Things to Do Libraries, museums, and archives Archives Research Research tips
Menu

Research tips

  • Researchers should allow time for completing background research on each research topic. Many libraries have sources which explain about archives and how to conduct archival research.
  • The County of Oxford Archives does not accommodate genealogical or local history research. This is better done at a genealogical reference room.
  • Make your first contact with the archives by telephone or by mail, stating your research query concisely. Through a reference interview, mutually suitable research times can be arranged and any access restrictions or procedures can be explained.
  • Before visiting an archives, be aware that certain records may not be immediately available for your use. Some records contain sensitive information and are subject to review under government freedom of information and privacy protection legislation. In other instances, the physical condition of the documents or their availability in microform may determine access.
  • Archival records may not be borrowed and no researchers are allowed to browse through the stacks area. All documents must be consulted in a supervised reference area.
  • No ink of any kind may be used in the reference area. Remember to bring pencils, paper, and/or a laptop computer (with extension cord) for notetaking.
  • The provisions of the current federal Copyright Act govern the use of all material within this archives. It is the researcher's responsibility to obtain copyright clearance.
  • Smoking, eating, and drinking are prohibited in the archives. Such practices can stain or damage documents and food residue attracts insects which will harm paper.
  • Personal belongings such as coats, briefcases, and parcels can be brought into the reference area only at the discretion of the archivist.
  • Archival material is arranged by original order. Mixing files or documents undermines their research value.
  • White cotton gloves will be provided for handling fragile documents. These prevent the soiling of documents and damage to paper fibers.
  • Do not mark or fold documents. Handle all archival items with care and avoid propping up books or applying any undue pressure. If you wish to mark your place, use paper flags which can be interleaved as required.
  • Accurate citations ensure that the same material can be consulted in the future. Take adequate notes to ensure that factual data and quotations are recorded in full.