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Obtain copies of archives

Can I order copies of the archives?

Yes. The National Archives provides a copying service to researchers.

Staff of the National Archives will copy material on behalf of researchers using specialised scanning equipment. No self-service copying facility is available. Researchers are permitted to order a maximum of 8 instant copies. Any larger volume of material will be posted to the researcher or made available for collection in the reading room at a later date.

Outsize material, including volumes and maps, and fragile material will not be copied using the instant copying facility.

Copying of fragile material may require input from Conservation Services. Researchers who require material for publication must provide sufficient notice to the National Archives to ensure any necessary conservation work can be carried out.

How much do copies cost?

The cost of reproduction varies according to the amount and type of material involved. Please see summary of fees for the main charges and a full breakdown of costs is available in the National Archives (Fees) Regulations, 2012.

Is photography of archives allowed?

Researchers may use a digital camera or similar device to copy material for their private research only; i.e. to take working copies. This service is provided free of charge, but the National Archives retains the right to withhold permission to make digital copies of archives. Researchers must consult the Archivist on Duty in the reading room prior to commencing photography, and sign a self-photography form listing the items they are taking images of.

When photographing records, researchers must observe the following rules:

  • No flash photography is allowed.
  • No tripods or scanning equipment of any kind may be used. This includes hand-held scanners.
  • Disturbance to other researchers must be limited.
  • Records must be handled with extreme care.
  • Do not dismantle or remove documents or rearrange the existing order in any way.
  • Photography is permitted for private research only. Any reproduction of images without the prior approval of the Head of Public Services may breach copyright legislation.
  • Tightly bound volumes or fragile material may not be copied by researchers. Please consult the Archivist on Duty in the reading room for further information on ordering copies of these records.
Can I make copies of archival records for publication?

Images required for publication must be ordered from the National Archives. All material required for publication must undergo a conservation assessment and a fee for publication rights must be paid. The National Archives uses archival-standard scanning and photography equipment by specialist-trained staff.

No third parties will be facilitated to copy material held in the National Archives. Please provide sufficient notice to ensure the material is ready for publication.

Archives are subject to copyright and any researcher who publishes images without receiving prior approval from the Head of Public Services may be in breach of copyright legislation. Questions about the reproduction of images should be sent to [email protected] 

What is copyright and what are my obligations as a researcher?

Copyright is an intellectual property right which protects the owner’s creative skills and labour. Copyright is an intellectual right, therefore, ownership of copyright is separate to the ownership of the physical item.

Making copies or digital images of archival records is defined as reproduction of literary works under the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 and the Copyright and Related Rights (Amendment) Act, 2004 and as such may affect copyright.

The Irish State owns copyright to most of the records held by the National Archives. They are official records created by Irish government departments, agencies and offices of state (including the Courts Service). This is referred to as Government Copyright.

National Archives is not the copyright owner for records in our custody that were not made by a government department or agency, for example, letters written by private individuals to a government and kept on a departmental file, or a will transferred by the Probate Office. While these records are the property of the Irish State, the copyright owner is the author. National Archives cannot give permission to reproduce these documents.

Researchers are obliged to:

  • Establish if the material you want to use is still in copyright.
  • Identify the copyright owner.
  • Contact the copyright owner to get permission to use their work.

Further information about copyright is available in the National Archives Copyright Guidelines.