Oxfordshire County Council logo
Policy and strategy document

Terms of donation or deposit of local studies materials

1. Scope

This statement explains the Terms of Donation or Deposit of Local Studies Material (including text, image, audio or video) to Oxfordshire History Centre. The treatment of Archives is the subject of a separate document, Terms of Deposit for Archives.

2. Definitions

Oxfordshire History Centre (OHC) (or whatever name it may be known by in the future) shall be held to mean the professional archives and local studies service for the county of Oxfordshire. OHC has responsibility for the records of local government and the Diocese of Oxford, and the right to hold private archives under the Local Government Act (1962).

OHC has a responsibility to maintain a comprehensive collection of published or printed local studies material, relating to the county of Oxfordshire as formulated in 1974. Oxfordshire County Council shall be held to mean the Council and any successor authority.

3. General

Oxfordshire County Council, under the terms of the Public Libraries and Museums Act (1964), has a duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. Oxfordshire History Centre, in conjunction with complementary collections and services operated by Oxfordshire Library Service, contributes to this end in the provision of a local studies service.

The comprehensive nature of OHC’s duty implies the collection and provision of a full range of printed or published local studies material (text, image, audio or video), whether in hard copy, microform or digital format.

These terms of deposit or donation shall be held binding unless any special terms or conditions are agreed upon separately and recorded in writing.

4. Forms of transfer

Local Studies material may be transferred to OHC in one of two ways:

  • Gift (donation) or Purchase: an outright transfer of the items to the ownership of OHC. Gift, sometimes called ‘donation’, or purchase, are OHC’s preferred and most common methods of transfer of Local Studies material, and apply to most Local Studies collections.  
  • Deposit: an indefinite loan of the items to OHC, ownership remaining with the depositor, who may withdraw them. However, Local Studies material are not routinely accepted on deposit, and there would need to be a substantial case for accepting them on these terms.

OHC has the right to dispose of any material transferred as a gift or purchase.

In the case of deposits, OHC may refuse to accept the material, or may transfer it back to the owner but may not otherwise dispose of it without the owner’s consent, unless all reasonable attempts to contact the owner fail.

It is the responsibility of the owner to keep OHC informed of any change of address or transfer of ownership. If a depositor becomes untraceable, ownership and copyright (if vested in the depositor) of the documents will pass to OHC.

OHC accepts in good faith that the donor / depositor of material is the owner of them, or has the right to transfer them to OHC, and responsibility for transfer remains with the donor / depositor.

5. Archaeology and historic building reports

OHC accepts donations and deposits of archaeology and historic building reports as a non-specialist repository, for general public access in support of local history research, but donations to / deposits with OHC do not negate the requirement on donors / depositors to ensure that copies of reports are also submitted to appropriate national and local organisations (e.g. the Archaeology Data Service, and the local authority Historic Environment Record and / or Museums Service), as per Chartered Institute for Archaeologists’ guidelines – www.archaeologists.net/codes/cifa.

6. Digital material

OHC prefers to accept digital Local Studies material in common readable formats, so reserves the right to refuse digital files in formats which can neither be read nor converted. OHC also reserves the right to migrate digital files from hard media to secure cloud storage and to discard any hard media vulnerable to loss or degradation. OHC has established its own standards for the creation of digital image files, and so its first preference is to receive images files in these formats:

  • DNG format (digital negative), or proprietary RAW format which can be converted to DNG
  • JP2 format, i.e. JPEG2000 Part 1 (ISO/IEC 15444 Part 1)

Alternatively, OHC will also accept digital image files in these more common formats, as recommended by Historic England’s guidelines for image capture and storage:

  • TIFF format, uncompressed, 8-bit per channel  
  • JPEG format, with as little compression as possible (compression is ‘lossy’ and so degrades image quality)

7. Access

Access will normally be granted to members of the public to consult local studies material held in OHC, subject to any legal stipulations. Uncatalogued material will not normally be made accessible to the public, but – by appointment – the depositor or donor will be able to access uncatalogued material during OHC’s public opening hours.

Public access to material in the Searchroom will be free of charge. Subject to relevant Data Protection or Copyright restrictions, all material donated or deposited may be used by OHC staff in talks, displays, web pages and social media posts promoting or explaining the collections of OHC.

8. Data protection

Depositors’ and donors’ contact details are only kept for the purposes of identifying origin or ownership and actions regarding the material held. They will not be divulged to a third party without the giver’s permission. Details of depositors’ and donors’ names and addresses may be kept in hard copy or in a digital database, access to which is restricted to OHC staff.

9. Finding aids

Local Studies material transferred to OHC will be listed or catalogued by professionally qualified librarians, according to current office practice, but no fixed date can normally be given for the completion of such lists or catalogues.

Cataloguing priorities will be set at the discretion of the OHC Management Team. A copy of any list or catalogue of Local Studies material may be supplied to the depositor/donor of the records, but copyright in such list or catalogue remains with OHC. No list or catalogue on public access will include personal details of the depositor/donor of the material, unless requested or permitted.

10. Preservation

Local Studies material transferred to OHC will be kept in conditions which shall approximate as nearly as possible to standard BS4971 (2017) ‘Conservation and care of archive and library collections’ and BS EN 16893 (2018) ‘Conservation of Cultural Heritage: Specifications for location, construction and modification of buildings or rooms intended for the storage or use of heritage collections.’

Under the Copyright and Rights in Performances (Research, Education, Libraries and Archives) Regulations 2014 (SI 1372), OHC has the right to preserve, i.e. to copy (including by microfilming or digitisation), any type of copyright work that is held in its permanent collections but cannot readily be replaced.  

OHC also has the right to migrate or re-arrange Local Studies material in digital format, for the purposes of preservation.

OHC shall also have the right to mark items with a catalogue reference, undertake necessary conservation work on them by appropriately qualified conservation staff, and withhold public access to any item which, in the opinion of professional conservation staff, is too fragile for use.

11. Copies and publications

Copyright and the provision of copies

  • Copies of local studies material (including photographic images and sound recordings) may be provided to the public in accordance with the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) (and any subsequent amendments) at the discretion of the professional staff, for private study with a non-commercial purpose.
  • Deposit or donation of material to OHC is deemed to imply permission to reproduce that material, subject to copyright provisions.
  • Specified safe limits for the copying of copyright material are on display in the OHC Searchroom and researchers will be expected to comply with these limits at all times unless they have been granted special permission from the copyright holder.
  • Depositors and donors of photographic images or oral history sound recordings may be asked to provide additional documentation detailing the copyright conditions applicable to, and ownership of, the item(s). OHC reserves the right not to copy any photographic images or oral history sound recordings whose copyright is unclear. Use of images and audio on Picture Oxon
  • If permitted by the donor / depositor, OHC may publish limited thumbnail images (up to 700 pixel width) of deposited or donated photographs, prints or drawings, on its Picture Oxon catalogue website – this serves to fulfil its obligation to provide a public online catalogue of its historic image collections.
  • If permitted by the donor / depositor, OHC may provide access to ‘listening copies’ of oral history audio recordings via its Picture Oxon catalogue website, but with such access limited to on-site users in Oxfordshire History Centre and Oxfordshire Libraries.