State Archives  > Hours, Directions & Fees > Search Room Rules
Search Room Rules
  1. All visitors, before entering the Search Room, must complete a Registration Form and produce identification bearing a current address. The Form then becomes the Archives permanent record on each patron and need not be completed with each successive visit.
  2. All coats, hats, handbags, purses, bags or other personal belongings, such as fanny bags, are prohibited in the Search Room and Microfilm Room. Coat racks and lockers are provided in the lobby for this purpose. The State Archives is not responsible for lost or missing personal belongings. (A lock and Key will be given to Search Room Patrons to Secure Belongings in a Locker.)
  3. Each patron is permitted to bring only one notebook or folder on notes into the Search Room. When using original manuscripts, all notebooks, folders and personal reference materials must be deposited with the Search Room attendant, who can supply researchers with lined paper, note cards and pencils. All patrons will have their research notes inspected by an Archives staff member prior to leaving the Search Room.
  4. Under no circumstances are original manuscripts or microfilm to be removed from the Search Room. Violators will be detained and prosecuted under Act 95 (1982), Libraries/Archives Security Act.
  5. Persons using original manuscripts will be assigned a desk. Call slips must have this assigned number on them before any records will be paged. A separate call slip must be filled out for each item. Up to a maximum of four boxes, cartons or volumes will be retrieved at any one time. Only one folder or volume may be opened and viewed at one time. Original records must be kept flat on the desk at all times. Materials may not be marked, rearranged or handled in any way likely to cause damage. Use of pen or other permanent marker, making tracings or rubbings, and writing over original materials is prohibited.
  6. Patrons consulting records on microfilm should not use the Manuscript Reading Room. This room is reserved for those researchers using original records and manuscripts.
  7. Many of the State Archives holdings have been microfilmed to preserve the originals. The original records will not be made available to any researchers without approval of the section heads, Division Chief or State Archivist.
  8. Eating, drinking, smoking, loud conversation and boisterous conduct are prohibited in the Search Room and Lobby areas.
  9. Researchers may use laptop computers and cameras without flash or any special attachments. The use of personal copiers, scanners, tape recorders and other such recording devices is prohibited. When photographs are taken for the purpose of publication in any form or media, a "Use of Reproductions" must be completed by the researcher.
  10. The State Archives will not make xerographic copies of bound volumes, maps, albumen print photographs, or very fragile documents. Reproductions of State Archives holdings, whether by photograph, photocopy, or microfilm are under the terms, conditions and fees established by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The Search Room attendant can provide more information on obtaining reproductions.
  11. Reprographic services are provided for reference purposes only. Researchers may be required to seek institutional approval to publish, reproduce, reprint or quote from the public records (Record Groups) of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Certain Manuscript Group materials are subject to donor specified restrictions and "Fair Use" as described by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Also, permission must be obtained from the appropriate institution or individual when researchers use microform or copies whose originals are owned by that party.
  12. When quoting, citing, publishing or exhibiting any materials from the State Archives, please specify the following: item, series title, Record or Manuscript Group, Pennsylvania State Archives.
  13. Failure to adhere to these rules and policies will result in the suspension of search room privileges.