During your visit

Find out what to expect while you're visiting the Borthwick, our searchroom regulations, how to handle the archives, how to make copies of the documents, and information about refreshments and accessibility.

Handling the archives

Document weights

Archives are unique, and irreplaceable. By following these simple good handling guidelines you will help us to look after them.

  • Please ensure that you have clean hands before you touch the archives. We ask that you do not use hand creams before handling the books and documents, and that your hands are always dried thoroughly after washing.
  • Try not to touch the archives unnecessarily. The less the archives are handled, the less risk there will be of damage.
  • Documents are best consulted flat on the table, where they are most fully supported. Weights are available to hold documents in place.
Book rest
  • Books should be consulted on the book rests provided, where the bindings are most fully supported. Snake weights are also available to keep pages in place while you read, so that you do not need to touch the pages.
  • It is important that you have enough space to work comfortably, so that nothing overhangs the desk and you do not need to stack archives up on top of each other.
  • Please take care not to lean on the archives or rest a notepad on them to take notes.
  • If you are having trouble following a line, please ask a member of staff for a strip of archival paper - please do not use your finger to follow the line.
  • If you encounter any archives that are damaged or fragile, please let us know.

We will be happy to help if you require any advice or assistance, for example opening, separating or weighting out documents, turning a fragile page, or returning archives to their packaging.

Searchroom rules

Everybody who uses the archives is responsible for their care. These guidelines outline some of the ways that we can all help to protect and preserve them better.

  • If a member of staff gives you advice about using the archives, please follow it carefully.
  • All bags and coats must be left on hooks or in lockers in the reception area.
  • We recommend you bring a jumper or cardigan with you, as the temperature in the searchrooms is deliberately on the cool side for the sake of the archives.
  • We do not allow any food or drink to be taken into the searchrooms. This includes bottled water and sweets of any kind. If you need medicated sweets during your visit you are asked to consume them outside of the searchrooms.
  • The only items that can be taken into the searchroom are pencils, paper (up to 20 loose sheets of A4, bound notebooks must be smaller than A4) and laptops (without their cases). All other personal items must be placed in a locker. Staff reserve the right to inspect items you take into or out of the searchroom.
  • If you think you will need to make notes, bring a pencil (the type without an eraser on the end). Pens are not allowed in the searchrooms. In order to protect the archives in our care we also do not allow scissors, blades, adhesives, erasers, correction fluids or liquids to be taken into the searchrooms.
  • You may bring your own camera into the searchroom in line with our self-service photography regulations after purchasing a daily or weekly permit. For copying requirements outside of self-service photography regulations the Borthwick has a copying service.
  • In consideration of other searchroom users we do not allow the use of mobile phones in the reception, searchroom or microform room. You will be asked to store your phone in a locker, unless it is being used as a camera in line with our self-service photography regulations. We ask that you keep your phone on silent if you are using it for this purpose.

Please note that the public areas of the Borthwick are fully monitored by CCTV. Recordings are kept for security purposes.

We recommend that you read our Searchroom Handling Guidelines before you visit us.

If you are ever unsure about anything, please ask our staff for advice – we are always happy to help.

Making your own copies

When you visit the Borthwick you may be able to create copies of microfilmed or original documents, depending on your requirements.

If you are unable to visit us, or you would like us to reproduce documents on your behalf, please see:

Unfortunately, we are no longer able to offer a microfilm print facility. If you have purchased a Cartadis print card from us and would like a refund on existing credit please ask a member of the searchroom team who will be able to assist you.

Digital microfilm readers

Our microform room currently has two digital microfilm readers.

Users can access microfilms via standalone PC’s and specialist software which offer the ability to enhance images of our microfilmed records. Searchroom staff can offer full training for operating the machine and capturing images from microfilm when available.

Check before you visit

Please note that our digital microfilm readers are available on a first come, first served basis and have limited availability. You can book a space in our microform room by contacting us beforehand.

In order to capture scans from microfilm you will need to bring along a USB Memory stick. USB sticks can also be purchased from the searchroom reception desk, subject to availability, for £5.00. Images are supplied for private research purposes only and there is no charge to capture images from microfilm.

Unfortunately, we no longer offer a microfilm print facility at present. We are working to establish an enhanced print solution in the near future. Print copies of entries are obtainable via our reprographics service.

Borthwick staff are on hand to help during the published searchroom opening times.

We recommend visiting us for the first time during searchroom opening hours so the staff can help you to become familiar with the Borthwick and its facilities.

Using your own camera

You can use your camera in the general searchroom to create reference copies of the records you have consulted during your visit. To do so you must agree to our guidelines and purchase a daily or weekly permit from a member of staff.

Please note that this service is only available for certain items and requirements.

Bulk orders or particularly large items (such as whole tithe maps) follow special arrangements - please speak to a member of staff to discuss the options available.

Daily permits cost £10 and a weekly permit £30. Both allow unlimited photographs to be taken.

For details of this service please see the following leaflets:

Photography is permitted in the microform room free of charge and no permit is required. Please speak to a member of staff on the reception desk for more information.

Refreshments

Library Cafe

The campus has a wide variety of places where you can get refreshments or a meal:

Closest to the Borthwick is the Library Cafe.

Please note that for the safety of archives, no food or drink is permitted in the Borthwick's searchrooms.

You are welcome to use the Morrell Lounge on the ground floor near the main Library entrance to eat and drink and use your phone.

Wifi

Need help connecting?

See our IT Services wifi pages for more information

Wifi connectivity is available in our reception, the searchroom, the microform room and exhibition space. Visitors can connect to two networks on campus:

  • eduroam is available for staff, students, and visitors from participating institutions
  • CityConnect is a free wifi maintained by City of York Council and Pinacl Networks ideal for visitors who don't have a University affiliation.