Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts

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Reprographics policy for Archives and Manuscripts


What we will copy
What we won’t copy
What you may copy


Please help us to ensure the survival of our records by asking only for copies which will not contravene our regulations and consulting the archivist before ordering copies if in any doubt.

All copying of archival and manuscript material is at the discretion of the professional staff, who are happy to advise on the suitability of material for copying, and will provide reasons and suggest alternatives where in-house copying is not possible.

PLEASE ASK in advance correspondence before taking photographs of our records with your own camera; we do try to give permission whenever possible, and will advise when it is not possible - see below.

If you are taking photographs with your own digital camera:

  • all sounds, e.g. shutter 'click', must be switched OFF. Please ensure that you know how to do this with your own camera before you arrive.
  • flash may not be used, nor other supplementary lights except desk lights provided by staff; it is worth checking before your visit to ensure that your camera can take clear shots in low light conditions.

We no longer photocopy any original material; if a reader is unable to use digital images, prints of up to A4 size can normally be provided.

Copies will be made from pre-existing surrogates wherever possible, in order to prevent damaging the originals through handling and exposure to intense light.

Every effort is made to produce good quality copies; originals will not be subjected to recopying to improve the cosmetic appearance of copies if the required information is reasonably legible on the first copy.

We will normally make requested scanned images available via our website. Large scans often cause problems for email systems (including ours), and posting images online makes them easily available to all researchers.


We do not usually make charges for reprography, except in exceptional circumstances as specified below. However, we may charge at the following rates:

• Black and white or colour scanning: £1 per scan, up to A3 size.
• Digital photography: £1 per image if we are able to carry out the work in-house. If out-sourcing is necessary (e.g. for large or fragile items) individual quotes will be provided.
• Black and white or colour A4 prints of digital images of documents or photographs: 50p and 75p respectively.
• Postage and packaging at actual cost.
• Other media: we will supply an individual quote

Commercial and professional (non-academic) researchers may expect to be charged at the above rates. Other researchers may be sent our standard donation letter.

What we will copy

Single sheet items in good physical condition up to A3 size may be scanned up to a maximum of 20 pages per visitor per visit. Examples of items unsuitable for copying include
• Brittle, fragile, damaged or heavily folded documents which would be further damaged by copying
• Folded parchment documents which would have to be forced flat

Loose/single photographs in good condition up to A3 size may be scanned. The binding structure of some photo albums allows scanning, but not others. Faded and damaged photographs will not be scanned. In such cases we may be able to provide digital photographs, but a longer time scale must be expected.

Bound volumes will only be copied if they are in good enough condition to withstand the physical stress of copying and if we are able to provide adequate support to the volume throughout the copying process. The stability of inks and bindings will be taken into account in such decisions as well as the condition of the paper or parchment.

What we won’t copy

We do not have the facilities to produce
• new photographic prints or negatives
• copies of transparencies, slides or photographic negatives
• copies of large maps and plans
• copies of audio-visual material

These can only be copied by specialist firms, which raises both preservation and security concerns; if a copy can be made, we will obtain an initial quote and invoice the enquirer for the full costs of any such copying.

Copying may be refused for the following reasons:

1. Copyright: if Balliol College does not own the copyright of a collection in its custody; in such cases it is up to the enquirer to obtain, and provide a copy to the archivist of, permission in advance for reproduction from the copyright holder.

2. Preservation: We do not photocopy anything. Regardless of age, if the original document is light-sensitive, fragile or otherwise in a physical state where scanning or digital photography will cause damage, we will not do so. In such cases, alternative reproduction methods will be suggested wherever possible, and their costs quoted.

What you may copy

Readers may use digital cameras, without charge, at the discretion of the archivist, provided that:

• they inform the archivist in advance of their intention to use a camera
• flash is not used
• there is no disruption to the work of staff or other readers
• there is no risk of damage to the original material

The archivist may request a copy of all images taken, with the understanding that Balliol may use or publish any images taken, including on our website, and provide them on request to other researchers. This is to minimise physical impact on original documents. We will always credit photographers.

Donations towards the preservation of the items being photographed will be appreciated.

Where the intention of the use of a camera is commercial publication or broadcast, the written permission of the copyright holder or the archivist is required. Application should be made in writing at least two weeks in advance of such a searchroom visit and a fee may be charged.

Balliol's reprographics policy is based on the National Preservation Office's guidelines 'Photocopying of Library and Archive Materials.'

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- Anna Sander

You do not need to request permission to download or print one copy of any of the images on these pages for your personal private study or research purposes.
You do need to request permission in writing to use any of these images for any publication in any format, including any use on a website.

The archives and manuscripts of Balliol College are open by appointment to enquirers in person at the Historic Collections Centre in St Cross Church, Holywell.
Enquiries should be sent in writing (email or post).
There is no charge for Archive enquiries, but donations for Archive purposes are always appreciated.
Updated 11.viii.14
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