Although every effort is made to ensure that the records held by the Essex Record Office (ERO) are available to as wide an audience as possible, the most important consideration has to be the protection and conservation of the documents themselves. Therefore, restrictions are placed on access to certain documents, and the handling, copying and photographing of all documents are subject to strict controls.
Use of a digital camera, or other device capable of being used as a digital camera (such as a camera-enabled mobile phone), is allowed within the Essex Record Office Searchroom, subject to the restrictions outlined in the Procedures section below. Scanning devices, which require physical contact between the device and the object being scanned, are prohibited. Conventional film cameras may not be used within the Searchroom, because it is not possible for staff to check what images have been taken.
Use of digital cameras within the Searchroom is subject to the discretion of the ERO staff, and the Procedures for Camera Use and Conditions of Use below must be adhered to. The ERO reserves the right to refuse or withdraw permission to use a camera at any time.
Fees for camera use
Use of a personal digital camera in the Searchroom is subject to a non-refundable fee of £10 per day. The fee is payable in the Searchroom prior to use of the camera. Payment of the fee entitles one individual to use one digital camera on the day specified, for the purpose of making copies of archival material for his or her own private use.
Check in advance that the items you wish to photograph can be copied in this way as, once paid, the fee is non-refundable.
The ERO has specialist equipment and can make digital and other copies of some items that cannot be photographed with a personal digital camera. For more information, see our copying documents page
Procedures for camera use
- A request and undertaking form must be completed and signed before making any copies. Fees must be paid in advance. You must enter details of the camera that you intend to use.
- You may not bring a stand or tripod into the Searchroom. The ERO has a stand which can be used, but you must attach the camera to the stand yourself, and the ERO accepts no responsibility for damage caused by doing so incorrectly.
- Digital photography is allowed only at a fixed location close to the Searchroom desk. Cameras are not to be taken into other areas of the Searchroom unless the user is accompanied by a member of staff.
- You must indicate to a member of staff when you are about to photograph a document, and you must write the reference number and description of the document on the form before making the exposure. The number of images taken of each document must also be written on the form.
- You may not photograph anything other than documents without specific permission. This includes general pictures of the Searchroom, or any other part of the interior of the building.
- Staff are not permitted to help you operate your camera.
- The ERO reserves the right to inspect your camera, and any additional memory devices, to see all the images taken before the camera and memory devices are taken out of the Searchroom. The ERO reserves the right to require that images taken in the Searchroom which do not fall within the scope of the permission granted are deleted immediately.
- Cameras are subject to inspection every time they are removed from the Searchroom. It is permitted to leave cameras in the lockers in the Searchroom provided for this purpose. The ERO accepts no responsibility for the security of cameras left in lockers.
- The ERO staff are required to observe users to ensure that they are not damaging the documents that they copy, or copying prohibited items. Acceptance of this is a condition of Searchroom use.
Conditions of use
- As many of the documents we hold are fragile, the ERO reserves the right to refuse permission for digital photographs to be taken if we believe it may damage the original document to do so.
- Digital photography is allowed on the condition that it complies with the law of copyright. This requires that the copying of items in copyright is for non-commercial research and private study only. The ERO staff can advise on copyright issues, and will act to protect infringement if they believe it is occurring. Ultimate responsibility rests with the user. A leaflet about copyright is available to download.
The following conditions apply to the use of digital personal cameras where permitted.
- Copying must not subject the items being copied to handling or treatment that would not take place if they were merely being read.
- The same restrictions apply to publishing digital photographs made by the public as apply to publishing copies made by the Record Office. Publishing includes placing images on a website.
- The copying of printed books, photographs or works of art is not permitted, because of the restrictive conditions that apply under copyright law.
- Except with the express permission of the ERO, users are not permitted to make copies for the use of anyone other than themselves. If it is permitted, the person for whom the copies are being made must sign the appropriate declaration.
- Pressure must not be used to hold items flat, and weights, that would not be used if documents were merely being read, may not be used.
- No on camera flash or additional lighting may be used. You should check that the ambient light in the search room is adequate for your camera. Test exposures of specimen documents without payment may be made to ascertain this.
- Digital photographs of original items will not be allowed where microfiche, microfilm, digital or other copies already exist. At the discretion of the ERO, digital photographs may be made of entries in records that are illegible on microfiche or microfilm. However, only the entries in question can be photographed, not other parts of the document.
- You must be in possession of a valid readers’ ticket before applying for permission to photograph documents.
- The copying of maps must be discussed with staff before undertaking, and if appropriate before paying for permission. Permission to copy may be denied due to the size of the map (making it vulnerable to damage) or for copyright reasons.