Handling and using archives

The archive material held by the University is unique and irreplaceable, so guidelines must be followed when consulting items in the university library to safeguard them.

Handling instructions will be on display during your visit, and archives users will be made aware of their responsibilities when studying material from the collections in the designated Reading Area. The Archivist will be on hand to supervise you.

Researchers will need to provide identification and will be asked to sign a visitors’ sheet to give contact details and to confirm that they will abide by the handling and using archives guidelines. Contact information provided on the visitors’ sheet will be only used in compliance with the Data Protection Act and any other relevant legislation.


  • Ensure your hands are clean and lotion-free before handling material.
  • Use book supports and weights provided (if required) e.g. for bound volumes.
  • Keep loose items in the correct order, and in the right box or file.
  • Where present, re-tie tapes around books and folders after use.
  • Use pencil or a laptop, tablet, mobile phone (set to silent) for taking notes.
  • When handling photographic material, use the nitrile gloves provided.
  • Report any damage you discover.
  • Seek permission to take photographs (the use of flash photography is not permitted) and complete a copyright form.
  • Comply with Copyright and Data Protection legislation, and other access restrictions.

Please DO NOT:

  • Bring food, drink, pens or ink into the Reading Area.
  • Remove items from the Reading Area.
  • Mark, or make erasures, in any item.
  • Place open items face-down, lean, or rest anything on them.
  • Rearrange any archives, remove items from transparent sleeves, take tracings or rubbings, mark any records in any way or lay books, papers or other objects (except book-weights) on the archives.

Visitors are asked to comply with any requests made by the Archivist or library staff.

Material that is fragile or requires conservation will not be available to researchers.

Anyone found deliberately damaging or defacing holdings will have access to material withdrawn.