Last updated:

July 13, 2016

Access can be an unfamiliar concept in some small archive collections.

There two aspects to access:

  • physical access, and
  • some form of restriction on access.


Barriers to physical access:

  • records are in a disordered state
  • records are not catalogued (arranged and described)
  • records are in a fragile state
  • records are catalogued according to non-archival practices e.g. museum or library practices.


 Access restrictions:

  • Archive Policy should include an access statement/policy which clearly states the basis on which decisions are made about the who, how and why of using records in the collection
  • donors may impose restrictions on access.



Questions you need to have answers for:

  • what happens when someone wants to use an image of a document or photograph from your collection in a publication or exhibition?
  • who owns the copyright?
  • if you don’t know how will you find out?
  • what does the deed of gift say?