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Access statement

The LSHTM Archives Service is part of the Library & Archives Service (LAS), one of two Departments within the School’s wider Information Services Directorate. The LSHTM Archives Service collects, catalogues, preserves and provides access to the archive collections of the School.

The purpose of this Access Statement is to ensure the Archives Service fulfils its responsibility to provide the broadest possible access to these collections, in accordance with the LAS Strategy and in proportion to the resources available.

This policy defines the principles that ensure that access to the Archives Service resources and facilities is consistent and fair to all users and in line with professional best practices and relevant legislation.

LAS mission, vision & strategy

The Archives Service aims to make the School’s collection available for consultation and research in line with the LAS mission which is to:

To provide excellent information-related services, resources and support to the School in pursuit of its mission to improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide.

LAS also has a vision statement:

A user-focused service delivered by empowered staff within a creative and supportive environment.

Access to the Archives Service collections is at the core of the LAS Strategy 2016-2019, and forms a key strand within the following strategic themes and objectives:

Engagement & experience

User engagement. We will engage with researchers, educators and students at every level in order to fully understand their evolving information needs and inform the development of new solutions and services to meet them.

Service promotion. We will promote the LAS collections and services within the organisation and beyond in order to facilitate access to knowledge generated by and curated by the School.

Skills & solutions

Skilled & knowledgeable staff. We will recruit, develop and retain high calibre staff in order to meet the opportunities and challenges of the rapidly changing information environment and provide an excellent user focused information service to the School.

Management information. We will capture and tag the School’s research and education outputs and provide associated management information in order to support the School’s wider research and education management requirements.

Resources & resilience

Access to resources. We will acquire, manage, preserve and make available resources for research and education in multiple formats, and facilitate access to material beyond the School’s unique collections through reciprocal arrangements and collaboration, in order to meet the needs of the School regarding access to scholarly content.

Records management. We will manage and preserve the corporate record of the School’s achievements and activities and provide a comprehensive information and records management service to the School in order to enable current and future access to this information.

Connectivity & collaboration

Outreach & new audiences. We will work with colleagues throughout the institution on outreach initiatives, utilising our professional skills and knowledge of the School’s collections and heritage in order to engage new audiences and increase public awareness of the School and its activities.

Stakeholders & community

The Archives Service serves the following stakeholders and community:

  • LSHTM staff, students, alumni and governing body
  • Members of other educational institutions
  • Depositors of records held by the Archives Service
  • Those who fund the archives through core funding and grants (LSHTM, Wellcome Trust)
  • Any member of the public with an interest in the archives
  • Local archival and historical institutions and organisations (Camden Local History Library, UCL Institute of Education)
  • National Archival institutions (The National Archives)

Access to the collections

Any individual who abides by the rules and procedures of the Archives Service is welcome to view the records held, irrespective of age (users under 16 years of age may need to be accompanied by an adult), gender, ethnicity, religious or political affiliation or any other similar differentiation, in line with the LSHTM Equality and Diversity Strategy (https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/aboutus/organisation/governance/equality-divers…)

Access to information about the collections can be found on the Archives web pages and the online Archives catalogue, and also the Library web pages (via the Discovery search tool) and the networks AIM25, Archives Hub and The National Archives Discovery Portal; and by contacting the Archives staff by email, letter, or telephone, or in person during opening hours.  Copies of records can also be obtained, subject to restrictions.

The Archives Service is committed to providing an excellent service to its users. However, in the event that a user is unhappy with the service provided, we will endeavour to resolve the problem. In the first instance any complaint should be made to the Archivist & Records Manager. In the event of an unsatisfactory resolution, the complaint will be referred to the Head of Library & Archives Service.

The Archives Service works with the LSHTM Communications and Engagement Department, including the Public Engagement Officer, and with the Centre for History in Public Health to support the work of the School in promoting its work to a wider audience. This includes support for staff at Student Open Days, conferences, seminars, visits and events.

The Archives Service is heavily involved in the School’s exhibition programme, and has curated a number of exhibitions since the programme started in 2012. It has also  provided archival material to enhance other exhibitions curated by academic staff.

The Archive Service provides information for its users on its web pages, on the LAS blog (http://blogs.lshtm.ac.uk/library/) which includes a collection of the month feature, and via regular posts on the Archives twitter account( https://twitter.com/LSHTMarchives)

The Archive Service aims to incorporate the views of its community and stakeholders into the development of its work through surveys, feedback forms and statistical analysis.

On-site access

Original documents held by the Archives Service can be consulted by any person free of charge in the Archives Search Room, which is located within the Library at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s building in Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT.

Researchers are required to make an appointment prior to visiting the archives in order to ensure that adequate staff and resources are available to fulfil their request. Researchers are required to complete a registration form and produce identification before consulting the archives. The Archives Service reserves the right to refuse access to users without an appointment.

Users are able to visit the Archives Search Room during designated opening hours. These are available on the Archives web pages (https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/research/library-archives-service/archives/visi…). The Archives Service may occasionally have to close to the public during designated opening hours for teaching and group visits and other commitments.

The Archives staff will provide courteous and helpful guidance to any user who visits the Archives. Users can expect to receive assistance in using finding aids and catalogues, identifying useful research materials and handling archival material.

In order to ensure equal and responsible access, researchers are expected to respect the Archive materials, staff and other users, and adhere to the rules governing access (see Appendix 1). Users are informed of the rules that they must adhere to upon registration.

The Archives Service aims to make all material from its holdings accessible to any individual. However, there are certain circumstances under which access may be restricted to individual documents or collections. These are as follows:

Legislative purposes - in particular the Data Protection Act (2000)

The Data Protection Act (2000) is in place in order to safeguard the personal data of individuals. If a document contains personal data about an individual, particularly of a sensitive nature, it may be closed for a period of up to 100 years. Researchers may apply for early access to closed records, by submitting a written request to the Archivist & Records Manager.

These applications are reviewed on a case by case basis. On registration, researchers are made aware that they are signing the form to abide by the Data Protection Act. Further guidance is available to researchers on Data Protection. From May 2018, the Data Protection Act will be superseded by the General Data Protection Regulation, guidance will be changed accordingly.

Preservation purposes

Access to a document may be refused where the   document is in a particularly fragile condition, or where handling is likely to cause damage to the document. The decision to refuse access on the grounds of preservation purposes is made at the discretion of the most senior member of Archives staff on duty, but arrangements may be made to provide access to a surrogate copy. Researchers are entitled to apply for access to such material by submitting a written request to the Archivist & Records Manager.

Depositor’s wishes

Some of the collections held by the Archives Service have been deposited here by their legal owners to allow consultation by researchers. When this occurs, a deposit agreement with the owner has been agreed. Occasionally, depositors may stipulate that certain conditions must be met for access to be granted, or ask for a designated closure period to be applied to particular documents.

Business sensitivity

Certain School records are closed for a period following their creation. Researchers are entitled to apply for access to such material under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, by submitting a request by email to FOI@lshtm.ac.uk

Sensitive records not covered by Data Protection

Certain records may be restricted if the contents may cause harm or damage to a living individual, contains graphic medical content or relate to illegal or criminal practices.

Uncatalogued material

30% of the School’s archive holdings are uncatalogued. Access to uncatalogued material may be restricted.

If access to individual documents or collections is refused, the reason for doing so will be explained to the user in full.

Remote access

The Archives Service recognises that it is not always possible or practical for researchers to visit the School in person. The service will endeavour to provide remote access as far as is reasonable within the resources available.

The Archives Service will respond to all enquiries received by email, letter, telephone or social media channels. All enquiries should be acknowledged within two working days, and final responses will be sent within one week unless exceptional circumstances apply.

The Archives Service will provide information on its holdings, and perform limited research within its holdings, free of charge. For particularly lengthy or detailed research, Archives staff will refer users to the list of independent researchers provided by The National Archives (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/paying-for-r…).

The Archives Service will provide access to selected material online through digitisation projects, blogs and online exhibitions as far as is reasonably practical. This is dependent upon resources available and legal considerations including copyright law.

Provision of copies of documents

The Archives Service will endeavour to provide copies of documents to onsite and remote users at a reasonable cost to the user. Current charges can be found in the Photocopying and Scanning Procedures (https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/research/library-archives-service/archives/visi…).

Users are permitted to take digital photographs of material free of charge as an alternative to purchasing photocopies or scans, subject to copyright restrictions. Further information is available in the Digital Camera Procedures (https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/research/library-archives-service/archives/visi…)

The Archives Service has a responsibility and duty of care to the unique resources in the archives and may refuse to copy material if the process is likely to damage it. This includes bound volumes, photographs and oversized material. Alternative forms of copying may be offered if appropriate (e.g. an item may be able to be photographed by the School photographer for a fee). However, it this is not possible, the Archives Service reserves the right to refuse to provide copies. The decision to refuse to make copies of material on the grounds of preservation is made at the discretion of the most senior member of staff on duty.

Copies of material are created and provided to or taken by users with due regard to copyright and intellectual property law. No user will be provided with copies of documents, nor permitted to take their own digital photographs of documents, without first completing a copyright declaration form.

Copies of material are created or taken for private research use only. Copies provided or taken for commercial purposes may be subject to a reproduction fee.

Access to digital archives

The Archives Service holds a small but growing collection of digital archives, which consists of both born-digital and digitised material. Access is provided to access copies of digital archives on a dedicated stand-alone PC.

Access to digital images (both born digital and digitised material) is available to staff and students via Assetbank, the School’s image management system. Access to this system is available to researchers who visit the Search Room, and temporary access to this system can be arranged for remote users.

Implementation & review

This Access Statement will be communicated to LAS staff, to interested parties within LSHTM, and to external agencies and others with an interest in its context on demand. It will be made available to the public via the Archives web pages.

The Access Statement will be reviewed every two years by the LAS Management Team. This does not preclude earlier review should internal or external development warrant it.

Useful sources

Policies and sources of advice consulted during the drafting of this Access Statement include:

King’s College London, Archives Services Access Policy
Institute of Education Archives Access Statement

Archivist & Records Manager
August 2017