Reading Room Regulations


1. [Opening hours]

The Reading-Room of the Political Archive is open Monday to Thursday from 8.30 to 16.30 h and on Friday from 8.30 to 15.00 h. It is 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 relevant Archive research officers and assistants.
Reading-Room staff will advise users on finding aids and other such matters.

3. [Ordering archival material]

Users can normally order files at the relevant terminals and collect them from Reading-Room staff.
Wherever possible, new users will have their files delivered on their first day in the Reading-Room.
Other users can normally collect files ordered before 10.00 h from 14.00 h and files ordered before 14.00 h the following morning.
No access will be granted to files that are in poor condition (Section 2 (2) of the Regulations for Users).
In the case of pre-1945 records of German missions abroad (embassies, consulates) which have not yet been fully catalogued, access may be delayed. Before ordering any such files, users are advised first to check whether the relevant files of Foreign Office Headquarters exist, since these are of much greater value in assessing a given development or event. Since decisions are taken only by Headquarters, the process leading up to the decision in question - consultations, for example, between the various divisions of the Foreign Office or between the Foreign Office and other government departments - are documented only in Headquarters files and not the records of German missions abroad.

4. [Restriction in quantity]

Normally users are limited to 20 volumes of files at any one time. No volume 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.
Users who fail to exercise due care will, in the event of any repetition, have their user permits cancelled (Section 5 of the Regulations for Users).

6. [Daily return of archival material]

After use files must not be left on desks but returned every day to Reading-Room staff.

7. [Termination and interruption of work]

 Users are requested to notify Reading-Room staff if they terminate or interrupt their work on a given file.
In the latter case, the file 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 must be returned to storage whether or not users have completed their work.

8. [Reproductions]

Users may have copies made, provided the records in question are in a suitable condition and there are no objections on conservation grounds.
Every user may order copies up to 2000 pages a year. Special permission     is required to have copies made of complete archive units or volumes.
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 if necessary corrected. Copy service providers may refuse to fulfil any incomplete or unclear orders.

9. [Digital cameras]

The use of digital cameras to make copies requires approval by Reading-Room staff; whether approval is given will depend on the type and condition of the records in question and may be subject to restrictions.    
The use of (D)SLR cameras and scanners is not permitted.

10. [Library]

Users may also consult the Reading Room's collection of reference works and other materials, including notably published series of Foreign Office records. These may be consulted on-site only and every care should be taken to replace them correctly as indicated by their shelf mark.

11. [Due consideration]

Users are expected to show due consideration for others and to refrain from loud conversation or the use of dictating machines and typewriters. Eating and drinking is permitted only in the foyer. Smoking is prohibited.

12. [Lockers]

Coats, bags, briefcases etc. may not be brought into the Reading-Room and must be deposited in lockers outside.

Implementing Ordinance No. 1 relating to Section 7 of the Regulations of 5 December 1990 for Users of the Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office

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