Accessing historical archives as a disabled user; with recommendations | The Information Professional |

By Viv Dunstan:

"I recently gave a talk to a conference for archivists on my perceptions as a disabled user of archives. I have a progressive neurological disease, and sometimes use a wheelchair. ...


...list of recommendations for archivists to improve accessibility. I will repeat these here, for the benefit of any reading:

Would ask archivists to consider how accessible their search rooms are, including the layout within the room itself. This is potentially of great benefit to physically disabled archive users, but a more accessible layout can benefit users in general as well, for example tables and chairs that are easier to move around, paper catalogues easier to access etc.As a counterpoint to that ask you to be more aware of the potential need for people to research at a distance, and do not always assume lengthy on-the-spot research is practical or the default approach, and consider enabling other modes of provision for usersTo that end make sure that online catalogues are as detailed as they can be, and improve them where necessaryAs well as archivist initiated digitisation projects archivists should consider supporting digitisation on demand, including permitting digital photography of records, whether a per page copying fee is charged for such photography, or waived for disability users"