Depositing documents at the History Centre

How to hand over documents to the Oxfordshire History Centre.

The history centre brings together printed and written materials which throw light on the history of Oxfordshire.

Often, these materials are owned by individuals or organisations and are deposited with the history centre so that they can be used by researchers in conjunction with other resources. Sometimes the materials are handed over as a gift.

The history centre has a small purchasing budget, which is generally used to buy newly published works on Oxfordshire history.

We accept the following categories of material:

Written documents created by organisations and individuals as part of their life and work during the history of Oxfordshire, where, in the opinion of the professional staff, these provide valuable information on the county's history.

Photographs of people, places, activities and events in Oxfordshire.

Local studies published or printed material, though this is often purchased or received as a donation. We welcome donations of village or family histories, topical studies, and journal articles, or published works on any aspect of Oxfordshire life and history.

Oral history recordings, but again only where in the opinion of the professional staff these provide valuable information on the county’s history. The History Centre does not have the resources to make oral history recordings.

To donate artefacts, works of art and so on, visit the Loans, donations and bequests page.

Ownership, copyright and related matters

It is important to get agreement on these things at the start of a deposit to avoid problems later.  For this reason you will be asked to sign a deposit agreement covering issues such as ownership, copyright and data protection.

Download our terms of deposit (pdf format 19 KB).

Depositing written documents

Many of the documents held by Oxfordshire History Centre have been given or loaned by individuals, businesses or organisations. The records of the history of Oxfordshire are generally in the hands of those who made that history, or their descendants.

Assessing your collection

The history centre has a legal responsibility to accept particular classes of document, including public records and parish registers.

Other types of record have to be assessed on their merits, and cannot be accepted unseen. If contacting the record office, please supply a rough list and an idea of the quantity of records you are offering so that we can make a decision based on their historical value.

If you need someone to look at the records, please be aware that it may be some time before a member of staff is available - frequently employees are needed simply to keep the public service open.

Please do not make a special trip to the office with documents you wish to deposit without agreeing this with us in advance. In particular, it will not be possible to accept deposits on Saturdays unless all the necessary administration has been completed in advance and a specific appointment has been made. Contacting us.

How to deposit your documents

Documents can be handed to the centre as an outright gift, by which ownership is transferred to the centre, or as a deposit, by which you retain ownership. See our terms of deposit (pdf format, 19 KB) for more precise information.

Guidelines for depositors of archives

Oxfordshire History Centre (OHC):

  • exists to preserve and promote the documentary heritage of Oxfordshire and records deposited (accessions) must be consistent with that purpose.
  • accepts documentary records in any format relating to Oxfordshire or which form part of an archive relating primarily to Oxfordshire.
  • reserves the right to determine storage, preservation and other requirements for the records in its care, subject to specific agreements with records owners.

Owners of records:

  • are requested, whenever possible, to sort and list material prior to transfer: collections of records may not be acceptable until a box list has been seen
  • are requested to organise the transfer of their records to this office
  • are requested to inform us of records in formats other than paper or parchment
  • are required to sign an accession agreement and, depending on the content and age of the records, a data protection questionnaire
  • are required to confirm ownership.

Items the Oxfordshire History Centre will not accept

  • Works of art or artefacts (visit Loans, donations and bequests).
  • Unreasonable restrictions placed by owners of records on access to their records by the general public.
  • Records which in any way contravene the Data Protection Act 1998 or any other legislation and remain sensitive despite the use of closure periods.
  • Records which are required for current administrative purposes, for example, financial records which are less than seven years old.
  • Severely damaged, illegible, infested or hazardous material, unless express permission has been given by the Head of Conservation.