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Matthew Woollard

Director of the UK Data Archive and the UK Data Service

Matthew Woollard
Email:matthew  add @essex.ac.uk
Tel:+44(0)1206 873704
Address:UK Data Archive
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
Job description

Matthew is the Director of both the UK Data Archive and the UK Data Service.

For both the organisation (UK Data Archive) and the service (UK Data Service) his key responsibilities are to: provide effective leadership and strategic direction; developing and enhancing the national and international reputation; ensuring their effective management, and strengthening their relationships with a range of internal and external stakeholders and collaborators.

For the UK Data Service, he heads the Strategic Leadership Group ensuring consistent and valid strategic direction.

For the UK Data Archive he is responsible for setting and ensuring the strategic goals of the archive which include the promotion of best practice in data curation, data management and data security; driving archival innovation, advancing the professionalization of data service infrastructures and integrating these activities into the UK Data Service. He also retains his previous responsibilities of the development of the UK Data Archive's digital preservation policy and its implementation and maintenance framework.

Matthew was Principal Investigator for the Enhancing and Enriching Historic Census Microdata project. He represents the UK on the ESFRI SCI Strategic Working Group, and is a member of the UKRI's Infrastructure Expert Group.

Research interests

Matthew joined the UK Data Archive in January 2003 as the Head of the History Data Service, after six years working in various research capacities in the History Department of the University of Essex.

He completed his Ph.D. in 2005 on the development of occupational classification in the British Isles, 1660-1911. Between 2004 and 2007 he headed a major JISC-funded digitisation project - Online Historical Population Reports (histpop) - which published online almost 190,000 pages of British historical population reports and authored a number of the historical essays on this site.

In 2006 he was appointed Associate Director and Head of Digital Preservation and Systems at the UK Data Archive. He has acted as consultant to a number of historical digitisation projects and contributed to a variety of digital preservation initiatives. He contributed to the Keeping Research Data Safe 2 project to augment and extend the earlier work examining the costs of digital preservation.

Matthew retains an interest in many aspects of historical computing and the application of techniques relating to the analysis of historical sources for local and demographic history, as well as in the social construction of statistics in the past.

Research awards

Own name

2012-2014 ESRC:  Enhancing and Enriching Historical Census Microdata  [ES/K005731/1]
2012-2017 ESRC: UK Data Service (Core) [ES/J023477/1]
ESRC: CRS/Portal Extension [RES-348-25-0002-01]
2007-2008 ESRC: Evaluation of a digital transcription of English parochial registers, 1538-1851: a pilot study [RES-000-22-2215]
2007-2008 AHDS: AHDS History
2006-2007 AHDS: AHDS History
2005-2006 AHDS: AHDS History
2005 JISC: Table creation for histpop sub-project
2005 JISC: Demonstrator Project
2004-2007 JISC: Online Historical Population Reports Project (histpop)
2004-2005 AHRB, JISC: AHDS History
2003-2004 AHRB, JISC: History Data Service
2003 ESRC: Re-formatting 404 parish data
2003 University of Essex: Pre-1841 census listings

In collaboration/Co-Investigator

2013 EU FP7: 4C Project (collaborator) [600471]
2011 EU FP7: Data Without Boundaries Project (collaborator) [262608]
2011 EU FP7: APARSEN Project (collaborator) [269977]
2010 JISC: KRDS/I2S2 (contracted consultant)
2010-2012 ESRC: Secure Data Service Extension (co-investigator) [RES-232-25-0002-01]
2009 JISC: Keeping Research Data Safe (co-applicant)
2008-2009 JISC: GeoDigref Project (led by Edina, University of Edinburgh)


Committee membership
  • UK Data Forum
  • CESSDA-ERIC Steering Committee
  • Advisory Group for JISC Repositories and Curation Shared Services Programme
  • Member Editorial Board, International Journal of Digital Curation (IJDC)
  • Member Editorial Board, International Journal of Humanities Computing
  • ESRC Administrative Data Taskforce Technical Group
  • UK Anonymisation Network