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1. Context of the access policy

The purpose of the North Yorkshire County Record Office (NYCRO) is the acquisition, preservation and provision of public access to archive material for the whole of the county of North Yorkshire. It cares for millions of documents of all shapes, sizes and ages which are housed in one purpose-adapted repository in Northallerton. It serves all those who have an interest in the archives and records of the county of North Yorkshire.

For the purposes of this policy, access is the means by which records are offered for use either directly or indirectly. It includes both physical and intellectual access, on-site and remote.  

Records are defined as manuscripts, typescripts, maps, plans, drawings, photographs, electronic records, sound and video tapes, printed works and any other formats that form an archive, or an integral part of an archive, of an organisation or individual.

2. Aims of the access policy

The aim of this policy is to show how the NYCRO will provide and promote public access. The NYCRO is committed to facilitating access for everyone and subscribes to the principles of the Standard for Access to Archives (National Council on Archives: Public Services Quality Group 2008).

3. Objectives of the access policy

The North Yorkshire County Record Office will:

  • make access a priority when defining future policies;
  • serve all communities as effectively and efficiently as possible by devising a range of services appropriate to the communities stated and implied needs;
  • not discriminate against any user or potential user;
  • establish clear channels of communication to and from its users and stakeholders;
  • identify and engage with stakeholder groups;
  • make full use of ICT as a means of making holdings and services fully accessible;
  • ensure that information about its holdings and services is readily available; and
  • assess all aspects of its access provision against the County Council’s Equalities Frameworks.

4. The access strategy

To meet these objectives the North Yorkshire County Record Office will take action as follows:

Service delivery

  • Ensure that information on the practical arrangements for access to services is made available to users and regularly updated.
  • Create and maintain finding aids to the records in its care and make them readily available for public consultation.
  • Ensure that researchers are accommodated appropriately when they visit the Record Office and that services and buildings are accessible for users with disabilities.
  • Ensure that the opening hours of the service are appropriate to the effective and efficient achievement of its access aims.

Communication

  • Identify and engage with stakeholders across the county.
  • Develop partnerships across the sector and beyond which will enable more information to be made available about archives.
  • Maintain user feed back mechanisms and complaints procedures and clear channels of communication to and from stakeholders.
  • Maintain a marketing plan.

Remote access

  • Ensure that the community benefits from the archives in ways other than direct access by establishing a programme of outreach activities. 
  • Continue to contribute to the national archives network.
  • Make descriptions of its holdings available online.
  • Make full use of the opportunities afforded by digitisation of records.
  • Provide a range of enquiry services for researchers who wish to conduct research by letter, email or telephone.
  • Make appropriate use of social media to widen access.

Staff working with users  

  • Make it clear who is responsible for the service and how they can be contacted. 
  • Ensure that all staff are guided by clear standards of service.
  • Provide appropriate training for staff so that they can deliver a knowledgeable and user friendly service.
  • Encourage a partnership approach in which users are invited to share responsibility for the preservation of archives.
  • Adopt a consultative approach to service development by proactively gathering user feedback and by other means.
  • Ensure that clear, written advice is provided for the public relating to the use of facilities and that staff are available to give practical assistance in handling documents.

Access to records

  • Access to records is provided in surrogate or original format.  Detailed procedures are governed by statutory provision (including the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Copyright Act 1988) as well as the conservation status of materials and the requirements of the owners of documents.
  • Access to some records may be restricted.  For details see NYCRO’s Statement on Access to Restricted Records.
  • The Freedom of Information Act, 2000, permits access to certain pieces of closed information under relevant guidelines. Applications under the Freedom of Information Act, 2000, for information from any restricted records should be submitted via the information governance team sy infogov@northyorks.gov.uk.

5. Review of the access policy

This policy document was issued in 2010, revised in January 2015 and updated in January 2017. It will be reviewed and updated as necessary, and at least every three years.

1. Introduction

This Policy should be read in conjunction with the North Yorkshire County Record Office (NYCRO) Appraisal Policy and Digital Preservation Policy. It replaces the Collections Development Policy (2010) and the Acquisition Policy (2010).

This Policy outlines the general principles on which the Record Office’s acquisition decisions are made and aims to ensure that NYCRO's holdings represent as fully as possible all aspects of local life and the activities of all distinct communities within its collecting area and to ensure that all major social, business, economic, cultural and artistic activities are represented.

These policies taken together aim to establish a planned approach to collections development, to guide internal collections management decisions and to inform stakeholders and users of the collections of the principles guiding their development.

2. Collection profile

NYCRO holds millions of records relating to the history of North Yorkshire including;

  • records from over 300 ecclesiastical parishes;
  • maps from the 16th to the 21st century;
  • Quarter Sessions records from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I;
  • tens of thousands of deeds from the 12th to the 21st century;
  • court records;
  • county, district and parish council records;
  • estate records;
  • business records; and
  • North Riding Register of Deeds.

NYCRO will collect records relating to the following geographical areas: 

  • records relevant to the county of North Yorkshire as created on 1 April 1974 and amended on 1 April 1996 and as may be affected by future boundary changes (including the districts of Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby);
  • records relevant to the whole, or substantial parts, of the pre-1974 historic county of the North Riding of Yorkshire;
  • records relating to elsewhere but which form an integral part of an archive relating primarily or most significantly to North Yorkshire; and
  • records of historical importance which fall outside the terms of the collection policy but which would otherwise be destroyed or lost.

NYCRO will collect:

  • records of the North Riding County Council and North Yorkshire County Council;
  • records of local authorities and superseded local authorities within North Yorkshire;
  • public records for which the NYCRO has been appointed a place of deposit under the Public Records Act 1958;
  • manorial and tithe documents for which the NYCRO has been recognised as a repository;
  • ecclesiastical records in line with agreements with church authorities;
  • record of organisations, businesses, institutions and individuals relevant to any aspect of the history and culture of North Yorkshire; and 
  • surrogate copies of records held elsewhere but which are relevant to the history of North Yorkshire.

The collections are primarily composed of manuscript material in the form of parchment and paper but a range of other formats are also included - typescripts, photographs, newspaper material, sound recordings and digital media. In the case of sound recordings and digital material, the NYCRO maintains a commitment to their long term storage but cannot, at present, guarantee access to obsolete media. Our strategy for dealing with the challenges presented by digital records can be found in our Digital Preservation Policy.

3. Acquisition and appraisal

  • NYCRO accepts records by transfer, purchase, gift, long-term loan or temporary deposit.
  • NYCRO will always aim to identify the most appropriate repository for collections and is mindful of the collecting policies of other local and national organisations. It will consult with these organisations where conflicts of interest may arise.
  • Records are accepted in accordance with the terms specified in our Conditions of Deposit.
  • Records from North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) are transferred in accordance with NYCC’s Records Retention and Disposal Schedule.
  • Records offered for permanent preservation are appraised in accordance with our Appraisal Policy.
  • Records accepted for permanent preservation are recorded and documented in accordance with our Collections Information Policy.

4. Strengths and limitations of the collections

NYCRO was established in 1974 as successor to the North Riding Record Office which was founded in 1949. The core collections – Quarter Sessions records, the North Riding Register of Deeds, estate records, North Riding County Council records - therefore relate to the area of the former North Riding. Other areas of North Yorkshire are less fully represented. Boundary changes and the nature of archives mean that many records for these areas will continue to be held elsewhere. NYCRO will be proactive in ensuring that areas formerly within the East and West Ridings (Selby, Harrogate and Craven districts) are as fully represented as possible in its collections.

The collections are strong in holdings of:

  • estate and family records for the former North Riding;
  • pre-1970 title deeds;
  • pre-1974 county, district and borough council records;
  • Quarter Sessions records;
  • coroner’s records;
  • ecclesiastical parish records;
  • Methodist records;
  • magistrates’ courts records;
  • parish and town council records; and
  • solicitors’ records.

Collections are weaker in the areas of:

  • community history, including clubs, social and voluntary groups; 
  • twentieth century estate and family records;
  • post-1974 district councils and local authorities; 
  • political parties and politicians; 
  • minority groups; 
  • business records; 
  • trade union records;
  • creative arts organisations; and
  • records relating to the areas of North Yorkshire which, prior to 1974, formed parts of the West and East Ridings of Yorkshire.

5. Collections development

NYCRO will develop its collections by:

  • working with communities, individuals and businesses to promote the idea and benefits of depositing archives;  
  • identifying and consulting with under-represented groups to make new contacts and to raise awareness of archives; 
  • maintaining contact with our existing depositors and donors to ensure that our current collections continue to grow; 
  • continuing formal arrangements for deposit of county council archives through the Records Retention and Disposal schedule; 
  • strengthening links with place of deposit contacts to ensure timely transfers of public records;
  • monitoring auction and sale catalogues; and
  • analyzing information about our current holdings and regularly reviewing our Collections Development Plan.

6. Printed collections

NYCRO will continue to acquire printed reference material to support the work of researchers.  Selection of such material will take account of material held by North Yorkshire Library Service.

NYCRO will work with Local Studies to develop a new offer for Archives and Local Studies provision across the county.

7. Facsimile material

NYCRO will acquire, as appropriate, surrogate copies of material held elsewhere but relevant to the history of North Yorkshire. Emphasis will be placed on material relating to the areas of North Yorkshire formerly in the East and West Ridings and to the holdings of community groups.

8. Limitations

NYCRO will not collect:

  • works of art, artefacts or objects;
  • published material, unless it forms an integral part of an archive, is of value as a research aid or contains significant manuscript annotations;
  • films and moving images, which will be sent to the Yorkshire Film Archive where specialist facilities are available; and
  • records on which unreasonable restrictions on public access have been placed.

9. Disposal

NYCRO may dispose of records in the following circumstances:

  • The archivist considers that the records would be more appropriately stored in another repository.
  • The archivist considers that the records should not be permanently preserved in a record repository.
  • The records are readily separable from other archives and records in the NYCRO.
  • The owners of the records agree to the method of disposal.

10. Review

This policy document was issued in April 2017. It will be reviewed and updated as necessary, and at least every five years. 

1. Introduction

North Yorkshire County Record Office (NYCRO) cares for millions of records of all shapes, sizes and ages which are housed in one purpose-adapted repository in Northallerton. It is committed to ensuring that its holdings represent as fully as possible all aspects of local life, all major social, business, economic, cultural and artistic activities. and the activities of all the diverse communities within its collecting area.

It is essential that this growing archive can be maintained in accordance with available resources. It is not possible to retain all records permanently. Appraisal plays a vital role in ensuring that only records which justify permanent preservation are added to NYCRO’s holdings. The unnecessary retention of records may jeopardize the future acquisition of important collections.

Appraisal is the process of assessing whether records justify permanent preservation. It applies to all records irrespective of medium.

This Appraisal Policy should be read in conjunction with NYCRO’s Collections Development Policy.

2. Aims

To ensure that appraisal practice selects records of the highest value in terms of their evidential, administrative or historical importance.

To ensure that appraisal practice supports NYCRO’s commitment to reflect as fully as possible in its holdings all aspects of the life and work of the people of North Yorkshire, past and present, and the strategic objectives and collection themes of its Acquisition and Collections Development Policies.

To ensure that appraisal practice is in-line with current legislation relating to record keeping.

3.Scope

This policy applies to all collections stored and maintained by NYCRO. It applies to collections owned by NYCRO and those on long term loan.

This policy applies to newly deposited material and to the re-appraisal of existing collections.

4. General principles

Appraisal will be carried out with regard to:

  • public records and archive legislation;
  • Freedom of Information Act;
  • financial regulations; and
  • data protection.

Items will be selected for retention under the following criteria:

  • They fall within the remit of NYCRO’s Collections Development Policy.
  • They are unique amongst the holdings of NYCRO.
  • They include information that is not available elsewhere.
  • They are likely to be of administrative importance to the creating body or its successors.
  • They give significant information about the creating organisation or individual.
  • They are deemed to be of possible interest to researchers visiting NYCRO.
  • They give significant information about major local events.
  • They give significant information about local political, social, cultural or economic history.
  • They are of special intrinsic or historical value to the area and its diverse communities.

All routine or duplicate material will be removed from the collections.

5. Procedures for appraisal

Appraisal will be carried out by qualified archive professionals or by para-professionals under their supervision.

Where practicable, an initial appraisal exercise will be carried out prior to collections being deposited. This initial appraisal will aim to identify series of records not worthy of long term preservation and avoid the necessity of removing this material from the archive at a later stage.

Newly deposited material will generally be appraised as part of the cataloguing process. For smaller collections this will usually be on a file by file basis but for larger collections the decision to retain, destroy or sample records will be taken at series level.

Re-appraisal of existing collections will sometimes be necessary and will be carried out on the same basis as above.

Records of the North Yorkshire County Council will be appraised in accordance with the Corporate Records Retention and Disposal Schedule, supplemented by the guidelines within this policy. The Retention Schedule includes provision for transfer to NYCRO of records identified as of long term historical importance.

Appraisal decisions will be documented to leave an audit trail.

Further appraisal guidelines will be developed for particular classes of records in order to assist archive staff with this work. In the case of large classes of records a defined sampling process is one option.

6. Disposal

In the case of loaned material, any records appraised and not selected for permanent preservation, will be offered for return to the depositor before being disposed of.

If appropriate, records may be offered for transfer to a relevant repository.

All unwanted material will be disposed of confidentially.

7. Review

This policy document is issued in April 2017. It will be reviewed and updated as necessary, and at least every three years.

1. Introduction

The function of the North Yorkshire County Record Office (NYCRO) is the acquisition, preservation and provision of public access to archive material for the whole of the county of North Yorkshire.  It cares for millions of documents of all formats and ages, housed in one purpose-adapted repository in Northallerton.

The archives are unique and irreplaceable being the original and only record in existence and their value lies in the retention in the original form. They are primary source material and often have legal evidential standing.

They are appraised, sorted, catalogued and indexed so they can be easily accessed, given conservation treatment where necessary and stored in the best environment for their long term preservation.

2. Terminology

Preservation: The retention and maintenance of material over time 

Collections Care: Range of activities intended to safe guard a collection. These activities can include organisational policies, security, storage, cleaning, maintenance, handling, scientific investigation, environmental monitoring and control, exhibitions and loans, conservation, provision of surrogates and emergency planning

Conservation: Interventive techniques applied to a physical item to achieve chemical and physical stabilisation for the purpose of extending the useful life of item to ensure their continued availability.

3. Statement of responsibility  

The Head of Archives and Records Management and the Conservation and Digitisation Manager are responsible for developing the Collections Care and Conservation Policy and ensuring that it is implemented, monitored and reviewed.

4. Aims

This policy provides a framework for collections care and conservation ensuring the holdings of NYCRO are cared for and managed in a consistent and safe way. This document should be read in conjunction with other NYCRO policies, particularly Security Policy, Collections Management Policy, Access Policy, Digital Preservation Policy and the Emergency Plan. 

5. Overview and conservation principles

A National Preservation Office Preservation Assessment survey was conducted in 2003 providing a base line from which to measure and monitor the needs of the collections. Undertaking biannual Museums and Libraries Association MLA Benchmark for Collections Care self-assessment check list will, alongside the 2003 survey, help inform the preservation and conservation priorities detailed in the 5 year conservation plan. 

The conservation department consists of one full time conservator responsible for both conservation and digitisation. Volunteers work under the supervision of the conservator assisting with basic surface cleaning and repackaging of documents.

NYCRO stores archival material, whatever its nature or format, in secure and suitable accommodation with appropriate environmental conditions which are monitored daily.

NYCRO follows relevant national standards and best practice, and a professional code of ethics, in all aspects of collections care and conservation

NYCRO adopts a risk management approach to collections care and conservation, with an on-going programme of condition surveys and assessment followed by appropriate remedial action.

NYCRO carries out remedial conservation work, using appropriate techniques to stabilise and slow down further deterioration with the minimum of intervention.

NYCRO provides access to archives, while ensuring their protection and minimising the risk from handling.

NYCRO cares for our born-digital collections in accordance with our Digital Preservation Policy.

6. Storage: security and environment

NYCRO recognises that of all potential risks to the long term preservation of physical records, inappropriate storage is the most significant.

NYCRO’s archives are stored in secure, fire protected repositories as detailed in our Security Policy.

NYCRO aims to provide environmentally controlled conditions designed to maintain humidity and temperature levels consistent with the long-term preservation of archival materials. Conditions conform to PD 5454:2012 Recommendations for the storage and exhibition of archival documents and are monitored over 24 hrs. using data-loggers. This data is analysed on a monthly basis and remedial action is taken as necessary. 

NYCRO recognises the importance of a safe clean environment in the strongrooms and the value of good housekeeping in collections care. All strongrooms are cleaned regularly on a cyclical rota. 

A pest management program is in place and monitoring via sticky insect traps occurs on a monthly basis. If and when a problem is discovered, the affected area is monitored to ensure the source of the problem is identified.  Rodent control is managed by an external provider. 

North Yorkshire County Council Property Service deals with the maintenance of the building and any capital projects.  Routine testing and servicing of the fire detection, alarm systems and air handling units is scheduled throughout the year and carried out by expert external providers.

7. Packaging and storage 

Archive material is stored in archival quality boxes or other appropriate archival packaging. First stage packaging consists of acid free files, envelopes and wrapping papers used along with polyester and Tyveck sleeves. A legacy of unsatisfactory packaging requires upgrading to meet current standards

All new accessions are examined for overall condition and the presence of any pests. Appropriate preventative conservation treatment including cleaning is provided. Contaminated archive material which has the potential to harm or infect other collections is placed in isolation and assessed by the conservator who determines the appropriate treatment. 

Archives are stored in the strongrooms according to their physical nature and condition on shelves in map cabinets, plan chests and boxes as appropriate to their format

8. Access and handling 

NYCRO aims to provide access directly or indirectly, both physical and intellectual access on site and remotely in accordance with the Access Policy

Documents are consulted by readers under controlled conditions in accordance with nationally recognised and agreed standards and the NYCRO Searchroom Rules.  

Clear, written advice is provided for researchers: Guidance for users on handling of documents [see appendix] Searchroom staff are available to give practical assistance when handling historic documents, awkward or outsize items. Appropriate aids such as book cradles, protective polyester sheets and weights, are provided and correct use of these demonstrated. Users may be required to wear gloves when handling certain items.

Staff and volunteers receive appropriate training in handling archival material and manual handling as part of their induction program. Refresher sessions are offered to existing staff. Passive Conservation Guidelines are available for staff and volunteers to consult. 

Original records which are un-catalogued severely damaged or at risk from further handling may require special provision to provide access. 

Information is made available in accordance with the principles of the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection and any stipulation of the depositor. 

NYCRO holds a large collection of microfilm. A regular programme of copying is maintained so that surrogate copies can be made available where desirable or necessary. Researchers are encouraged to use surrogate copies to minimise handling and reduce the risk of further damage to the originals. 

Wherever possible detailed finding aids are made available to direct users to the material they wish to see, and so reduce the need for handling of the original records.

NYCRO recognises the value of using digital technology to increase access to the archives and safeguard the collections. Self-copying of material from collections in good condition by users is permitted under supervision in the searchroom. A photocopying, scanning and reprographic service is in place for items in good condition and will be carried out by specialist archive staff.

9. Exhibition

NYCRO currently holds four exhibitions a year in the main exhibition case. Archivists assisted by the conservator select archival material suitable for display; those chosen are prepared and mounted appropriately.

No documents are placed on permanent display. Original photographic material  is not displayed but replaced by surrogate copies

The main display case is secure and glazed with anti-bandit glazing in accordance with BS EN 356:2000 Glass in building. Security glazing. Testing and classification of resistance against manual attack

Environmental conditions are monitored regularly and remedial action taken as necessary. 

Exhibited items are recorded detailing specific exposure calculated in Lux hours

Individuals and institutions borrowing original material are required to comply with the terms and conditions specified in our Conditions for Loan.

10. Conservation

NYCRO will develop and maintain a methodology for reviewing the physical state of archives in its care, assessing all risks to a collection and putting measure in place to control them.

Remedial conservation is essential for the long-term survival and accessibility of the archive collections Remedial conservation is carried out by a trained and qualified archive conservator. It is undertaken in accordance with health and safety requirements and appropriate risk assessments and following nationally recognised ethical and technical standards. BS 4971:2002 Repair and Allied Processes for the Conservation of Documents Recommendations. The Institute of Conservations Professional  Standards.

The archive conservator carries out condition surveys to inform the direction of conservation work. By identifying archives likely to deteriorate because of chemical or mechanical damage we can determine future conservation priorities.

Conservation work is prioritised according to anticipated level of use, type and amount of damage and historical importance of an item/collection.

Conservation work relates specifically to the needs and future storage of the item and a minimal intervention policy will be adopted. Interventive conservation will seek to stabilise and halt further deterioration of or damage to an item, whilst ensuring that the maximum degree of evidential value is recovered.  

A record of the materials and methods used is maintained including photographic documentation where appropriate and made available where required. 

NYCRO use the CALM archive management system to record information about the physical condition of the archives and are working towards recording their conservation requirements and treatments there also.

Conservators are expected to continually review their conservation practice in the light of on-going research and development in the field, and to interpret the conservation policy according to professional standards, current thinking and practice.

11. Disaster planning

NYCRO maintains a Disaster Plan which is regularly updated. This ensures the protection of the buildings, archive collections and the staff as well as the most appropriate response to recover the archive holdings and make provision for business continuity in the event of an emergency. This plan has provision for staff training and testing.

The Record Office has appointed specialist contractors, Harwell Drying Restoration - Priority User Service which in the event of a disaster will provide recovery and emergency salvage services.

NYCRO houses disaster and recovery equipment in several locations throughout the building and items are listed in the disaster plan. NYCRO is a  member of the Rapid Response Network, set up in the county of Yorkshire to ensure availability of equipment and cooperative help for small/medium events and houses one of the six available disaster recovery kits in one central location. All equipment is audited and PAT tested annually.

12. Finances

A budget is allocated for the purchasing of conservation and preservation materials and equipment. The Conservation and Digitisation manager is responsible for ensuring that the funding is directed to areas of greatest need and is spent appropriately.

Particularly large or badly damaged collections are treated as individually managed projects with procurement of additional resources as appropriate.

13. Legislation and standards

  • British Standards Institution: PD5454:2012. Recommendations for the storage and exhibition of archival documents
  • BS 4971:2002 Repair and allied processes for the conservation of documents.  

Recommendations

1. Introduction

The purpose of the North Yorkshire County Record Office (NYCRO) is the acquisition, preservation and provision of public access to archive material for the whole of the county of North Yorkshire. It cares for millions of documents of all shapes, sizes and ages which are housed in one purpose-adapted repository in Northallerton. It serves all those who have an interest in the archives and records of the county of North Yorkshire.

Records are defined as manuscripts, typescripts, maps, plans, drawings, photographs, electronic records, sound and video tapes, printed works and any other formats that form an archive, or an integral part of an archive, of an organisation or individual.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all records, analogue and digital, held by the North Yorkshire County Record Office. It covers all information written or gathered about collections during the accessioning and cataloguing processes or subsequently.

3. Aims

NYCRO recognises that recording and maintaining accurate documentation relating to its holdings is fundamental to collections management. This policy aims to provide a framework to ensure that information is gathered and recorded in a structured way following professional best practice and is transmitted to our stakeholders by a variety of methods, including through online finding aids.

This policy defines the information that NYCRO will record and provide about the collections in its care. It outlines the history of collections information and cataloguing within the service and explains the cataloguing and professional standards used. It recognises that there is a backlog of uncatalogued and partially catalogued collections, which are a significant barrier to access, and that reducing this backlog will be a service priority. Specific steps to be taken to reduce the backlog are set out in the Collections Information Plan.

4. Collections information

Information is captured at various stages during the processing of a collection from its deposit through to cataloguing and subsequently. This policy covers information gathered at every stage including:

  • point of deposit;
  • appraisal and disposal;
  • accessioning;
  • cataloguing;
  • location and movement control;
  • demand and usage; and
  • preservation and conservation activities.

The information is maintained in a variety of places and formats including:

  • deposit receipts;
  • paper and electronic accession register;
  • CALM collections management software;
  • manual finding aids;
  • manual document request slips and electronic document request register;
  • depositors correspondence files;
  • manual withdrawal slips; and
  • manual register of disposal decisions.

5. Accessioning

An accession register exists from the time of the appointment of the first County Archivist in 1949. The first manuscript register was maintained until 1978. It was followed by a typescript register and subsequently a computerised register.

In 2005 entries from all the previous accession registers were recorded in the CALM collections management system. New material was accessioned using CALM and this remains the current system. 

Information recorded includes: date of deposit, name and contact details of depositor, accession number and summary description, approximate creation dates of deposit, accession category, any known copyright or access restrictions, any known administrative and custodial history. From 2016, the extent of the deposit is consistently recorded.

The accession registers are not made available for public searching, either in person or online.

Formal conditions for long-term loan were adopted in 1988. A formal receipt, requiring the counter signature of the depositor or his/her representative, is issued for every donation, loan or transfer. Depositors are supplied with a copy of NYCRO’s Conditions of Deposit.

NYCRO seeks to retain ongoing contact with depositors and actively works to retain contact with depositors of the most significant collections.  

NYCRO participates in The National Archives’ annual Accessions to Repositories survey to enable up to date information to appear nationally. New accessions are publicised via NYCRO’s newsletter and a full list of recent acquisitions is available on request.

6. Cataloguing and accruals

All new cataloguing conforms to the principles and mandatory elements of the General International Standard of Archival Description [ISAD(G)] and is incorporated into the CALM database as soon as possible, guided by NYCRO’s in-house cataloguing manual.

Older catalogues were based on an in-house standard template and broadly conform to ISAD(G). Work to revise and upgrade these catalogues will be undertaken as resources permit.

Smaller deposits are catalogued on accession but, in common with many record offices, NYCRO has a growing accumulation of larger deposits which it has not had the resources to catalogue. It will continue to explore opportunities for external funding to reduce key areas of the backlog and will prioritise collections in accordance with The Great Escape audit report (2005), anticipated demand, potential usage, physical condition, size, complexity and availability of funding. Volunteer input will be sought, where appropriate, to help with cataloguing and listing under the guidance of professional staff.  

New catalogues are made available in hard copy and in NYCRO’s online catalogue. Collection level descriptions of the majority of NYCRO’s holdings have been available in its online catalogue since 2006 and work is ongoing to add item level descriptions through the retro-conversion of existing paper catalogues. Specific steps to achieve this are set out in the Collections Information Plan.

Accruals are separately accessioned, catalogued and integrated into the existing catalogue structure, both in manual lists and in CALM.

7. Conservation

A record of all interventive conservation treatments is entered into CALM and, where possible, linked with the item level catalogue description. Where no item level description exists, a conservation record is created from scratch. The condition before treatment is recorded along with details of treatments undertaken.

8. Restrictions and closure periods

Records held by NYCRO may be subject to certain access restrictions or closure periods. These may be determined by data protection legislation, guidance from The National Archives and the Information Commissioner’s Office or imposed by the depositor. The County Council’s Information Governance Team also offers advice. Further guidance can be found in NYCRO’s Statement on Access to Restricted Records.

Users are made aware of restrictions through the online and hard copy catalogues. Staff follow set procedures when advising users of the steps necessary to gain access to particular classes of restricted records.

NYCRO encourages depositors not to impose undue restrictions on access to collections.

9. Location, movement control and loans

NYCRO aims to maintain up to date information on the location of collections in its care. A tripartite requisition slip records details of documents removed from their usual storage location. Once documents are returned to store, slips are matched up and details recorded electronically.

Manual forms are used to record items that have been temporarily withdrawn. Forms are countersigned by the person making the withdrawal or their authorised agent. The forms are filed and later marked to indicate the return of the item. From 2016, this information has also been recorded on a withdrawals’ spreadsheet. A tally slip is inserted in the box in place of the withdrawn document.

Information about mislaid items and long term withdrawals is noted in the hard copy catalogues and online.

10. Disposals and withdrawals

NYCRO reserves the right to review the archives in its custody and to recommend their transfer or disposal in accordance with its Acquisition and Collections policy and its Appraisal policy.

Permission to destroy any material not appraised as being worthy of permanent preservation is captured at the point of deposit. This permission is reconfirmed prior to disposal. A register of disposal decisions is maintained.

Owners of records are free to withdraw material in accordance with NYCRO's Conditions of Deposit.

11. Review

This policy document was issued in April 2017. It will be reviewed and updated as necessary, and at least every three years.

1. Mission Statement

North Yorkshire County Record Office (NYCRO) provides record keeping services for North Yorkshire County Council and its communities. It collects, preserves and makes accessible historic and current records of significance for the study of North Yorkshire and its people and holds them in trust for the use of present and future generations.

2. Aims

The aim of this policy is to show how NYCRO collects, preserves, manages, promotes and makes accessible the records in its care. It identifies the overall legal and statutory framework within which the service operates and shows how the policies it has adopted interrelate to form a co-ordinated approach to collections management.

3. Legal and statutory status

NYCRO is not a statutory service but is the authorised archive service for the custody of the official records of North Yorkshire County Council and its predecessor authorities. It exercises its powers under:

  • The Local Government (Records) Act 1962, as amended 1985. This empowers a local authority to ‘…..do all such things as appear to it necessary or expedient for enabling adequate use to be made of records under its control’. It allows for inspection and copying of records, preparation of indexes and guides, publication and exhibition. It permits the authority to acquire records of local significance in addition to their own administrative records.
  • The Local Government Act 1972 (s.224). This Act requires local authorities to ‘make proper arrangements with respect to any documents that belong to or are in the custody of the council of any of their officers’. The guidance includes sections on the management of a local authority’s administrative records, whether kept on paper or in electronic form, and proper arrangements for those records which have enduring historical value and which should be kept by an established archive service.

NYCRO has been appointed by the Lord Chancellor as a place of deposit for local public records under the Public Records Act 1958, amended 1967.

NYCRO has been designated by the Master of the Rolls as a repository approved for the custody of manorial records under the Law of Property Act (1922) and the Law of Property (amendment) Act (1924), and for the deposit of tithe documents under the Tithes (Copies of Instruments of Apportionment) Rules (1960, 1963).

NYCRO has been designated as a diocesan record office for the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds and for the Diocese of York in accordance with the Parochial Registers Registers and Records Measure, 1978, amended by the Church of  England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure,1992.

4. Management of the collections

North Yorkshire’s archive collections are managed in accordance with its approved polices as part of North Yorkshire County Council’s Library, Customer and Community Services.

Management of the collections is underpinned by the following standards: 

  • PD5454:2012 Guide for the Storage and Exhibition of Archival Materials 
  • PAS 198:2012 Specification for Managing Environmental Conditions for Cultural Collections 
  • PAS 197:2009 Code of Practice for Cultural Collections Management 
  • BS4971:2002 Repair and Allied Processes for the Conservation of Documents
  • The General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD(G)
  • The National Council on Archives PSQG Standard for Access to Archives 2008
  • International Council on Archives Code of Ethics 

NYCRO collects and acquires archive material of historical significance for the study of North Yorkshire and its people in accordance with its Acquisition and Collections Policy. NYCRO’s Collections Development Plan aims to ensure that areas of weakness in its holdings are addressed and that its collections continue to reflect the activities of the community it serves.

NYCRO preserves and cares for the records in its collections in accordance with its Collections Care and Conservation Policy. Storage is in environmentally controlled, secure strongrooms and use of the collections is fully supervised. Conservation work is carried out by a professionally qualified conservator under whose direction all staff share a responsibility for the preservation of the collections.

NYCRO records, lists, catalogues and provides information about its collections in accordance with its Collections Information Policy. Cataloguing is undertaken by qualified, professional staff under the direction of the Head of Archives and in accordance with international standards.

NYCRO provides and promotes public access to its collections in accordance with its Access Policy and North Yorkshire County Council’s Equality and Diversity Policy and with regard to the Data Protection Act (1998), the Freedom of Information Act (2000), the Environmental Information Regulations (2004) and relevant copyright legislation. It aims to meet the Standard for Access to Archives (2008) and is a member of the County Archive Research Network (CARN) nationally recognised reader’s ticket scheme which supports the security of collections in local authority record offices.

5. Staff, volunteers and training

NYCRO provides an adequate level of appropriately skilled and trained staff to ensure the correct management and preservation of its collections. Staff are recruited in accordance with North Yorkshire County Council’s Recruitment and Selection Policy and managed in accordance with North Yorkshire County Council’s suite of management policies,

NYCRO manages the health and safety of all staff and volunteers working with its collections in accordance with North Yorkshire County Council’s Health and Safety Policy and aims to provide a safe environment for all users of the Record Office building.

NYCRO provides development and training opportunities for all staff in accordance with North Yorkshire County Council’s Training, learning and development policy and procedure. Professional staff are encouraged to continue to develop their professional knowledge and skills and are expected to subscribe to the Archives and Records Association or Institute of Conservation code of conduct as appropriate.

NYCRO recruits and manages volunteers in accordance with its Volunteer Policy and procedures. All volunteers receive appropriate induction, training and ongoing supervision and understand the value and significance of the collections with which they are working.

6. Review

This policy document was issued in April 2017. It will be reviewed and updated as necessary, and at least every three years.

Introduction

The function of the North Yorkshire County Record Office (NYCRO) is the acquisition, preservation and provision of public access to archive material for the whole of the county of North Yorkshire. It cares for millions of documents of all shapes, sizes and ages which are housed in one purpose-adapted repository in Northallerton.

The NYCRO is committed to encouraging and developing volunteer involvement in its work where appropriate. It recognises that volunteers can make an important contribution to achieving its aims and objectives, complementing the work of paid members of staff. Volunteering has also been shown to benefit the volunteers themselves by developing skills and confidence.

For the purposes of this policy, a volunteer is defined as an individual who provides a service of their own free will, under the supervision of paid staff and without monetary remuneration, in order to assist in the achievement of NYCRO’s organisational objectives.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the North Yorkshire County Council Equal Opportunities Policy. 

Scope

This policy relates to all volunteers working at the NYCRO or under the supervision of NYCRO staff.

Aims

  • To clarify the role of volunteers, their rights and responsibilities, and to establish clear principles for their involvement with the NYCRO.
  • To confirm NYCRO’s commitment to involving volunteers with its work.
  • To address the relationship between volunteers and paid members of staff.
  • To establish a framework for the recruitment and support of volunteers.
  • To acknowledge the contribution made by volunteers to the work of the NYCRO.

Principles of good practice

  • Volunteer work will complement, not replace, the work of paid members of staff.
  • Volunteer work will be of sufficient scope and duration to justify the use of paid staff time and resources in training and supervision.
  • Tasks to be undertaken by volunteers will be clearly defined so that volunteers and paid staff are sure of their respective roles and responsibilities.

Recruitment

  • Information about volunteer work will be made widely available, including information about volunteer projects, necessary skills and time commitment.
  • Every effort will be made to match a volunteer’s knowledge and skills to the projects available.
  • Potential volunteers will be required to complete an application form and to attend a preliminary interview before any volunteer work can commence.
  • NYCRO reserves the right not to accept a volunteer or to terminate an arrangement if it is considered necessary.
  • The NYCC Equal Opportunities Policy will be adhered to when recruiting and selecting volunteers.

Support for volunteers

  • An induction to the Record Office and appropriate training will be provided for each volunteer.
  • All volunteers will have access to a named member of Record Office staff who will provide appropriate support and supervision.
  • Regular review sessions will be held with each volunteer to resolve any problems and to assess progress.

Rights and responsibilities

NYCRO recognises the rights of volunteers to:

  • have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and to receive any necessary training;
  • have specified lines of supervision and support;
  • gain enjoyment and satisfaction from the work they do;
  • be given clear information about the Record Office, including its health and safety procedures;
  • work in safe working conditions;
  • raise any problems or grievances and have them properly considered;
  • ask for a reference; and 
  • withdraw from volunteer working.

NYCRO expects that volunteers will:

  • comply with existing policies and procedures and work within agreed guidelines and remits;
  • carry out voluntary work to the best of their ability;
  • behave in a safe, responsible and professional manner whilst working as a volunteer;
  • work at times agreed with NYCRO and give notice of any variations;
  • respect the confidentiality of sensitive information about NYCRO’s business or within the records held by NYCRO;
  • attend training and support sessions as agreed; and
  • give NYCRO reasonable notice if withdrawing from voluntary work.

Relationship with paid staff

  • A good working relationship will be encouraged between paid staff and volunteers and steps will be taken to ensure that both are clear about their respective roles and contributions.
  • The roles of volunteers and paid staff will be complementary and mutually supportive.
  • Volunteers should be aware that paid staff have many duties and might not always be able to give volunteers immediate attention.
  • In the event of industrial action, volunteers may continue with their regular work provided supervision is available, but will not be asked to carry out the work of paid staff.

Review

This Policy document was issued in January 2007 and was reviewed and updated in 2010 and 2015. It will be reviewed and updated as necessary, and at least every three years.
 

Introduction

Most records at North Yorkshire County Record Office are in traditional paper and parchment format with some photographic and recorded sound material. There are relatively few electronic records within our holdings but recent years have seen a sharp rise in the amount of information created electronically (born digital) and the requirement to add these formats to the archive will increase.  

Digital copies of hard copy originals are also being created in-house by NYCRO to improve access to records and to help with preservation. In the longer term, the electronic copies held by the Record Office are at risk of loss due to the obsolescence of computer hardware and software and the inherent instability of storage media. There is uncertainty about responsibility for electronic preservation, the methods of maintaining electronic material, and the potential costs involved.  

New skills will be needed in collection management, storage and access arrangements for electronic material. Electronic records require active preservation to ensure their longevity. This may require intervention to migrate records to newer technologies. The technology that serves to process electronic records will change over time. This policy will seek to minimise the risks associated with any technological changes and ensure that the records remain intact. This policy also addresses non-technological changes. For example, electronic records should always have an associated context and remain comprehensible as and when organisational structure changes.

Aims

This policy sets out principles for the acquisition of electronic records and for their long term preservation. This includes information from within existing collections that is digitised as well as the acquisition of electronic materials from elsewhere.

Audience

NYCRO recognises that digital preservation is a shared responsibility requiring collaboration with information governance managers, ICT professionals, and other NYCC staff in those service areas which are implementing or using North Yorkshire County Council’s corporate EDRMS. Public and private organisations depositing records, as well as private individuals and community groups, also need to be aware of responsibilities for preservation and access of electronic records.

Examples of electronic records

The National Archives guidance states that electronic records can be broadly divided into two categories. There are passive files which do not contain embedded logic, for example Microsoft Word files without macros, ASCII text files and plain HTML files. In contrast to these are dynamic files which contain some form of embedded logic in order to run. These include Microsoft Word files with macros, web pages with Flash or embedded links and most spreadsheets. These two types of files have different preservation issues. Passive ones can be reformatted and viewed with no loss of content or format information. Over time, it should be possible to translate them to a newer format and retain the look and feel of the original. However, dynamic files will need additional software or the use of emulation to create the look and feel of the original if they are to be useable in the future.

Sources of digital materials

Electronic records can be created in a variety of formats from a range of sources including:

  • internally from NYCC as databases, spreadsheets and electronic methods of managing information;
  • e-accessions from external depositors such as electronic photographs or image files; and
  • electronic copies of documents, photographs or maps created in house and stored for preservation or access purposes.

Selection, appraisal and formats

The selection and appraisal of electronic records will follow guidelines set out in NYCRO’s Acquisition & Collections policy and Appraisal policy. Unlike traditional materials, the format in which electronic data is stored may affect decisions regarding selection. Immediate and permanent access issues need to be considered in relation to file formats. The level of resources for ongoing preservation should be understood and formats that may require costly interventions like migration or emulation should be avoided if possible.

To ensure continued accessibility files must be in either open source format or widely used formats supported by North Yorkshire County Council. Microsoft Word and Excel formats are recommended as these are standard formats used by the Council and resources for preservation are expected to remain available. PDF files are also widely used by the Council and considered acceptable for preservation. Image files should be in TIFF and JPEG open formats. Sound files are considered on a case by case basis.  

NYCRO is not yet in a position to preserve email in boxes, websites or complex dynamic files.

NYCRO will seek to work with depositors and potential depositors to encourage good practice in the creation and care of digital records. Current guidance for depositors can be found in our Guidelines for deposit of digital archives.

Accessioning and metadata

Accessions of electronic records require additional information about the record, known as metadata. Specific metadata is acquired at the accessioning stage as it may be impossible to collect later. The basic level of metadata needed must include:

  • the version of software used to create the record, for example Excel 2003;
  • the operating system, for example Windows XP;
  • the file size and format;
  • passwords needed to access the record;
  • a description of the record, including record titles, subjects, dates of creation and authors names;
  • the intellectual property rights status of the record; and
  • whether the information is available elsewhere, such as on a website.

For digital surrogates it is important to think about the following metadata:

  • what digitisation equipment was used, for example make and model of scanner;
  • who digitised the record;
  • when it was digitised;
  • at what resolution was the record digitised; and
  • the condition of the original record.

Preservation

NYCC seeks to preserve electronic records during any change in organisational infrastructure so that records still satisfy the requirements of this policy. Preservation needs must be satisfied when there are changes in:

  • the technology that processes the electronic records and the way they are processed throughout their existence; 
  • organisational structures and how these are interpreted and give the records their context;
  • the definition of terms used in the metadata and within the records themselves; and
  • the classification of the electronic records including how the records are grouped and described (records should be presented in a way consistent with the original understanding of the subject when the record was created).

NYCRO has a special interest in long-term preservation. Unlike traditional formats, electronic information is at particular risk of degradation or complete loss within a matter of years of its creation.  

CD-R and DVD- R/DVD+R have life expectancies of five to ten years and will be checked regularly for outward signs of deterioration. The data upon the disks will also be checked for signs of corruption and alterations or deletions, whether accidental or malicious.

Born digital and electronic copies of records will be appraised at least every five years to check for inaccessibility due to software or hardware obsolescence. To avoid inaccessibility there is a choice between ‘migration’ and ‘emulation’. Migration is the process of moving records from one hardware or software generation to the next. Emulation is the process of overcoming technological obsolescence of hardware and software by developing techniques for imitating obsolete systems on future generations of computers. 

NYCRO will pursue a policy of sparing migration, transferring records to the latest formats when the appraisal process shows obsolescence to be imminent. It is recognized that as the facilities for accessioning and preserving dynamic files improve, a mixture of migration and emulation may prove the best long term strategy.

Storage and retrieval

Storage strategies for electronic records involve using multiple copies in different formats to manage the risk of software and hardware obsolescence.

Digital archives will initially be kept in the file format in which they were deposited. A ‘read only’ copy will be created in a format suitable for long term preservation, for example copying a Word file to a PDF format. An access copy will be created in any suitable format

Digital archives will be stored within NYCC’s ICT infrastructure on a server which is backed up nightly to Digital Linear Tape (DLT).

The corporate EDRMS in use at NYCC offers conversion and storage of NYCC files for long term preservation in PDF/A format, a specific archival format. NYCRO will investigate the feasibility of using this system for long term storage of externally deposited files.

Access and use

Data held by NYCRO is subject to Data Protection and Freedom of Information legislation, and the Copyright Act 1998. Access is governed by NYCRO’s Access Policy and NYCC’s Document and Records Management Policy. 

Digital material is made available for public access via network PCs in the search room or from CD and DVD copies.

Staff training

Record Office staff members will be supported in continuing professional development in electronic records management and preservation. 

Standards and codes of practice

ISO 14721:2003: Open Archival Information System (OAIS)
ISO 15836:2003: Information and Documentation – The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set
ISO 20652:2006: Producer-Archive Interface Methodology Abstract Standard (PAIMAS)
BS 5454:2000: Recommendations for the Storage and Exhibition of Archival Documents 

Review

This policy was issued in June 2010 and reviewed in July 2016. It will be updated as necessary and at least every three years.

North Yorkshire County Council will accept for deposit in the record office documents which it considers worthy of permanent preservation and which conform to its acquisition policy.

1. Definitions

In these terms of agreement the word "council" shall mean North Yorkshire County Council or any successor authority authorised to keep and preserve records. "Record office" shall mean the professional archive service for the county of North Yorkshire. "Depositor" shall mean the person who places records on deposit or his or her lawful successor in title.

2. Statutory powers

The record office operates under the terms of the following legislation:

  • The Local Government (Records) Act 1962
  • The Local Government Act 1972
  • The Public Records Act 1958
  • The Law of Property Act 1922
  • The Tithe Act 1936
  • The Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978, as amended 1992
  • The Data Protection Act 1998
  • The Freedom of Information Act 2000

Nothing in these conditions of deposit shall override the detailed stipulations of these acts.

3. Forms of transfer

Records may be acquired by transfer, purchase, gift, long-term loan or temporary deposit.

4. Gifts and purchases

Records purchased or received as the result of a gift or bequest shall become the property of the council to be preserved by the record office.

5. Deposits

Records deposited on indefinite loan shall be subject to the following terms:

  • Ownership of the records concerned is not affected.
  • Records may be withdrawn by the depositor in accordance with the terms specified in (12) below.
  • Any changes in the name or address of the owner or depositor of the records shall be notified to the record office. The record office will not accept responsibility for any consequences which may arise from the failure to notify such changes.
  • The record office reserves the right to return to the depositor any records which do not conform to its acquisition policy or which it does not consider worth preserving permanently. Such records may also be transferred to a more appropriate place of deposit or destroyed. In the case of transfer or destruction the record office will make reasonable enquiries to obtain the consent of the depositor before such action is taken.

6. Preservation and storage

  • Records deposited by individuals or organisations will be kept in appropriate archival conditions which comply as far as possible with PD 5454 (2012): guide for the storage and exhibition of archival materials.
  • All reasonable precautions will be taken to preserve the records from damage, loss and theft but the record office can accept no liability for any loss, damage or theft, howsoever arising, suffered by documents while in its custody.

7. Conservation

The record office shall have the right, at its discretion, to take any of the following measures in respect of the deposited records:

  • To microfilm, photograph or otherwise copy them. Ownership of and copyright in such copies to vest in North Yorkshire County Council.
  • To number or mark them in a non-permanent manner with a catalogue reference for their identification and security.
  • To undertake such conservation work as is deemed desirable or necessary.

8. Access

Access to records is provided in surrogate or original format. Records will be made available to the public in the supervised search room during the advertised opening hours of the record office in accordance with the record office access policy, search room rules and the principles and conditions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Original records which are uncatalogued, severely damaged or at risk from further handling may require special provision to provide access. Information from them is made available in accordance with the principles of the Freedom of Information Act.

9. Listing

Records will be listed in accordance with the record office's current practice. A copy of the list will be provided free of charge to the depositor. Copyright in all such lists and finding aids shall vest in the council.

10. Reproduction and copyright

With regard to the provisions of the copyright acts currently in force, copies of records may be supplied to members of the public, upon payment of the appropriate fee, for use in private study.

The record office may, at its discretion and with regard to the copyright acts, allow the publication of deposited records in whole or in part, including exposure through the media, on condition that appropriate acknowledgement is made by the publisher to the record office. If it is apparent that such publication would affect the interests of the depositor, the depositor will be consulted before publication is allowed.

11. Exhibition

The record office shall have the discretion to exhibit any records upon being satisfied that proper provision will be made for their security.

12. Withdrawals

A depositor may temporarily withdraw all or part of his or her records upon giving reasonable notice and permanently withdraw them upon giving not less than six months notice. Any person withdrawing deposited records must prove their entitlement to receive the records to the satisfaction of the record office.

During the period of notice the record office will be entitled to copy the records by any appropriate method. The copy will remain the property of the record office after removal of the records and the record office will continue to make the copy available for study, subject to the conditions in (8) and (10) above. Publication of such material will only be allowed with the consent of the former depositor.

Where collections are permanently withdrawn the record office reserves the right to make a charge to cover the costs of any cataloguing or conservation work carried out on the documents.

13. Review of the conditions of deposit

This policy was issued in September 2005 and reviewed and updated in January 2015. It will be reviewed and updated as necessary.

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