SWiB Statement of Public Access Policy


1. Introduction
1.1 The purpose of the South West Image Bank is to find, protect and make available for research records relating to the visual heritage of the Region (South West).
1.2 Access to records held by the Service is as unrestricted as possible, but must be consistent with their proper conservation and with security against misplacement and theft. Access is also subject to any statutory or other legal requirements, as well as to proper considerations of confidentiality and to the rights of document owners, copyright owners, and others.

2. Public Facilities for Access
2.1 The Service seeks to provide supervised facilities for the consultation of archives sufficient to satisfy normal public demand, and in a manner consistent with the Archive and Record Service Charter.
2.2 The public are permitted to have access to records without charge though monetary donations are accepted.

3. Finding Aids
3.1 The Service regards the creation of lists and other finding aids of its records as a major priority, and aims to list all new accessions below 1 cubic foot in size within three months of their arrival. Except where proper considerations of confidentiality apply, lists and finding aids are made freely accessible in the Service’s public search rooms and online.
3.2 Backlogs of unlisted material are dealt with as part of a structured listing programme. The Service will ensure so far as possible that significant resources continue to be directed towards backlog listing.
3.3 All newly-created lists have due regard to agreed national and international standards for archival description (ISAD[G]).
3.4 The Service will continue to create subject- and collection-based user guides as part of a planned programme.

4 Remote Access
4.1 Lists, user guides and document images will continue to be made available electronically as resources permit.
4.2 Written and telephone enquiries concerning the nature and scope of records held by the Service are answered without charge according to the terms of the Archive Service Charter.
4.3 Written or telephone enquiries requiring research into the contents of documents are dealt with according to a published scale of charges.

5 Reprographic Services
5.1 Where conservation, copyright and other considerations allow, the Service provides copies of documents by means of photocopying, photography and digital scanning. Copying of archival material is often highly laborious, and fees charged for reprography aim to reflect this fact in appropriate cases.

6 Restrictions on Access
6.1 Introduction
6.1.1 Issues of confidentiality, owner rights, copyright, conservation and security, mean that access to some documents must be restricted.
6.1.3 Such restrictions are imposed with due regard to relevant legislation, including the Public Record Acts, 1958, 1967, the Companies Acts, and statutes relating to the Rehabilitation of Offenders, Environmental Information Regulations, Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts.
6.1.2 Where restrictions are imposed, an explanation (in writing if appropriate) will always be provided to the user requesting to see a particular document.
6.2 Confidentiality
6.2.1 Archives containing personally sensitive or confidential information are not generally available for use.
6.2.2 In such cases the legal provisions laid out in the Data Protection Act (1998) and Freedom of Information Act (2000) will be fully implemented.
6.3 Owner Rights
6.3.1 Unrestricted access to privately-deposited documents will not be permitted where a restriction on access has been agreed between the Service and the depositor, or where, in the judgement of senior members of staff, access would be prejudicial to the rights of the depositor or the depositor’s successor in title.
6.3.2 By the rules of the Service, users must declare whether access is required to documents for legal purposes (eg rights of way disputes). In such cases, access to privately-deposited documents will be permitted only with the written consent of the depositor or the depositor’s successor in title.
6.4 Copyright
6.4.1 Information derived from documents held by the Service, and copies supplied of them, must be used for the purposes of private study and research only and in conformity with the law of copyright. Use for any other purpose must be approved in advance in writing by a senior member of staff.
6.4.1 A fee or royalty may be charged where a document or copy is used for publication.
6.5 Conservation
6.5.1 A document may be withheld from use where in the opinion of the Service it is physically unfit for handling.
6.5.2 Where a substitute copy of a photograph exists, that copy will normally be produced in preference to the original.
6.6 Security
6.6.1 The Service reserves the right to withhold from consultation documents which are unlisted or which in the opinion of the Service are inadequately arranged or identified.
6.6.2 The Service will enforce such reasonable security measures as it considers appropriate to protect documents from misplacement or theft.

7 Policy Development
7.1 The Service will strive to increase access to documents and finding aids particularly by electronic means.
7.2 The Service recognises the importance of access to archives for educational purposes and will strive to increase that access through its education service, learning programme and through outreach.
7.3 This policy will be reviewed in five years time.

SD / 18/06/2009



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