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Special Collections Policies

Access | Collections care | Collection development | Collections information | Copyright | Data protection | Freedom of informationVolunteers


Special Collections of course follows UK law, best professional practice and relevant standards in all our activities.  This page brings together our formal policies. If you would like to know more, please contact the Special Collections Librarian.  University of Bradford staff and students may also find main Library Regulations and Policies useful.


Special Collections are open to, and intended for, anyone who might benefit from using them. However, space and staffing constraints mean that appointments are required. Access is subject to preservation requirements and must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Access Policy, Special Collections, University of Bradford Feb 2014 (docx, 90kb)

Access Policy, Special Collections, University of Bradford Feb 2014 (pdf, 173kb)

Collections care

Keeping collections safe for users now and in future is at the heart of our work.  Here are our policies on collections care, conservation and emergency planning.

Collections Care Policy for Special Collections (412 kb, pdf)

Collections Care Policy for Special Collections (167 kb, docx)

Collection development

Our collection development policy outlines how we intend to collect new archives and books in support of our mission.  The "Guide to donating" is a summary of the full policy, written to help potential donors of collections.

Collection Development Policy, Special Collections, June 2013 (docx, 105 KB)

Collection Development Policy, Special Collections, June 2013 (pdf, 256 KB)

Guide to donating archives and books to Special Collections (docx, 122 KB)

Collections information

Our users need catalogues and other information in order to discover and use the collections.  Here are our policies on what is catalogued, how we catalogue it, and which parts of our backlog we are tackling next.

Collections Info Policy, Special Collections, University of Bradford (docx, 90kb)

Collections Info Policy, Special Collections, University of Bradford (pdf,153kb) 


Copyright law is a complex and ever-changing subject. See Special Collections and copyright law and the Library's guidelines on copyright for guidance.

Data protection

Access to archive material containing personal data is restricted under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). Such records are closed assuming a lifespan of 100 years for the individuals whose personal data we hold, following accepted archival practice. The DPA includes several exemptions which allow further processing of personal data providing certain conditions are met by the researcher. In particular, the research exemptions in section 33 allow for processing for statistical or historical purposes. You can apply for access to restricted material using this form, which also explains the Act and the conditions of the exemption in detail.

Application for access to closed sensitive and confidential data (pdf, 69 KB)

In addition to material held in archives, Special Collections holds data relating to enquirers, archive donors, and copyright holders. Our management of this data complies with the requirements of the Act.

University of Bradford's data protection pages.

Note the forthcoming Data Protection Bill, which will bring legislation into the digital age. We will be adapting our policies and processes as guidance becomes available from The National Archives and other sector bodies.

Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 granted rights of access to information held by public bodies. There are some important exemptions relevant to archives, in particular the rights of data subjects under the DPA (section 40).

University of Bradford's freedom of information pages.


Special Collections policy on the use of volunteers (pdf, 87 KB).  As our spaces and staff capacity for managing volunteers are very limited, we focus on providing opportunities for University of Bradford students to gain skills,  e.g. in our Putting Flesh on the Bones Project.  More on volunteers in our Access policy.