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.
- 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?