Course:5: Access and Outreach
Lesson:Lesson 1: Good Reference and Access Practices
Topic:Lesson 1 Conclusion

Lesson 1 Conclusion

Your historical records program not only protects and preserves historical materials, but also makes them available for use. No matter how small your program is, you must incorporate good reference policies and procedures into it.

Good references policies and practices assure that your users' needs are met, but they do much more than that. They assure that your collections are accessed in ways that protect them from dangers such as theft, vandalism, and even human mistakes.

Creating a good reference policy that accommodates your own situation and facilities is vital. Letting your users know what the rules are, and explaining to them why the rules are necessary is also important.

Quality reference service allows for the protection of the collections while making sure that researchers:

  • find what they want
  • get access to what they need
  • can ultimately have a successful research experience

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Click here to access a game to test your understanding of reference policy development.

Resource icon

Publications available from the Society of American Archivists:
MaryJo Pugh, Providing Reference Services for Archives and Manuscripts Mary Jo Pugh. Click here to learn more.

Gregory Hunter, Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives: A How-To-Do-It Manual, 2nd ed., Chapter 9 . Click here to learn more.