I can't address practices at private institutions, but for the National
Archives, unless there are donor restrictions on the content, or a
researcher has had privileges revoked due to non-compliance with research
room rules, we cannot deny researchers access to content.
As a practical matter, we usually cannot undertake extensive research into
our holdings on behalf of an off-site researcher. The yardstick appears to
be that we limit such requests to an hour or two of staff time. At the end
of such searches, we try to make clear that resources prevented us from
doing an exhaustive search and we invite the researcher to come in to
undertake research in person, or hire someone to do so on their behalf.
Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
National Archives and Records Administration
On Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 5:21 PM, Mason Vander Lugt <[log in to unmask]>
> Hi ARSC, I've got a few questions for folks working in archives that serve
> the public - First, under what circumstances will you deny a research /
> listening request? Close a collection to research altogether? Second, is it
> an unwritten rule that staff are expected not to perform research, or
> submit research or listening requests (non-curatorial staff, on personal
> time)? Third, is there an appeal process when a researcher believes a
> request is being unnecessarily or unfairly denied? Is social pressure ever
> justified or effective?
> Sorry if this sounds paranoid, but I ask because I've been denied some
> relatively small requests at 2 of 2 archives I've worked for, for various
> reasons, and 0 of several/many I haven't. It may be coincidence, or there
> may be some logic or tradition there I don't understand, but it is
> frustrating and I'm hoping for some insight from people who have been on
> either side of this situation. Feel free to respond off-list if you prefer.