Table of Contents

ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia

Regulations for Work of Users in Reading Rooms of the State Archives of the Russian Federation

"Pravila raboty pol'zovatelei v chital'nykh zalakh gosudarstvennykh arkhivov Rossiiskoi Federatsii": Prikaz Rosarkhiva, no. 51 (6 July 1998), Registered with the Ministry of Justice RF, 16 December 1998, no. 1660; published in Rossiiskaia gazeta, no. 247 (29 December 1998), p. 6, and in Otechestvennye arkhivy, 1999, no. 3, pp.3-4.

General Provisions |Instructions for Admittance of Users to Archival Reading Rooms |Rights, Duties, and Responsibilities of Users |Instructions for Delivery of Files, Documents, Microforms, Published Material, and Provision of Reference Facilities |Copying and Issuance of Copies of Archival Documents Ordered by Users Top

1. General Provisions

  1. The current Regulations have been formulated in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the "Basic Legislation of the Russian Federation on the Archival Fond of the the Russian Federation and Archives" of 7 July 1993 (no. 5341-1), the federal law "On Information, Informatization, and the Protection of Information" of 20 February 1995 (no. 24-FZ), and the "Regulation on the Archival Fond of the Russian Federation" and "Regulation on State Archival Service of Russia," confirmed by the decree of the President of the Russian Federation of 17 March 1994 (no. 552).

  2. The Regulations establish rules for users' work with open (i.e. declassified) documents in reading rooms (viewing rooms, rooms for listening to sound documents, etc.) [hereafter: reading rooms] of the state archives and centers for the preservation of documents of the Russian Federation [hereafter: archive, archives].

  3. The working rules, obligations of archival employees for service to users in the reading rooms, and their responsibilities are determined by laws and regulations of the Russian Federation, and by the legal regulations of the Federal Archival Service of Russia.

  4. All users have equal rights of access to documents in archives.

  5. Fees are not charged for using reading rooms and documents.

  6. Paid services are offered to users by archives according to established rates.

  7. On the basis of the present Regulations each archive should produce a document setting forth the rules for the use of archival materials in their reading rooms, taking into consideration the specific character of their content and the particularities of the operation of their archives. The aformentioned documents must not contradict the present Regulations.

  8. The working routine of reading rooms is to be established by the administration of individual archives.



2. Instructions for Admittance of Users to Archival Reading Rooms

  1. Users are admitted to reading rooms on the basis of a personal letter of application. Users conducting research in accordance with official workplans of scholarly institutions or fulfilling institutional work orders should supply appropriate letters from their sponsoring organizations.

  2. Personal applications or letters should include the family name, first name, and patronymic of the user, position, scholarly rank, and highest educational degree, and the topic and chronological dates of their research.

  3. Permission for work in the reading room is given by the archival administration for the period necessary for the user, usually one year from the date of authorization. Questions of needed extension should be resolved with the archival administration or reading room staff.

  4. All users should familiarize themselves with the present Regulations and fill out a standard application form.

  5. Reading room passes are issued upon the presentation of anofficial identification document by users.



3. Rights, Duties, and Responsibilities of Users

  1. Archival reference materials (opisi, catalogues, surveys), files and documents, including positive copies of motion pictures, photographic documents (in the form of positive prints or control copies on cards of archival photograph catalogues), and sound documents related to the user's research topic, as well as technical equipment for work with microform copies, audiovisual and machine-readable documents should be available for users.

  2. Users working in reading rooms of archives have a right:

    1. To receive information about the working arrangements of reading rooms, services performed by archives through reading rooms, and the rules and conditions of availability of these services.

    2. To receive consultations with archival specialists about the composition and content of documents relating to their subject of research, and about reference materials available in the archives.

    3. To receive information, including in written form, about the reason for refusal (delay) to issue files (documents), existing restrictions on delivery and copying of documents related to their research topic, and about the length of time during which such restrictions will apply.

    4. To appeal the refusal for delivery of archival documents or reference materials on their research topic in accordance with current laws and regulations.
      In order to settle contested questions users may appeal to the administration of the archive, to agencies regulating archival services for regional subjects of the Russian Federation, to the Federal Archival Service of Russia (Rosarkhiv), and to judicial institutions of the Russian Federation, according to established procedures.

    5. To use published and manuscript materials from the holdings of scientific reference libraries and reference-information facilities.

    6. To order or prepare themselves copies of archival documents on the subject of their research, take notes from files, documents, and archival reference materials charged out to them.

    7. Within technical possibilities, and with the special permission of the archival administration, to use personal technical equipment (personal computers, tape recorders, dictaphones) or to rent archival technical equipment in the archive. The use of technical equipment is permitted if it does not interfere with the work of other users. [Use of technical equipment containing scanning devices (except in cases described in the paragraph 5.8 of the current Regulations) is not permitted.]

    8. To bring into the reading room, by agreement with the head of the reading room (staff person), typed or printed texts and page proofs of scholarly work. A special pass should be issued for such materials.
      Handwritten materials belonging to users can be taken in and out without a pass.

  3. Users may be accompanied by interpreters and assistants.

  4. Users are obliged to:

    1. Observe the present "Regulations for Work in Reading Rooms of Archives of the Russian Federation."

    2. Sign in the reading room register of researchers on each visit.

    3. Fill in the sheets of usage (listy ispol'zovaniia) within all perused files, indicating the date of use, last name and initials (legibly), nature of work performed on the file (perusal of documents, taking notes, etc.).

    4. After finishing work on every visit, return any opisi, files (storage units), and published editions to the reading room staff person.

    5. Observe technical requirements for using equipment and film during work with microforms or documents on special or electronic media.

    6. Observe the reading room working routine, and keep quiet and order during working hours.

    7. Furnish the required reference to the source for any archival information received that may be cited or published, i.e. indicate the name of the archive containing the documents and their reference data (fond, opis', file [or storage unit], and folio numbers), in accordance with the Law of the Russian Federation "On Information, Informatization and the Protection of Information" (ch.12, sec.2).

  5. Users should present to the archive a bibliographic reference or a copy of any publication prepared on the basis of documents in the archive.

  6. Questions raised about the theft or damage of archival documents by users shall be settled according to the current laws and regulations.

  7. Users who committed acts that cause material loss to an archive bear responsibility according to procedures established by current laws and regulations.



4. Instructions for Delivery of Files, Documents, Microforms, Published Material, and Provision of Reference Facilities

  1. Files and other materials are delivered to users on the basis of completed order forms.

    Files and other materials are issued to the user with the user's signature on the order form for every unit of the material issued. [The present rule also applies for issuing and use of the material from archival reference libraries.]

  2. 5 opisi, 10-20 files, or 10-20 units of film documents and sound documents with recorded time of no more then 3 hours, may be issued at one time. The administration of archives may establish other norms for charging out files and documents, considering the specific content of documents.

  3. Time limits for delivery of opisi, files, documents and other materials are established by the administration of archives, but should not exceed 3 working days from the day they are ordered. Reference works and other printed editions, and copies of opisi that are kept in the reading room, are available to users on the day of order.

  4. Opisi and other archival reference aids can be issued for up to 5 days; unbound and especially valuable documents, for up to 5 days; unique documents, with the permission of the archival administration, for one day; file units, microforms, and printed editions, for one month.

  5. Extension of the time limit for keeping and using opisi, files, documents, and other materials in reading rooms should be arranged with the staff of reading rooms (except in the case of unique documents). Extension of the time limit for using unique and especially valuable documents is to be determined by the archival administration, with a new order form to be filled out as necessary. Time limits for a repeated delivery are to be established by the archival administration.

  6. When [microform] copies for use (fondy pol'zovaniia) are available, original documents are not usually issued to the reading room.
    Original documents may be issued to users in exceptional cases, with the permission of the archival administration, in consideration of specific circumstances (for instance, the necessity to examine the particularities of a document's external appearance, malfunctioning technical equipment for work with microforms, poor quality of copies, a user's medical condition preventing work with microforms, or other circumstances).

  7. Film, photographic, and sound documents are issued to users only in the form of copies.

  8. In order to ensure the continuing preservation of archival documents, it is not permitted:

    1. To enter the reading room in overcoats, or to bring in briefcases, sport and utility bags (size more than 200x300 millimeters), plastic sacks, and umbrellas.
      Smoking, or the consumption of food and drink is permitted only in specially designated areas.

    2. To take files out of the reading room, to transfer files to a third person, to leave open files unprotected from sun and electric light for an extended period of time, to write or trace with a sheet of paper placed on top of documents, to bend corners of folios, to copy documents using tracing paper, to place files within alien objects, to move folios within unbound files or from one file into another.

    3. While working with archival documents, to use glue, scotch-tape, markers, white-out for typewriters, carbon paper, ink pens, or scissors and other cutting instruments.

  9. It is prohibited to enter changes in the text of documents, or to make notes, corrections, and underlining on documents or file folders.

  10. Upon receiving opisi, files and other materials, users should verify their condition and state of preservation in the presence of reading room staff.
    If a user finds any damage or defects in files, documents, and microforms, a missing folio within a file, or incorrect foliation, he should inform the reading room staff.

  11. Delivery of files and documents may be refused or delayed in the case of:
    - their poor physical condition;
    - restrictions on the use of documents, established in accordance with laws and regulations of the Russian Federation or by the creator of the fond (record group) upon transfer of the documents to the archive for permanent preservation;
    - necessity for the archival staff to work with the documents (reference work, thematic processing of fonds, preparation of informational reports to official inquiries by state agencies, preparation of documentary publications, preparation of preservation copies or copies for use, conducting inspection, apparaisal, or inventorying of documents, restoration work or copying of the documents, declassification processing, etc.);
    - loan of files and documents for temporary use by other institutions;
    - display of the materials ordered on exhibition;
    - their issuance to another user.
    Files (records or documents) that have not been technically processed (arranged and described in opisi) are not issued to the reading room.



5. Copying and Issuance of Copies of Archival Documents Ordered by Users

  1. Xerox copies, microform copies, photographic prints, and positive copies of film and photographic documents can be made upon the request of users, subject to the technical possibilities of archives and the physical condition of the documents. The quality of copies prepared is ensured by the archives.

  2. Orders for copying should be formulated by users on special order forms and transmitted to the reading room staff. Precise archival indentification [fond, opis', file unit, folios, etc.] should be indicated in the request.
    When a large number of copies is requested, the archival administration may require that an attached summary list of documents to be copied be appended to the order form.

  3. Copying of documents from the "Non-State Part" of the Archival Fond of the Russian Federation, as well as of documents from personal fonds, is conducted according to the terms established by the creators of the fonds [i.e. creating agencies of records or papers] or their legal successors (heirs), who transferred the documents for permanent or depository retention in the archive.
    In the absence of copying restrictions established on transfer of the records, they may be copied according to regular procedures.

  4. Copying of documents that are subject to copyright (avtorskoe pravo), including documents of a creative nature and audiovisual documents, is performed in accordance with the law of the Russian Federation "On Copyright and Related Rights".

  5. The volume, time limit, and types of copies that can be prepared are regulated by the administration of the archive, in accordance with technical possibilities and the physical condition of the documents.

  6. The copying of a complete fond or collection in its entirety can be done only with the permission of the archival administration. Orders for copying documents are not accepted, if the copying could cause physical damage to the documents, or if the documents are in poor physical condition.
    Requests for copying unique documents, and documents from files requiring opening the binding or restoration, must be approved by the archival administration in each specific instance.

  7. The copying of unpublished opisi, catalogues, card files, databases, and other archival reference materials in their entirety on the request of users is not permitted. The permissible volume of copying should be decided with the archival administration in each specific instance.

  8. In exceptional cases, with the absence of technical possibilities in the archive, copying with the use of technical equipment belonging to users may be allowed.
    Copying with the user's technical equipment, including scanners, photographic and video-cameras, etc., can be done only with the permission of the archival administration within their buildings and under supervision of the reading room staff.
    Archives are not responsible for the quality of copies of documents made with technical equipment belonging to users.

  9. Upon approval of the archival administration users may be permitted on their own (independently) to copy pictorial and graphic materials, maps, plans, and technical drawings or to invite a specialist to do so (a draftsman, photographer, artist). In such cases, the copying must be performed within the building of the archive and under staff supervision in observation of rules for ensuring the safety of the documents.

  10. Copies of documents are issued to users or their authorized representatives upon their signature, or they may be sent to an indicated address.

  11. Copies of partially declassified documents, prepared by archives upon request of users, with the exclusion from the text of the classified parts, are issued according to general procedures.

  12. A special pass, signed by a responsible official, should be issued authorizing the removal of copies from the territory of the archive.