Posted by: bluesyemre | May 30, 2013

The cost of historical research: why archives need to move with the times

Albert Einstein archives

  • As county archives face continued financial pressure on their services, history researchers are facing increasing difficulty in accessing original archival documents. Reduced and often complex opening arrangements, fewer staff and closures over lunch periods makes pre-planning an inevitable part of the archival research process. Archives appear to be using fees to plug gaps in their finances – and these can often be idiosyncratic. Day passes are issued for users to photograph documents to transcribe later from home or university. These can vary in price from £2 at Birmingham to £25 at North Yorkshire County Record OfficeBerkshire Record Office charges £1 per image and for those needing access to long documents, the cost can become prohibitive. This includes me. I am researching 18th-century magistrates’ notebooks, which can run to hundreds of pages of dense text.

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