Copying and publishing public records
Most original records held by PROV can be copied, except where copying would cause damage.
Making your own copies in a reading room
Personal digital cameras
Researchers can make copies of records free of charge using their own digital camera, provided that conditions of use are observed.
PROV cameras and scanners
We have provided digital cameras and scanners at the North Melbourne Reading Room that you can use to copy records that you have requested to view. Bring a USB stick or portable hard drive to save the images to when you visit.
The use of personal equipment on PROV systems in the Reading Room, such as USB drives, is undertaken at the user's own risk. PROV does not accept responsibility for any loss, damage or data corruption incurred as a result of the use of its IT systems or resources.
Using a search agent
If you are not able to visit a reading room to view records and arrange your copy order, you may wish to hire a search agent to undertake this on your behalf. See Search Agents for contact details.
Using PROV's copy service
Copy orders can be placed through our website.
Step 1: 'Select' the record in our catalogue and click through to your account with us (you will need to log in or create an account if you don't already have one).
Step 2: From your 'My Selections' list, follow the prompts to choose the type of copy you wish. Your requests will then be listed on a 'Cart' screen. From this screen you can change or delete requests.
Step 3: From the 'Cart' screen you must click 'Complete order' to make the request.
- We charge a fixed fee for copies of many records and will ask you to pay that immediately (see the list of records below). For records not on that list we will contact you with a quote once we have looked at the records and confirmed a price.
- Payment is by credit card. We will only ask for payment after we have provided a price, but we do ask that you provide contact details as part of your initial request.
|Digital copies||Maps, plans or other oversized single-page documents||$22.20 each|
|Standard sized document – up to first 20 pages||$22.20|
|For every 30 pages following||$17.80|
|Paper copies||Standard sized document – for every 20 pages||$16.30|
|Fast-track priority queue (only available for standard documents under 20 pages)||Copied next business day*||$7.50|
|Copied same business day*||$15.00|
|Certification of copies (see below)||For each document certified add||$5.00|
*Note that these timeframes are calculated from the time that we receive payment for the order.
|Postage Service||Type (or equivalent eg. 5 x A3 or 10 x A4||Charge|
|Envelopes||Large Letter format: up to 99 A4 pages||$9.00|
|Parcel format: 100-599 A4 pages||$17.00|
|Parcel format: 600-999 A4 pages||$21.00|
|Tubes||Price on application|
|DX||Up to 799 A4 pages||$2.00|
|DX||800+ A4 pages||$8.65|
|Overseas||Price on application|
|Registered mail an additional||$3.50|
How we apply fees
Our copying fees are applied based on the size and complexity of the record to be copied. For many records this means that we need to retrieve the record from storage and count pages before we can quote a price.
We always quote the minimum fee for records from the following series as part of the ordering process, and you can pay for copies at the same time as placing the request:
- VPRS 24 Inquest Deposition Files
- VPRS 28 Probate and Administration Files
- VPRS 267 Civil Case Files
- VPRS 640 Central Inward Primary Schools Correspondence
- VPRS 10010 Body Cards
- VPRS 17379 Probate and Administration Files (Courtview)
If you request copies of records from VPRS 7591 Wills, and have also ordered the corresponding parts of the file from VPRS 28, we will not charge for copying the VPRS 7591 part.
While most records can be copied for the minimum applicable fee, sometimes our quotes can be unexpectedly large, particularly if you are ordering copies of the record without having seen it. Frequently the reason for this is that the information you are looking for is bound into a larger record. Examples are:
- A typical nineteenth century ‘register’ (for example a prison register, or committee minutes) might be three hundred pages long, which would cost $182.40 to copy.
- Many records in our collection are not listed individually. For instance the records in VPRS 460 Applications for Certificates of Title are listed in ‘bundles’ corresponding to the boxes in which they were transferred to us. If you request a copy of these records and are not able to specify the specific record in that bundle, we can only quote for the entire bundle.
We cannot quote for or provide copies of part of a record unless you have first viewed that record in one of our Reading Rooms to confirm the exact part to be copied.
We will provide copies of records to you within 25 working days if you have requested them using our standard service.
For some types of records, you can request the order be fast-tracked. We will ask for an additional fee.
While COVID-19 restrictions are in effect we are not able to offer a fast-track service. (The option still appears on our website but we will not charge for selecting that option and your request will be considered a standard service request). If you have an urgent essential need for copies (for instance a court case) please contact us and we will prioritise your request.
Receiving your copy order
Once the record is copied we will send you an email with a link to download a copy in PDF format by logging in to your account with us. If you have requested a paper copy, we will post this to you.
We will (in most cases) publish the copy of the record to our website so it can be viewed online by everybody. By providing copies we are able to better preserve fragile original records. While we may publish any open record in our collection, we will not publish every record, particularly if it is very recent. If you have concerns about the publication of a particular record, you can contact us.
Certified copies for legal purposes
Copies of public records produced by PROV can be certified for legal purposes by the Keeper of Public Records.
Please note that certification is only needed when documents are required to be produced for formal legal proceedings. In other cases, providing a link to the copy of the record on our website is enough to demonstrate that we have made that copy in line with our standards.
It is advisable to allow 10 working days plus time for postage for certification, which is undertaken subject to the availability of the Keeper of Public Records. To ensure the integrity of the certification process, copies of records will only be certified by the Keeper if the copy has been made by PROV and has not left PROV custody.
Obtaining permission to publish
Before a public record can be reproduced in a publication or exhibition, the written permission of the copyright holder must be obtained. Refer to Copyright For Researchers for information about the permissions process. You must also note down the citation details for the item you wish to publish and complete an application for permission to publish form.
Our guidelines on citing public records set out how to cite records consistently in a way that means other researchers can find them in our collection.