Policies and guidance
The following policy documentation supports the Library Development Plan and Collections Management Policy and provides an overview of the basic principles and procedures governing the management of Special Collections within Liverpool Hope University.
Karen Backhouse, Special Collections Librarian
The Sheppard-Worlock Library
Liverpool Hope University
0151 291 2027
Wordpress: Realms of Gold: Archives & Special Collections at Liverpool Hope University
Reading Room regulations
If you wish to use the Reading Room, whether to consult the special collections or just to use as a quiet study space you will be required to sign-in and follow the Reading Room Regulations. They are important in safeguarding the collections and preserving them for future generations, as stipulated in the A&SC Collection Care & Conservation Policy.
Good handling techniques
The main cause of damage to library special collections is sustained through poor handling. Damage is often cumulative and not immediately apparent. A culture of good handling will ensure continued access to collections and help preserve them. All users have a responsibility for the care of the collections.
A&SC offers training on handling the collections, using the book supports and snake weights provided. This aids the prevention of unnecessary deterioration of the books and also enables users to feel confident in using the collections.
The following guides are designed to help you:
Not everything is accessible, why is this?
Fragile or damaged items
A&SC aims to enable the widest possible use of its collections by students, staff and visiting researchers and provide reasonable access within a framework of regulations designed to preserve rare, valuable and fragile materials. Material deemed too fragile to handle may be withdrawn from use or may only be available at the discretion of the Special Collections Librarian. A surrogate in the form of a digital reproduction may be provided, but this will depend upon whether the digitisation process might cause further harm to the material.
Collections on loan
When collections are 'on loan', rather than gifted to A&SC, the depositor may have imposed additional access and copyright restrictions. The Special Collections Librarian will inform users if this is the case.
Uncatalogued archives are not available until they have been assessed and special collections considered to be high risk are automatically restricted. Individual items may be restricted once they've been appraised following a users request for access.
Personal data in archives
Archives often contain sensitive material or personal data, and as such, is subject to:
- Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003. The restrictions related to special collections and archives are governed by this government legislation.
- Data Protection Act 2018. Access to archive records containing personal data is restricted under the Data Protection Act 2018, taking effect of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
A&SC follows The National Archives guidance on archiving personal data with particular reference to closure periods. Some material may not be available at all. Other material will be available in part, or subject to certain restrictions.
Personal information restricted under the Data Protection Act 2018 is clearly indicated on the catalogue record, or on the accompanying . It will be necessary to provide proof of ‘next of kin’ or a family connection to access this information.
Your responsibility as a researcher
As a researcher, you are responsible for any personal data concerning living individuals (the "data subject/s"), that you take from Special Collections (including any notes, digital images or photocopies). You become a "data controller" of the personal data held about the individual/s.
As a data controller you have certain responsibilities:
• You must not cause substantial damage or distress to data subjects
• You must not use data to support measures or decisions concerning individuals
• You must anonymise identities whenever possible when note-taking, in results of research and statistics
• You must respect the confidentiality of any documents and information not connected with your research but which you have seen in the course of it.
In deciding whether it is appropriate to use or publish personal information consider:
• Is the person alive?
• Is the information already published or in the public domain?
• Is the individual a public figure?
• Does the information belong to a sensitive category of information as defined by the Data Protection Act?
• Could the context of the information disclose data about an individual by default?
You can find out more about GDPR and the Data Protection Act on the Information Commissioner's website.
Reusing our material
Copying and personal photography
Digitisation, photography, and photocopying is possible as long as it:
• does not harm the item
• does not break copyright law
• is used for personal research and study only
• complies with relevant legislation, such as data protection.
Please be aware that the physical condition or size of an item may also prohibit photocopying. Early printed books and manuscripts are not permitted to be photocopied; however, they may be photographed without the use of flash. Always ask the Special Collections Librarian for permission in advance of taking any photographs.
We allow students and visitors to bring their own digital cameras or smartphones but you will be required to record details of what you photograph and how many you take. This is to monitor use of the collections and to gather statistical evidence for potential future digitisation projects. Liverpool Hope staff and students will be required to complete a Use of Digital Photography for LHU staff and students form, and visitors; a Use of Digital Photography form. The declaration confirms that you comply with statutory legislation and the photographs are for your own personal research, not for reproduction. There is no charge for personal digital photography.
Watch our video on Photography and Digital Reproduction.
Image licensing and reproduction for publication
To reproduce an image for publication, either for personal or commercial purposes, requires written consent from the rights holder. You will be required to complete a Licensing Request formwith details of the requested image and publication details. There may be a charge imposed. For further information please email email@example.com.
A&SC offers a reprographics or copying service for readers and remote users by digital scanning or digital photography, subject to copyright law, data protection, business sensitivity, and preservation restrictions. There is a fee to cover the cost for providing this service, further details can be found in the Reprographics Services Request form.
Donations and deposits
Donations and deposits form an important role in the acquisition of archives and special collections and can range in scale from one or two books donated by a visitor to entire libraries or collections. A&SC will take account of the collecting policies of other institutions acquiring the same or related subject areas and will consult with such organisations where conflicts of interest may arise to avoid unnecessary duplication and a waste of resources. Other practical considerations must also be considered. Donations will not be accepted if:
- there are signs of mould and/or pest infestations
- they are of a particularly specialist nature, requiring skills or equipment beyond our available resources to preserve, exploit or interpret e.g. video or audio cassettes that need technology, now obsolete, to access
- they comprise wholly or largely of photocopies or facsimiles of original material except in exceptional circumstances e.g. if the original has been destroyed and no other version exists. This is to ensure compliance with UK Copyright Law
- they are PhD theses without a signed consent form from the author
- if suitable space is not available.
Small donations will be assessed by the Director of Library Services, the Special Collections Librarian and/or the appropriate Subject Librarian(s). Academic staff with appropriate subject knowledge may also be consulted.
Large scale donations would be referred by the Director of Library Services to University Senior Managers and, normally, a visit would be arranged by library staff to assess the collection together with appropriate academic staff with subject expertise. A recommendation would then be made to the Senior Executive Team as to the value of the collection and its relevance to Hope’s research interests.
A formal agreement indicating whether the materials are a gift or on loan to the university must be signed by the donor before a collection is accepted. The terms of the agreement can be reviewed by the donor and adjustments made subject to the approval of the Director of Library Services and the Head of Legal Services, Governance and Risk. More information is available in the A&SC Collection Development and Management Policy.
Not sure where to find a book in Special Collections? Check the SWL Special Collections Map.