State Archives of Tamil Nadu – 2

Preservation and Reprography:

In 1920, a separate section for mending the records was started with six members were deputed to undergo training in mending at the Imperial Record Office, Calcutta in 1921, who in turn imparted in service training to other menders. 

 Now the preservation division consists of 39 skilled preservation clerks and 9 skilled binders. The brittle and old records are identified and mended using various techniques. They have carved a niche for themselves in the preservation of records among all the Archives.

  The preservation methods includes flattening and minor repairs, full pasting, chiffon repair, Tissue repair, lamination with acetate foil and tissue paper, hand lamination and leaf casting.

Reprography Division

Reprography Division of the Archives Consists:

Microfilm Camera

Microfilm Processor

Duplicator (Microfilm Duplicator)

Microfilm Scanner

Book Scanner

Digital Photo Copier

Making Microfilm copies from available Original records is a continuous process in Tamil Nadu Archives.  Images from Microfilm rolls are being converted into soft copy (Digital format) with the help of Microfilm scanner.

Book scanner is used for digitizing printed books from the Tamil Nadu Archives Library.  The demand from Research scholars for making photo copies from original documents consulted by them is met with the help of Photo copiers available in this Archives.


The Tamil Nadu Archives has a vast collection of historical documents, tri-centenary old, which are widely referred by the Government and researchers.

Many reference media such as Indices, Press lists etc. are available to facilitate historical research.  The retrieval of information manually from the above reference media is a time consuming and laborious process.  

Digitization is the ultimate solution for quick reference of records.  Hence the Digitization process is being implemented in Tamil Nadu Archives, using the latest technology to achieve the main object of making the historical records more accessible.

The Pallavan Transport Consultancy Services has developed a software ‘TNAEDMS’ for this purpose.  This is currently under the process of final validation in association with NIC.  As part of the digitization effort, data entry of finding aids and scanning of historical documents of the Post 1857 period are underway.


The Archives Library is unique in its collections, which includes the rare books published right from 1663.  Organized in 1923, it can now boast of a collection of nearly 2.3 lakhs of books and periodicals in its collection. It is a research and reference library and not a lending library.

Research Hall:

 In 1930, the Government took a policy decision to permit research scholars to have access to archival records.  Accordingly the first research scholar was permitted to consult the archival records of the then Madras Record Office in 1930. 

 Consequently a well-designed research hall was opened facilitating the scholars to pursue their research.  Bonafide scholars hailing from all the Universities/Colleges of India and Foreign Countries are permitted to have access to archival records observing rules and regulations as in force.

Now the facilities in the research hall have been further improved with air- conditioning, well equipped furniture, illumination etc.  

 It remains open on all days except on Sundays and on 15 public holidays which are notified in advance.  On all working days it is open from 8 A.M to 8 P.M. and on holidays from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.

A bonafide candidate who applies for enrolment as research scholar has to pay Rs.200/- (Indian Rupees) as an enrolment fee besides depositing Rs. 500/- with the State Bank of India, Egmore Branch as security deposit, refundable on submission of a copy of the thesis for which he/she has worked in the archives.

 The scholars thus enrolled can on requisition and consult library books and the records which are more than 30 years old required for the subject of his/her research as per rules and regulations in force.  The scholars can avail the reprographic assistance such as photocopying, microfilming etc.

District Gazetteers:

Gazetteers are the publications of the Government of Tamil Nadu on the districts. They are written, as per the uniform guidelines prescribed by the Government of India, by an Editorial team headed by an Editor (Gazetteers).

A District Gazetteer which contains about 19 chapters, is a single source of comprehensive and authentic information about the district from its geographical, demographical, and authentic information about the district from its geographical, demographical, social and cultural, historical, economic, administration and developmental aspects. The Gazetteer is considered an encyclopedia of the district.

District Manuals:

After acquiring the territory in the South, the English East India Company carved out districts and placed them under the administration of the Collectors. In the absence of any comprehensive guidebooks on districts, the Government ordered for the preparation of the Manuals for the districts.

The District Manuals are the precursors of the District Gazetteers. Starting from the publication of Madras District Manual by J.H.Nelson in 1868. Manuals were brought out for the then districts of South Arcot (J.H.Garstin 1878).

 Tiruchirappalli (Lewis Moore 1878), Chengalpattu (C.S.Crole 1879), Tirunelveli (A.J.Stuart 1879), The Nilgiris (H.B.Grigg 1880), North Arcot (Arthur F.Cox 1881), Salem (H.Le Fanu 1883), Thanjavur (T.Venkataswamy 1883), Coimbatore (F.A.Nicholson 1887) and North Arcot (Revised) (H.H.Stuart 1895).

Pre-Independent District Gazetteers:       

When the District Manuals became out of date, they were revised and retitled as District Gazetteers. The first such District Gazetteer by W.Francis for Madurai District was published in 1906 followed by Thanjavur (F.R.Hemingway 1906), South Arcot (W.Francis 1906), Tiruchirappalli (F.R.Hemingway 1906), The Nilgiris (W.Francis 1908), Tirunelveli (H.R.Pate, 1917), and Salem (F.J.Richards 1918). 

Post – Independent District Gazetteers:

The work of revising and rewriting the district Gazetteers which was begun in Tamil Nadu in1954. Dr.B.S.Baliga, the then Curator of the Madras Record Office was entrusted the work of revision of the Gazetteers.

The district Gazetteers published in Tamil Nadu, after Independence are, Thanjavur (Dr.B.S.Baliga,1957), Madurai (Dr.B.S.Baliga ,1960), South Arcot (Dr.B.S.Baliga ,1962), Coimbatore, (Dr.B.S.Baliga 1966),  Salem (Dr.A.Ramasamy,1967) and Ramanathapuram (Dr.A.Ramasamy, 1973), Pudukkottai (Gopalakrishna Gandhi, IAS., 1983), Dharmapuri (P.Pulney Andy Senji, 1995), Kanniyakumari, (M.Gopalakrishnan,1995),The Nilgiris, (M.Gopalakrishnan 1995), Composite Tiruchirappalli, (Tiruchirappalli, Karur and Perambalur) (Dr.K.S.K.Velmani.,1998), Kancheepuram & Thiruvallur (Erstwhile Chengalpattu) (M.Gopalakrishnan, 2000). Tirunelveli (Dr.K.S.K.Velmani, 2002).


  1. DR. Sundarraj/ A Manual of Archival System and the world of Archives/Chennai/Siva publication/ 1999.
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