Manuscript Repositories - Keepers of Our Documents
Manuscript repositories are also called archives or special collections libraries. They house sets of documents donated by others. An archives has specially trained staff members who know how to care for and allow access to sets of documents of this nature. The facilities of an archives are usually equipped to give the best possible treatment to these documents. This includes stable temperatures and relative humidity, protection from bright lights, moisture, insects and pests, and, too many untrained hands handling the documents.
A given collection of documents donated to archives is called a deposit. These deposits give historians a special glimpse into the lives of our ancestors. These do so in a way that general history does not allow. This is because these documents can show the daily life of one or more persons. Each person, in his or her own way, contributes to the society as a whole.
Examples of the types of documents that archivists and future researchers would be interested in include:
family group sheets
obituaries, funeral/burial records
certificates of birth, marriage, divorce, death
films/videos/audio tapes (labeled)
records of activities for:
When a person donates a set of documents to an archive, the archives receives full ownership of the documents. They are generally not "on loan" to the archives by the original owner. The owner has given up ownership of the documents.
Access to documents
Archives usually have a written policy that governs, in general, how all donated materials are granted access to the general public. As a rule, a special request must be made by persons to be granted the right to review a given set of documents.
Instead of deciding not to include certain sensitive documents with the donated set of documents, discuss them with the archivist. It can usually be arranged that these sensitive documents not be allowed to be viewed by others until a future date as specified by you.