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  There is a wide variation between different record offices on the rules, charges and facilities provided for copying their archived documents. For each record office listed in this web site, information is provided on:
  • photocopying rules and charges
  • provision, if any, of professional photographic reproduction services
  • whether or not you are permitted to use your own camera and if so, what the rules and charges are
  • whether a microform (i.e. microfiche/microfilm) reader-printer is available for use
  When you copy a document you must do so under the understanding that you will comply with all aspects of the current copyright law. In many record offices you will be required to sign an undertaking to this effect. In general you may obtain a single copy of a document providing the copy will be used solely for your own research purposes.
  All record offices reserve the right to refuse photocopying of a document if it could be damaged by the heat or pressure involved in the process. Typically record offices do NOT allow photocopying of:
  • fragile documents
  • parchment
  • bound volumes
  • papers larger than A3 size
  • large and/or folded deeds
  If a record office is unwilling to have a document photocopied, it may permit it to be photographed (see below). Most record offices only allow their staff to carry out photocopying. At those record offices that permit self-service photocopying, it is necessary to make sure that the document in question can be photocopied before doing so. Charges vary from from as little as 10p a copy to as much as £3 a copy - the average is around 30p for an A4 size copy and 50p for an A3 copy.
  Scanning and Photographic Reproduction
  Many record offices offer a flat-bed scanning and/or professional photographic reproduction service. Per copy these work out considerably more expensive than photocopying but result in better quality copies and sometimes are the only option for documents with photocopying restrictions (i.e. bound volumes, parchments, etc.).
  Own Photography
  Most record offices permit you to take your own photographs of their documents but a significant minority (about 1 in 6) do not. For those record offices that permit DIY photography, the rules vary considerably. The majority do not allow the use of electronic flash and a significant number do not allow the use of tripods. Many only allow DIY photography at the discretion of senior staff. Several require prior booking. A few only allow DIY photographing of documents on days when the record office is normally closed to the public. There is an equally wide variation in charges. Two in three record offices impose no charge at all. Others charge per photograph taken (varying from 50p to £2 per click), per session (£2 to £20), or for the hire of a room to take the photographs in (£20 to £25 per hour).
  Microform (fiche/film)
  Almost all record offices provide a microform reader/printer which can be used to produce microfiche/microfilm printouts. The vast majority can be used on a self-service basis. The charge per printout ranges ranges from 10p to £1.
This page last updated: 31 December 2016