Searchroom rules | Oxfordshire County Council

Searchroom rules

While we aim to give access to our holdings, preservation and security is paramount.

main search room

The following rules must be followed.

Access to the searchroom

  • Access to the searchroom will be available to all in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act (2005).
  • Booking a seat in advance of a visit is advisable, to ensure there is space available.
  • All visitors to the searchroom must fill in a signing-in slip, which will be deemed to constitute assent to the rules of the History Centre.
  • Access to the searchroom is free of charge. However, a charge may be made for certain services provided within it.
  • Access will be provided at the times stated on the noticeboards outside the building, in service leaflets, in e-mails and on the History Centre pages of the county council website. However, it may be necessary for the service to close without notice due to unforeseen circumstancesEvery effort will be made to publicise anticipated closures by notices in the building and through the website.
  • Children are welcome in the searchroom provided they are accompanied by an adult, well-behaved and do not disturb other searchers. The county council cannot accept responsibility for the wellbeing of children, and may ask them to leave if they are causing concern. No animals except guide and hearing dogs are allowed.
  • The History Centre cannot accept responsibility for your personal possessions; please be vigilant, and if necessary secure valuables in a locker.

Access to documents

  • Oxfordshire History Centre is a member of the CARN ticket system. Access will not be granted to original material for anyone without a ticket, unless they are the owner or depositor of that material, although if someone forgets their ticket they can sign an agreement form to the effect that this is a one-off and hand over another form of security while looking at documents. If they are the owner or depositor, they must produce reasonable proof of the fact.
  • Access to documents within the History Centre is determined within the framework of the following legislation:
    • Public Libraries and Museums Act (1964)
    • Public Records Acts (1958) and (1967)
    • Local Government Acts (1962) and (1972)
    • Parochial Records and Registers Measure (1978, revised 1992)
    • Law of Property Acts (1922) and (1924)
    • Tithe Act (1936)
    • Data Protection Act (1998)
    • Freedom of Information Act (2000)
  • Certain classes of document and individual documents are closed under Data Protection legislation. Where possible, such closure will be noted in the catalogues, but we cannot guarantee that this will be the case, and there may be instances in which the member of staff on duty feels it necessary to close a document on the spot where Data Protection is clearly going to be breached.
  • The History Centre does not accept documents which are permanently closed to public inspection. However, documents may be deposited with a limited closure on them, and these documents will not be available until the closure period has terminated.
  • Where, in the opinion of the Conservation Manager, a document will be damaged by being produced for inspection, the centre reserves the right to close it to public access.
  • In all cases an identical copy of a document (such as a photograph or digital image) will be considered an adequate substitute for the original.

Conduct in the searchroom

  • All bags should be left in a locker in reception. Plastic wallets are available for searchers to transport their notes and pencils in each locker. Coats and bulky jackets should be left outside.
  • No writing implements other than pencils may be used in the searchroom.
  • No food or drink may be taken into the searchroom. Any medication should be taken outside the searchroom, except in an emergency.
  • Every attempt must be made to avoid disturbing fellow searchers. Talking should be kept to a minimum. Personal music devices should not be brought into the searchroom.
  • Mobile phones should be set to silent and only answered outside the searchroom
  • Use of personal computers is permitted and plug sockets are provided under the desks: while carrying out regular electrical testing, the county council accepts no responsibility for the power supply or anything else which may disrupt or damage equipment belonging to a searcher.
  • Anyone causing any form of disturbance in the History Centre which upsets other members of the public or staff, be asked to cease doing so. If they persist, they will be asked to leave. If they return and continue this behaviour, they will be refused access to the office for a period to be determined by the History Centre managers.
  • Anyone displaying rudeness, aggression or harassment towards another researcher or member of staff will receive a warning that such behaviour is unacceptable. If such behaviour persists, it will result in the individual concerned being asked to leave. In the case of this being a repetition of behaviour which has already led to the individual in question being asked to leave, that individual will be asked to leave without an initial warning, and will be refused future access.
  • Documents must be handled with care, in the manner and with the gloves and cushions prescribed by members of staff.
  • Copies of items are made under the stipulations of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) and subsequent legislation. Users requiring copies will be asked to fill in the appropriate forms and agree to any restrictions placed by law on the use of the copies. Copies will not be provided of any item which, in the opinion of staff, will be damaged by the process, or of any document where the owner has forbidden copying.
  • Photography and the use of memory sticks , is permitted providing a photographic permit has been purchased from searchroom staff.
  • The publication of any material or a transcript of it requires permission from the History Centre.
Last reviewed
13 December 2017
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