All queries must be dealt with courteously, and the RAI Collections made as accessible as possible with a professional standard of cataloguing and indexing freely available to all enquirers either on the premises or via email. Researchers should be made aware of related collections at the RAI and in other institutions, and where relevant, and with permission, of other researchers with a similar interest.
In accordance with freedom of information, nothing should be hidden unnecessarily, yet respect for privacy needs to be maintained especially in cases where the individuals who are the subject of material have had no say in the disposition of that material. This is frequently the case in fieldwork notes containing interviews with local informants, and the holder of any such material has a duty to ensure that any information freely given is not later misused in any way.
Any restrictions on use stipulated by the donors of collections needs to be respected. New acquisitions need to be catalogued as rapidly as resources allow in order to be made accessible, and their use promoted.
Care must be taken not to infringe copyright or other legal responsibilities. At the RAI permission to copy certain materials is granted after receipt of a signed declaration that the material is for personal research only and will not be disseminated in any form. Permission to quote material in published works is granted separately when appropriate. Permission is always granted at the discretion of the archivist, and not withheld unnecessarily. Sufficient information about any prospective publications must be available before informed permission can be granted in order to ensure that material is not used inappropriately.
The general practice at the RAI is to keep material produced within the most recent thirty years out of the public domain in order to protect the privacy of living authors. In any case where the author is alive and their whereabouts known, queries about access may be addressed to them if a general permission for use of material has not already been granted.
Physical care of material should be ensured by appropriate storage, and measures taken for conservation during use. Matters of security need to be addressed with regard to housing and access of material. Access to very fragile material may be restricted.