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Archival Access

The CSHL Archives is committed to providing open access to its collections as far as possible within the limits of privacy and confidentiality. Although many institutional records and manuscript collections are open for use, there are materials held by the Archives that are subject to access restrictions. For institutional data, some restrictions are mandated by laws such as FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), while others are determined by the Library and Archives in conjunction with the records-creating department or office.

Archival Collections

Documents contained within CSHL Archival Collections generally fall into one of the three access categories:

Category 1: Personal Information
Closed 75 years from records’ creation
Then, subject to review by the CSHL Archives, the papers are open without restriction. Typically, papers containing personal information about an individual or individuals, such as student academic records, employment records, fall under this category.

Category 2: Universal Distribution
Open without restriction
Typically, these papers include labwide announcements, publications, calendars, brochures, and widely distributed reports.

Category 3: General Laboratory Records
Closed 20 years from records’ creation
Then, subject to review by the CSHL Archives, the papers are open without restriction. Typically, most laboratory papers supporting administrative and business activities fall under this category.

The Library and Archives may decide to extend the access restrictions or impose restrictions that differ from the standard access categories.

Manuscript Collections

Restrictions on access to manuscript collections are informed by the need to balance access and confidentiality in papers. Often this is stipulated in the terms of the gift agreement governing the donation of the material. In negotiating these agreements, the CSHL Archives seeks to secure the greatest access possible, and will stipulate a set period for any restrictions to expire so that materials may be available for use.

The primary intention of the digital preservation program is to preserve the intellectual and cultural heritage important to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, as well as the history of molecular biology and genetics in general. CSHL Library and Archives recognizes its responsibility to preserve digital collections in support of teaching, learning, scholarship, and research. The program’s objectives are to:

  • Maintain and develop processes and systems to capture, manage, preserve, find, and make accessible digital materials now and into the future
  • Identify, through systematic selection, digital assets to be preserved across new generations of technologies
  • Include in the scope of the program materials that originated in digital form (born digital) and those that were converted to digital form through a digitization process
  • Provide context for digital materials by creating the metadata necessary to understand them
  • Identify and support the core working team to develop and operate the digital archive and provide requisite training and development as needed
  • Comply with prevailing community standards for digital preservation and access
  • Explore collaborative opportunities to collect and preserve digital materials so as to make the best use of available resources and avoid duplicative efforts

Digital Preservation Policy (pdf)