all the data from the NRHE record is present in the HER.


For example, if an HER accesses an NRHE record to find they already have 70% of the data contained within it, extracting the 30% that is new to them would result in the NRHE record being classed as ‘Fully Accessioned’.


Should an HER access an NRHE record to find that all the data contained within it (bar the NMR Number, HOB UID and Compiler) is already present in the HER,  this can be classed as ‘Fully Accessioned' upon the addition of  these HE-specific identifiers.


Handing duplicates

If it is apparent that two NRHE records are recording the same Heritage Asset and are therefore duplicates, the HER can check whether all of the content from both records is present in the equivalent HER record and indicate that both have been Fully Accessioned.  The legacy NRHE uid(s) must be added to the HER record.


Handing incorrect/conflicting data

Apparently incorrect or conflicting information (unless clearly the result of a typing or spelling error) should be accessioned and an explanatory note added to the appropriate text or comments field. Conflicting data especially will often be included in NRHE records, with appropriate explanation, where primary sources disagree or reproduce a popular misconception.


Recording sources

HERs should follow their local recording practice when recording sources listed in the NRHE.  If local practice is to only cite sources that have been directly accessed by the compiler, the HER can choose to cite the NRHE as the source of information for the record, and quote the derived reference e.g. photographic reference, in an suitable text or comments field.    This may be appropriate for sources that do not contribute to the interpretation of the record (e.g. archive items). 


If local practice is to create full records for sources not directly accessed by the compiler, HERs should do this for sources listed in the NRHE.  This will be beneficial where these are secondary sources which may yield additional information about the record and where a full source record would be useful to the reader. 


Should an NRHE record cite oral or conjectural evidence, this can be cited in an appropriate comments or text field as being the basis for information in the source (NRHE).


As HER databases vary in their design and table structure we cannot be prescriptive as to exactly which data fields the HER should use to reference sources that come from the NRHE and that they themselves have not directly accessed. However HERs should ensure that all sources not directly checked are referenced according to their local recording procedures.


Recording metadata

One possible method of encompassing the NRHE record metadata would be to cite the NRHE as an information source (see above) and include the original record’s creation data in the Comments or a similarly appropriate field. The recording role (e.g. Inventory) can also be included here.


Referencing the Historic England Archive

Where the NRHE record refers to HE archive items or collections (e.g. See Linear Archive RR45; Archive Object Number AA/10458), whether included as a statement in descriptive text or as a primary source, these could be cited in an appropriate Comments or text field to reflect that they have not been accessed directly by the HER.


Recording legacy identifiers/alternate identifier

It is required that all identifiers (primary ids from the NRHE as well as identifiers in other resources) be treated as relevant and be included in the accessioning process.


Recording people and organisations

It is recommended all roles as stated in the NRHE record (e.g. Compiler, Auspices, Owner etc.), people and organisations be treated as relevant and be included in the accessioning process.  Should apparently conflicting data be included in the NRHE record, this can be accessioned and described in an appropriate Comments or text field attributing the conflicting data to the source (NRHE). 


Recording related records

Relationships between AMIE records are shown in two different ways.  Peer to peer relationships are shown under related records (e.g. Bakers Quay has a general association with  Gloucester Customs House), whereas parent-child relationships are showing as an Identifier, whereby the child record is 'part of' the parent record e.g. Gloucester East Bastion is part of Gloucester Town Defences.   HERs should replicate these relationships in accordance with their local recording policy. 


Acronyms and abbreviations used in the NRHE

Acronyms and abbreviations used in the NRHE
Abbreviation Full text


Archives and Monuments Information England (Historic England database)


English Heritage


General Association (Relationship type)


Historic England


Historical Object Unique Identifier (AMIE Primary Identifier)


Identified As (Relationship type)


Listed Building System (Legacy database used by RCHME/EH)


Monuments and Archives (Legacy RCHME database superseded by NewHIS)


New Historical Information System (Legacy RCHME database superseded by AMIE)


National Monuments Record (Legacy name for dataset that now forms basis of the NRHE)


National Heritage List for England


National Record of the Historic Environment


Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England


Is referred to by (Relationship type)


Record of Scheduled Monuments (Legacy database used by RCHME/EH)


Unified Designations System (Current Historic England system for compiling and managing the NHLE)

R1, F1 etc

Legacy references in NRHE records to Recorders or Field investigators working for the Ordnance Survey or RCHME pre-2000

Handing records in more than one HER area

Where a record spans more than one HER area, the accessioning response from each HER should concern the part of the record that falls in their geographical area. So the response "Completely accessioned" in this case means "All of the information in the NRHE record that concerns my HER area is now in the HER".

National/thematic project event records 

The NRHE contains a number of non-spatial event records that represent national and thematic recording projects (examples include NMP projects  and the Farmsteads Survey). These exist for the purpose of linking all the Monument records created under the auspices of the project and therefore contain no specific locational data.  Additionally, these may occur as Event Parent records.


We advise that HERs should accession those national/thematic events where they represent genuine investigative events in order to preserve the relationship between the various monument records and the project under which they were created. There may be some instances where the activity does not constitute an event (as defined in Informing the Future of the Past), such as 613515 - Investigation by RCHME, or where the NRHE data is lacking sufficient information to constitute a basic event record (e.g. what, when, who, where); in such instances we would leave accessioning at discretion of the HER. If the HER remains unsure about how to deal with specific records in this category please contact the helpdesk for further guidance.
NOTE: a ‘National Recording Project’ has been defined as any project encompassing monuments falling within two or more distinct counties or Unitary Authorities.


Modified 15/06/2021 by StewartB