What to expect
The Oxford County Archives welcomes all visitors who are interested in using our research facilities. There are some rules our staff, volunteers and visitors must follow in order to meet archival standards and to ensure the safekeeping of our records. We want to make your visit to the archives as positive as possible; please read through these guidelines to using the archives prior to your visit so you know what to expect when you arrive.
It is highly recommended that researchers contact the archives to book an appointment prior to their visit. Not only does this provide staff with time to research your topic thoroughly, it also avoids disappointment for the researcher who may find that the records they were hoping to see are not located at the archives or are inaccessible. Occasionally, some records at the archives cannot be accessed by the public. The two most common reasons for this include:
- Privacy legislation - Access to our archival records is dictated by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). MFIPPA provides individuals the right to access municipal records while also protecting the personal privacy. Certain information and records such as birth, marriage and death certificates, health information, property assessments and closed council meeting minutes can only be accessed after a specified date, usually a set number of years after the record’s creation or an individual’s death. Archives staff are knowledgeable on this subject matter and will inform researchers whether or not the record they are requesting is publicly accessible.
- Record condition - While our archivists work to preserve and protect the archival holdings, records occasionally deteriorate over time or arrived to the archives in poor condition. If a record is too fragile to handle, an archivist may restrict access to that record. If the record has been digitized researchers may access the digital copy instead of the original.
Our archivists act as stewards in the safekeeping of Oxford County’s historical records. There are a set of standards that guide how we manage, store and handle our archival collection. We ask that our volunteers and visitors keep these guidelines in mind when handling records: