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The Thomas H Manning Polar Archives and SPRI Picture Library Access Policy

The Thomas H Manning Polar Archives and SPRI Picture Library Access Policy


The Archive and Picture Library are committed to providing access to our collections. We aim to balance this requirement with the collections conservation needs and work within the relevant legislative restrictions.


The continued care of the collections is our first priority, for this reason access may be in the form of surrogates including photocopies, microfilm and digital images.

Many of the Picture Library's most iconic photographs are available to view online through both the Picture Library catalogue and the Freeze Frame web site.

Copyright and Data Protection legislation affects most of our collections.

The South Georgia Archive is a designated Public Record and so subject to Crown Copyright.

Some items within the collections have additional restrictions placed upon them under the terms with which they were deposited; this is particularly true of items on loan. Archive and Picture Library staff will advise on access options in these instances.


Our aim is to provide detailed catalogues for the items in our collection. The catalogues clearly state if an item is open for research.

The Archive and Picture Library Reading Room:

Archive and Picture Library collections and the Institute's 2D unframed art collection are made available for research access in the designated Archive and Picture Library reading room.

Disabled Access:

Is possible through the provision of ramps and lifts both within and without the Institute.

On-Site Access Policy:

Access is by appointment only.

The Archive and Picture Library is open to anyone over the age of 18 who wishes to carry out research using our collections. Anyone under 18 should contact Archive or Picture Library staff directly to discuss access provision.

Archive Appointments:

Appointment times may be restricted owing to prior bookings, special events, public and University holidays or the availability of staff for supervision.

Opening times for 2021 are 10am to 4pm pm Monday to Friday (breaking between 1pm to 2pm for lunch when the reading room will be closed)

The Archive operates an online booking system:

For those without internet access appointments can be made by telephone or letter.

Appointments are available on a rolling cycle. Appointments are for a half day and multiple reservations can be made subject to a limit of 5 days in any 20 day period. Researchers requesting additional time are placed on a waiting list and a desk allocated to them if it is free.

SPRI Staff, students and volunteers reserve desks directly with the Archive staff. Academics granted visiting scholar status to the Institute are also able to reserve desks in this way.

If a researcher cannot keep an appointment, they should contact staff so that the desk may be reallocated. Should an appointment of more than one day not be kept, and no notice received, a booking may be cancelled in entirety and the time allocated to other readers.

Picture Library Appointments:

The Picture Library is open to visitors by appointment for anyone with a specific interest in the photographic collection. Researchers should contact the Picture Library Manager directly to arrange a suitable date.

Archive and Picture Library Access Rules:

The Archive and Picture Library reading room is under constant supervision during opening hours.

Our collections are made available to readers in accordance with the following regulations, based on those issued by The National Archives. Infringement of these conditions may result in the withdrawal of the privilege of access:

  • Researchers must sign in at the Institute's main reception where they will be issued with a visitor's badge which should be worn for the duration of their time in the building.
  • In all cases, readers will be required to produce proof of their identity before being given access to our unique collections.
  • Some of our collections may be closed or require additional permissions before access can be granted. For this reason, Archive and Picture Library staff ask for information on the proposed research topic so that they may guide researchers appropriately.
  • No material may be taken out of the Archive and Picture Library reading room under any circumstances.
  • Any coats, bags, umbrellas, personal music players or similar items must be placed in the lockers provided.
  • Food and drink (including chewing gum and sweets) must not be brought into the Archive and Picture Library reading room.
  • Mobile telephones should be on silent if brought into the Archive and Picture Library reading room.
  • The Institute reserves the rights at any time to impose specific restrictions on the use of, or prohibit access to, any material.
  • The Institute reserves the right to impose search fees for providing access to certain materials (such as those requiring excessive staff time to make them available).
  • A copy of the reading room regulations is available on the Institute's website, in the Archive and Picture Library reading room and can be provided upon request.

Ordering Items from the Collections:

  • Catalogues, finding aids and details of recent acquisitions are available from the Archive and Picture Library staff; wherever possible, electronic copies of finding aids will be made available for public consultation.
  • Various item request forms are provided; full details from the catalogue should be entered for each item requested.
  • The Item Request Form record a researcher's signature acknowledging agreement to the access policy, document care rules and the conditions for publishing material.
  • Items must be kept in order and returned to the Archive and Picture Library staff before 4 pm on the day of issue, or after use if this is earlier.
  • Where a microfilm or microfiche or other copy of a document exists, that copy will normally be produced in preference to the original.
  • Photographic material is usually issued to readers one box or one photograph album at a time.

Archive and Picture Library Care Rules:

  • Our archive and photographic collections are irreplaceable thus special care is needed when working with then to ensure their continued preservation.
  • Researchers will be held liable for items issued to them and for their safe return.
  • Many items have extremely sensitive surfaces which can be irreversibly damaged by finger prints, staff will provide transparent film when necessary. Some items will be issued in transparent envelopes and should not be removed from them. Art works, photographs and negatives are particularly vulnerable and their surfaces must not be touched.
  • Gloves will be provided by staff for handling certain items and must be worn on request.
  • Damaged, defective or misplaced items must be reported immediately to the Archive or Picture Library staff.
  • Researchers may only use pencil in the Archive and Picture Library reading room.
  • Tracing from documents is prohibited without prior permission from the Archive staff.
  • Researchers should keep their desk as clear as possible, they may bring notepads / pencils / computer / tablets into the Archive and Picture Library reading room (researchers must ensure any cables are kept away from the collections), recording devices and other equipment are not allowed.
  • Researchers must not lean on the archives, photographs or art work when making notes.
  • Researchers should ensure that their hands are clean and dry, they should not use hand cream or lick fingers before handling the collections. Hands should be washed after breaks for tea / coffee / lunch.
  • Archive and Picture Library staff can supply acid free paper to assist with reading across unlined pages.
  • When viewing bound material it is important to protect the binding from stress by using the book rests provided.
  • Researchers should only use the weighted 'snakes' provided to keep pages open.
  • Researchers should close volumes when not in use. Archive and Picture Library staff can supply book marks if required.
  • Researchers should ensure they keep any loose papers or photographs in the order they were issued in.

Remote Access Policy:

The Institute recognises that not all researchers are able to visit in person.

Archive and Picture Library staff aim to respond to enquiries regarding the collections by telephone, e-mail or letter within ten working days.


Archive and Picture Library staff can only carry out extended research in exceptional circumstances. An hourly charge is made for this service.

A large number of the photographs in the collection have been digitised and are available to view via the SPRI website:

A selection of Picture Library prints can be purchased online via the SPRI prints website:

Copying Items in the Collections - Archives:

Copy orders: We can supply scans or photocopies of unbound documents up to A3 in size. Larger documents and bound volumes will be scanned or photographed as appropriate.

Copying of material in the collections will be carried out by members of Archive and Picture Library staff or by external contractors if required.

An item is deemed suitable for copying if:

  • It is in good condition and in a format suitable for copying
  • It has no copying restriction placed on it by the depositor
  • It does not contain sensitive personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998

On site copying: Archive visitors may make copies of items in the archive collection (subject to depositor agreement / conservation considerations) for private / non-commercial research subject to completion of a copyright form.

Items up to A3 can be copied with 5% of diaries / journals / accounts / unpublished narratives included in this. Camera / phones must be silent, no flash and SLRs, tripods and 'mini-pods' or other equipment are not permitted.

There is a £5.00 per day charge for a photography permit.

Copying Items in the Collections – Picture Library:

Please contact the Picture Library Manager for details.

Private and Non-commercial Research:

UK Copyright law applies to the copying of any document or work in the Institute's collections. We can provide copies of items in copyright without the permission of the copyright owner only if they are for non-commercial research / private study.

  • Researchers will need to complete a copyright declaration form agreeing to this and pay a fee to defer copying costs before any copies are despatched.
  • The Institute will consider requests to provide copies of documents for lodgement in other repositories for research use.

Publication and Commercial Use:

Those wishing to reproduce items from the collections should contact the Archive and Picture Library staff in the first instance to discuss the options.

If copyright is owned outside the Institute, it will be necessary for the reader to seek permission to reproduce the material. We do not seek permission on behalf of readers but can forward requests if we are aware of the copyright holder. Once we have written evidence that copyright has been cleared we will supply the copies.

If copyright is owned by the Institute permission to publish material must be obtained from us in writing prior to any form of publication. The Institute's terms and conditions for the use of any material are made available with every request to reproduce an image from the collection. They also accompany our licence/agreement document which must be signed by both parties before any image is released.

Reproduction rights fees will be charged for any image reproduced in any form of publication, film or display whether in print or electronic format. Charges will take into account copying and supply costs, reproduction rights fees, despatch and taxes where applicable.

Images will only be released once copyright is cleared, licence documentation is signed and fees are paid in full.

Access to The Library Special Collections:

Visitors wishing to use the Library are advised to contact the Library staff to confirm a visit.

Published material in the Special Collection is subject to the same regulations as the Archives. In addition:

  1. All printed material must be handled with great care, and must not be marked in any way.
  2. Only 2B pencil may be used. No tracings or rubbings may be made without specific permission.
  3. No books, papers or other objects (except book-weights) may be laid on the material.
  4. Bound volumes must be consulted on the book-rests.
  5. Gloves will be provided for handling certain items and must be worn on request.
  6. Readers will be assigned a desk from which the requested material may not be removed. Library staff will replace items in the locked cases after use.

No material may be removed from the Library and Archives, except for the purposes of exhibition, and then only under the supervision of the Librarian or Archivist. The Librarian or Archivist and Director of the Institute must be satisfied that the material will be exhibited under secure and environmentally suitable conditions, and that the material is insured whilst in transit and on exhibition. A separate loans policy statement is available on request.

Infringement of these conditions may result in the withdrawal of the privilege of access.