Conditions for use of the Research Centre have been designed to protect the collection. We expect that researchers and visitors will respect our staff, records and facilities by complying with these conditions.

Before you enter the Research Centre

  • Please ensure you have booked an appointment to visit the Research Centre. Whether you wish to view original records or use supplementary research tools such as microfilm, search computers and our printed reference collection we ask that you book an appointment for any visit to the Research Centre. 
  • If you arrive without a prior booking, staff in the Research Centre may not be able to assist and you may not be able to enter our Research Centre if we are at capacity.
  • You are responsible for the materials issued to you in the Research Centre, and must not permit anyone else to use your card.
  • All bags (e.g. handbags, shopping bags, satchels, laptop bags, document holders) must be checked in at the lockers before entering the Research Centre.
  • You may bring in small personal items such as laptops, notebooks, loose papers, glasses, wallets, keys and pencils.
  • No food or drink – including water bottles – may be taken in to the Research Centre.
  • Ensure your hands are clean and dry and free from any hand lotions. These lotions will cause the paper to stain and accelerate any deterioration.

When you enter the Research Centre

  • Present to staff and identify yourself. If you arrive without a prior booking, staff in the Research Centre may not be able to assist and you may not be able to enter our Research Centre if we are at capacity.
  • Switch your mobile phone off or to silent mode. Please leave the Research Centre to answer or make a call.
  • Please behave with consideration for others in the room and refrain from loud or unnecessary conversations with others.

Viewing records in the Research Centre

The following conditions apply to the viewing of records. User registration may be canceled or withdrawn if these rules are not followed.

  • Records may not be removed from the Reading Room. All records must be returned before you leave the room for the day.
  • No ink pens may be used. Notes may be taken by using electronic devices or pencil and paper.
  • You must not lean on, trace records or use them as a support for writing.
  • You must handle all records gently and wear cotton gloves supplied if requested.
  • You must not mark, annotate or damage the records.
  • Turn pages carefully, and not with moistened fingers. Rubber finger stalls are available if you need one.
  • Files must not be taken apart. Please maintain original fasteners and order of records. Ask staff for assistance if needed.
  • Supports and pillows are provided to protect binding on volumes. No part of an item should hang over the edge of the table.
  • If you come across a record in poor condition please bring it to the attention of staff.
  • Some archival materials can only be viewed with the permission of the responsible agency. Staff will provide you with agency contact details, but it is your responsibility to obtain and show your authorisation to staff before viewing restricted materials.
  • Wherever possible, original records will be made available to customers to view in the Reading Room. Where records are fragile or in an unstable condition, it may be necessary to provide alternative access to a copy. Where items are severely degraded, access may need to be withheld entirely. In these cases, staff will explain why access cannot be granted.

Use of cameras in the Research Centre

Anyone wishing to photograph records within the Reading Room will need to sign a permission form, once.

You may use your own camera to photograph records, or use devices available in the Reading Room for this purpose. Images taken with in-house devices may be transferred to a customer’s USB drive or CD.

Conditions for photographing records

  • Some records may not be suitable for photographing due to their format or condition, please check with staff before you start.
  • Flash may not be used.
  • Hand held and flatbed scanners are not permitted.
  • Documents, files and volumes must not be forced open or dismantled for photographing.
  • Photography must not disturb other customers - any audio signals emitted by cameras must be switched off.
  • Your use of images must comply with copyright law. Permission from the copyright owner must be sought prior to publishing images of records.