Guidelines for consulting SAHA's archival collections

We welcome all users to SAHA as we are committed to making our archival collection as accessible as possible. Because some visitors have not used archives before, it is necessary to stress the importance of handling our archival material with due respect.

There are instances where archives are unique, and if they are lost or damaged they cannot be replaced. Please be aware that it is not only the duty of custodians to preserve the valuable archival collections, but everyone who handles archival documents shares a responsibility for their care. We therefore expect each user to help us preserve our valuable collections by complying with these guidelines. We reserve the right to refuse access to our archive for contravention of these guidelines.

Make an appointment to consult archival materials

SAHA is open to all users by appointment only, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30- 14:00 and on Wednesdays from 8:30-13:00. We are closed on Fridays. Prior to making an appointment, users are expected to identify the relevant material for their research by viewing the collection inventories on the SAHA website ( To access these inventories you will be required to register (free of charge) as a user.

Once you have identified the material you want to consult, you can email the SAHA archival team ( to make an appointment to view these materials. Please ensure that your archival request is clear and detailed, e.g.

Collection name: The United Democratic Front (UDF) collection
Collection number: AL2431
Archival item/section number: A1.2.1.1 UDF Information Booklet

Please also remember to inform SAHA of the preferred date and time of your visit. The archival team will then confirm your appointment by email. Many of our collections are housed off site and it takes up to 3 working days for the retrieval and delivery of materials to SAHA. 

On arrival

A member of the archival team will assist you, and will answer any questions you may have regarding your visit at SAHA. You will be allocated a work area in the reading room and receive the archival boxes (3 boxes at a time) containing the material you have requested for consultation, once you have completed the registration process.


You will be given 3 forms to complete and sign
1) Researcher registration form - to register as a researcher at SAHA
2) Researcher request form - to detail the archival material in collections you wish to consult.
3) Loan / reproduction form - to request the reproduction (photocopying, photographing or digitised copies) of archival material.

Use and handling of archival material

Please take note that you are responsible for archival material in your care for the duration of your research. Please consider the following carefully:

• Make sure your hands are clean.
• Do not eat or drink whilst consulting archival material.
• Documents should always stay flat on the table at all times.
• Do not write, lean or press on the documents or stick pressure sensitive notes such as ‘post-it's on them.
• Don't fold, tear or misplace any of the documents.
• When turning pages, do so carefully, and do not lick fingers to assist with the turning.
• Only pencils are permitted for taking notes while consulting archival material. When taking notes, do not write directly on top of materials.
• Maintain the existing order of material within each folder and box - archival material is arranged by original order. Mixing files or documents can undermine their research value. Always ensure to return documents to their originals sleeves or containers. Use only one box at a time and only one file from the box. If documents are discovered to be out of order, do NOT rearrange it. Notify the archival staff immediately.
• White cotton gloves will be provided for the handling of fragile archival material.

Reproduction of archival material

Certain restrictions and fees apply to the reproduction of archival material. Please see SAHA's fees schedule and the loan / reproduction form for further information. You can find information on copyright as it relates to our collections on our copyright page - see:

• All users requesting reproduction of archival material are expected to record all reproductions on the loan / reproduction form provided.
• In general, only SAHA archival staff may photocopy materials from archival collections.
• Users may use digital cameras to photograph documents, provided that such reproduction is also recorded on the loan / reproduction form. Please note that flash photography is not permitted, as it may be harmful to materials.
• Archival staff reserves the right not to fulfil a photocopying request if it may harm the materials.

On completion of research

Ensure that you return all completed and signed forms to the archival staff. Please be very careful not to mix archival material in amongst with your own research notes / notebooks upon leaving SAHA.

Please show courtesy to staff and other researchers at all times.