Last updated:

Access can be an unfamiliar concept in some small archive collections.

There two aspects to access:

  • physical access, and
  • some form of restriction on access.


Barriers to physical access:

  • records are in a disordered state
  • records are not catalogued (arranged and described)
  • records are in a fragile state
  • records are catalogued according to non-archival practices e.g. museum or library practices.


 Access restrictions:

  • Archive Policy should include an access statement/policy which clearly states the basis on which decisions are made about the who, how and why of using records in the collection
  • donors may impose restrictions on access.



Questions you need to have answers for:

  • what happens when someone wants to use an image of a document or photograph from your collection in a publication or exhibition?
  • who owns the copyright?
  • if you don’t know how will you find out?
  • what does the deed of gift say?


Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples