Property archives may be open for the public for research purpose but there are a number of things that you should know before visiting these places. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts while visiting a public records office or any property archives.
Security check in: Not everyone is allowed to visit a public records office, in fact some places allow only people who have a valid government issued Id to avail registration and get a research card. This can be anything from your driver’s license to passports issued by recognized government’s. The registration is essential for security purposes and accesses to government records, which are open for public research purposes.
Use of camera’s, cellphones and other devices: The guidelines issued for use of cameras in an archives offices will again differ for different counties and district offices and the researcher is responsible for compliances as per the state guidelines. Cellphones are generally permitted on silent or vibrate mode only, so as to not disturb fellow researchers. Use of laptops or other devices will again depend on the type of research and guidelines issued by the archives.
Copies and reproductions: Since the information stored in public archives are as the name suggests, for public research purpose, copies can be made for a price which is decided by the archive. The cost might be a nominal per page copy charge, which is to be paid later. For example archives may charge a mere twenty or thirty cents for making any copies from books, microfilms, other relevant documents which are needed for your research purposes. Photocopies and any other reproductions apart for the above mentioned are generally governed by the copyright laws of the county for any reserved or copyrighted material or resources.
Publishing archived material: There is a difference between making copies of information and making copies for the purpose of publishing. Most archives request researcher to send a letter of intent to publish archives material on the internet or through any other medium for that matter. Permission has to be obtained prior to any publication.
Registration: As mentioned earlier, registration is open for people from a certain age group who want to access public records for research purposes. The particulars of said registration will again depend on parameters like validity of the registration, eligibility criteria and more. This will also differ from county to county and public records offices. These particulars can be obtained from the official websites of these offices.