Handling of Documents


The Archives and Special Collections Department has been entrusted to look after the archives in its care. The best way to ensure the continued existence of these manuscripts and their usability is for all members of staff, volunteers and readers to practice the correct methods of handling archive and library material.

Users, consulting original material are asked to handle documents with the utmost care and to follow the procedures listed below.

Please assist us to ensure that these unique collections are preserved for future generations.

  • Hands should be clean before handling collection items. Do not wet fingers to turn pages.
  • Use pencils only for taking notes. Pens and biros are not permitted in any part of the reading room.
  • Do not lean on documents and do not place notebooks on top of them.
  • Documents should not be placed on the floor.
  • Tracing of documents is not permitted without prior consultation with the Archivist.
  • Re-assemble document bundles with care and take all possible means to ensure that the original arrangement of these bundles is retained.
  • Please report any defect in or accident to a document to the Archives staff.

If in doubt about any of the above do not hesitate to ask for help.

Reading room equipment

Photo of equipment used in reading room, cushions, weights magnifying glass

To help you consult original material with care, the reading room is equipped with the following :

  • Weights : a variety of weights are available. ‘Snakes’ which are used for holding down pages and slate weights with felt bases to hold down the corners of maps and plans.
  • Magnifying glasses : magnifying glasses are here to assist you when documents are difficult to read and decipher
  • Book cushions : These protect the spine and hinges of bound volumes
  • Cotton gloves : for use when consulting rare manuscripts
  • Nitrile gloves : for use when handling unprotected photographs

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