SOAS University of London

SOAS Library

Handling Guidelines

The materials held in this repository are unique and irreplaceable. Careful handling can help to preserve them for future generations. We therefore ask you to observe the following guidelines:

Please do:

  • Ensure that you have clean hands when handling material.
  • Use pencils only.
  • Use the book support cushions provided for fragile or large volumes, and snake weights to hold open pages.
  • Turn pages in volumes slowly and with care, ideally from the top right corner rather than the bottom right. This reduces the chance of tearing more fragile pages.
  • Consult loose papers one file at a time. Place the file flat on the table and turn pages over with care, retaining the original order. Keep tags and fastenings in place.
  • Consult oversize items on the large desk at the back of the Reading Room.
  • Carefully unroll maps and use the soft weights provided to hold the edges down.
  • Use the gloves provided to handle photographs, negatives or slides where these have not already been placed into transparent sleeves.

Please do not:

  • Bring any food or drink (including water) into the Reading Room.
  • Lean on material, or use improvised devices to prop up volumes or weight pages open.
  • Place materials over the edge of the table, or on the floor, chairs or windowsill.
  • Lick your fingers to separate pages.
  • Mark, annotate or alter the material in any way.
  • Remove material from transparent sleeves without the permission of the archivist.
  • Lie books face down. Staff will provide acid-free page markers to help you keep your place.
  • Use flash photography. Always seek permission from staff before taking any photographs.