Edinburgh City Archives

Handling guidlines

The materials held in this repository are unique and irreplaceable. We ask that you agree to the following guidelines to ensure that the archives survive for future generations.


  • Always use a pencil when in the searchroom. Pencils are available to borrow if you do not have one with you.
  • Limit the use of erasers and rubbers.
  • Do not eat, drink, smoke or vape in the searchroom.
  • Ensure your hands are clean before consulting original documents. Avoid using hand gel, as it will damage items. You can wash your hands in the onsite bathrooms.
  • No more than three items will be produced at any one time.
  • Leave items on the table when viewing them. Do not hold them in your hands to read them as this is unnecessary handling. Keep items flat and avoid bending the paper.
  • Avoid touching fragile surfaces like flaking ink.
  • Be careful when unfolding items. Use two hands to unfold one crease at a time.
  • Turn bound volume pages by lifting from undamaged areas. This usually means avoiding the corners.
  • Use book supports, weights and gloves when asked to do so by staff. Some items cannot be used with weights so please check first before using them.
  • Do not lean or put unnecessary pressure on any records you are consulting. Avoid draping power cords and peripheral wires over items.
  • Please check with staff before taking images of items. Please switch your flash off before using it to take images.


  • Do not leave volumes open or face down when you leave the searchroom. Staff will provide acid-free page markers to help you keep your place if you intend to return.
  • Ensure that you leave items in the order we give them to you. Please keep all blue production slips with the items they belong to. Please ask staff if you are in any doubt about how to handle the records you are viewing.