The British Library is to create the first ever archive of British e-mails to provide an important snapshop of British life.

The ‘E-mail Britain’ campaign, which will run throughout May, asks the British public to forward a memorable or significant e-mail from their sent mail or inbox, for inclusion in a digital archive that will be stored at the British Library for future generations.

E-mail has become the most important communication tool for the 21st century with millions of e-mails containing rich and diverse content sent in the UK every day – none of which have been captured and archived on this scale before.

The E-mail Britain collection of real-life emails will provide an important snapshot of British life over email – the good, the bad, the ugly and the amusing – to produce a unique social history catalogue of life and culture in Britain today.

John Tuck, Head of British Collections at the British Library, said: “Email has in many respects replaced traditional forms of communications such as letters or memoranda, thousands of examples of which we have at the British Library.

“In the digital age email has become prevalent in our day-to-day lives. Email Britain will allow us to archive a vast snapshot of our present-day email communications and will be of great value for future researchers.

“Digital archiving of email has never been attempted before on this scale and we’re very excited to be capturing such a rich slice of contemporary life.”

To contribute to the Email Britain archive, emailers should log on to for more information, or email directly to

Emails should be submitted under one of the following categories which should be typed into the subject box of the email: Blunders, Life Changing Emails, Complaints, Spam, Love and Romance, Humour, Everyday Emails, News, World Around You, Tales from Abroad.


1. Choose an email from your inbox or sent items which you want to forward for inclusion in the Email Britain archive
2. Identify the category your email falls into from the list above
3. Type the category heading for your email into the subject box before clicking send
4. Get permission from third parties included in the email and copy them on the email which you submit
5. Remove commercially sensitive and personal information from your email, including ALL surnames
6. Check your email is no more than 2MB
7. Read the full Terms and Conditions before sending your email
8. Include your contact details in the email
9. Explain the background to the email if it will help readers understand it better
10. Forward your email to