Reading Room Regulations


1. Opening hours

The Reading-Room of the Political Archive is open Monday to Thursday from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. and on Fridays from 8.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. It remains closed from mid-December to mid-January and on public Holidays.

2. Seeking advice

Users with inquiries relating to their research or seeking advice on what files might be relevant should address themselves to the Reading-Room staff who will pass on their inquiries to the responsible archivist.

Reading-Room staff will advise users on finding aids and general matters.

3. Ordering archival material

Users can order files online via invenio or at the terminals in the reading room. The files for the first day of the visit must be ordered online before 2.00 p.m. the day before (for Mondays on Friday). During the visit files ordered before 10.00 a.m. will be in the reading room by 2.00 p.m.. Files ordered before 2 p.m. will be in the reading the next morning.

Any file which can be read online via Invenio cannot be consulted in the original form.

Access to files can be denied or delayed if they are in poor condition (Section 2 (2) of Regulations for the Use of the Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office).

4. Restriction in quantity

As a rule users are limited to 20 volumes of files at any one time. No file may be used simultaneously by or passed on to other users.

5. Due care and attention

Files must be treated with all due care. No marks of any kind may be made and no document removed. Users are asked to notify Reading-Room staff if they come across any damaged or loose pages. Special sorting boxes will be provided by the Reading Room staff for the use of files which consist of loose sheets. For bound files support pads and book snakes are availabe to avoid damage to the binding. When using files bound with flexi-tubes the locking rail must be loosened in order to open the file entirely (cf. the instructions on the desks).

Users who fail to exercise due care will, in the event of any repetition, have their user permit cancelled (Section 5 of the Regulations for the Use of the Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office).

6. Daily return of archival material

Files which users wish to read again the following day are stored by the users on the designated file trolleys. After completing the use the files are to be placed on the return trolley.

7. Termination and interruption of work

Users are requested to notify Reading-Room staff if they terminate or interrupt their work.

In the latter case, the files in question may be reserved for them in the Reading-Room for up to 4 weeks, provided this has been explicitly agreed with Reading-Room staff. After 4 weeks, however, files will be returned to storage whether or not users have completed their work.

8. Reproductions

The use of noiseless digital cameras or smartphones for making copies is permitted unless the file is marked with a prohibition notice. Files must be handled with care (cf. section 5 above)

Users may have copies made, provided the files in question are in suitable condition and there are no objections on conservation grounds. Copy services are provided on a commercial basis by private companies; the Federal Foreign Office accepts no responsibility in this connection. Order forms and price lists are available in the Reading Room (see explanatory leaflet “How to Order Copies”).

Order forms and the relevant records should be handed personally to Reading-Room staff at least 30 minutes before closing time so that everything can be checked in the user's presence and corrected if necessary. Copy service providers may refuse to fulfil any incomplete or unclear orders.

9. Library

The reference library in the reading room consists, apart from reference books and series of published diplomatic records, of publications for which records of the Political Archive have been used. The collection may be consulted on-site only; after use books should be placed on the designated trolley.

10. Due consideration

Eating, drinking and loud conversation is not permitted in the reading room. Smoking is prohibited in the Federal Foreign Office building.

11. Lockers

Coats, bags, briefcases etc. may not be brought into the Reading-Room and must be deposited in lockers outside (1€ or 2€ coins required).

As of 20th June, 2022

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