Title of Policy: Access Policy for Archival Records of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Responsible Office:  The Library
Start Date:  September 27, 1998


Institutional archival records will normally remain closed for a maximum period of twenty years from the date of their creation (the date on which each document was written) unless the office of origin has designated a shorter period.1 The only records that are closed for longer period are:

  1. Corporation, Trustee and Executive Committee minutes - restricted for 50 years
  2. Office of the Director records - restricted for 30 years.
  3. Student records - restricted for 75 years.
  4. Human Resource/Personnel records - restricted for 75 years.2

Other records may be restricted for more than 20 years with the permission of the Institution Archives Committee.3

During the restricted period the records will be available only to the office of origin and the staff of the Institution Archives. Consideration will be given for access by others when a written request is presented to the Institution Archivist and a written approval has been obtained from the appropriate officer in the office of origin or the appropriate Institution officer now responsible for the function performed by the office of origin.

The records of the Institution will be made available in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Institution Archives of the MBLWHOI.

This policy will not impinge upon the normal administrative uses of Institution records.

1The opening date for files spanning several years will be 20 years from the most recent date. Access will be given to material already 20 years old contained within a collection that is not yet open when such material can be isolated from the rest of the collection.

2Access by name to individual student and personnel records (e.g. for biographical studies) will be denied for 75 years from the date the record was created. Access for aggregate studies (anonymous studies of groups) will be considered in accordance with this policy and the rules and regulations of the Institution Archives.

3The Institution Archives Committee, as defined in the Institution Archival Policy consists of:

  1. The Director's designee, representing the Board of Trustees and Members of the Corporation and the Administration.
  2. The Institution Archivist, representing the Director of the MBLWHOI Library.
  3. The Interdepartmental Representative with a scientific appointment at the Institution, representing the scientific staff.

Approved: Robert Gagosian, Director

Date: September 27, 1998 Back to the Archives page