The registration form we ask all of our readers to sign on their first visit includes a Data Protection declaration. Readers sign the declaration to assure us they will not use personal data unfairly.
Data Protection is a law which prevents people from sharing personal data, for example people’s dates of birth or their addresses, if that information is not already published. It only relates to people who are still alive but many of our papers are modern enough to contain such information.
So why is Data Protection so important when using archives?
- If the information in a file is particularly sensitive, we mark the file ‘closed’ or ‘restricted’ and don’t allow access to it until the person whose information it contains is dead.
- When you write an essay or tell people about what you have found in archives, you should think about whether you are sharing information which you should be treating as confidential – remember the agreement you signed and if in doubt, ask the archivist.