Guildford Archiving Project (2000 - 2004)

Under the terms of the Minnesota Consent Judgment 1998, defendant tobacco companies in US litigation to recover health care costs related to tobacco use were required to make documents produced during the trial discovery process publicly accessible at two depositories. Documents of US-based companies and tobacco industry organisations are held at the Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository in Minneapolis, while British American Tobacco (BAT) was permitted to place its documents in the company-operated Guildford Depository in the UK.

This allowed BAT to comply with the letter, but not the spirit, of the judgment by imposing such severely restricted conditions on access that full and appropriate use of the collection was effectively prevented. In response to these challenges, the Guildford Archiving Project (GAP) consortium, a collaboration between researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and the Mayo Clinic, was established to acquire, digitize and make the estimated 6-7 million pages of BAT documents held in 41,000 files publicly accessible on-line.

Each of the more than 41,000 files housed at the Guildford Depository had to be ordered individually by completing a request form by hand before GAP processing could begin; this task was finally completed in February 2004. In that same year, Mayo Clinic researchers undertook the complementary task of capturing approximately 1 million additional pages of BAT-related material held at the Minnesota Depository.

Thsi massive project received generous funding of approximately US$ 3.6 million from the Wellcome Trust (£1 million); the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI) (US$ 1 million); American Heart Association; Health Canada; and Cancer Research UK.

In October 2004, the British American Tobacco Document Archive (BATDA) was launched, making documents processed to that date accessible to public health researchers and other interested parties. In July 2008, the BATDA collection was integrated into the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents (formerly Legacy Tobacco Documents Library) whcih is hsoted by UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management.

As part of the the Truth collection, the British American Tobacco Records (BAT), which comprised 1,655,077 documents in August 2018,
are permanenly accessible on-line.