What is an archival item?
An archive is the wealth of material generated by the life's work of a person or organization. "Archive" is also the term used to designate a place where archival material is stored, for example, the State Archives.
A personal archive (estate) includes all of the archival material accumulated by the owner of the archive throughout the course of his/her life, like personal documents, certificates, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs and digital material. Occasionally a personal archive will include various collections that have come into the possession of the archive owner.
Who can order an archival item?
This service is provided to registered Library readers and people with permission to access the archival item.
If you are not registered with the National Library you must apply for a library card on our website.
In order to obtain permission to access an archival item you must approach the reception desk in our Special Collections room. There you will be asked to fill out a "Request to View Rare or Archival Material" form in order to receive the department's approval. After receiving this approval you must approach our Circulation Desk and submit it to them along with official proof of identification in order to update your permission status. The approval notice will then be scanned and entered into the Library's information systems.
If you are already a registered member with proper permissions you may order the item online using our online catalogue, or you can ask the staff in the Library's Special Collections room for assistance.
Please note: The staff of the Archives Department retains the right to approve or deny any request to view an archival item.
The approval certificate is valid for a year.
How do your order an archival item?
As described above, before ordering you must obtain permission to view an archival item.
After this, you must locate the item in the Library catalogue and click "Order".
If you cannot find the item in the catalogue, you can ask the staff in the Special Collections room for assistance.
Where can I view an archival item?
Archival items can only be viewed in the Special Collections room (the Archives and Manuscripts reading room) on level -1.
How should an archival item be handled?
Upon receiving the material, the viewer commits to handling it with the utmost care:
• Physical contact with the item should be kept to a minimum. Paper and parchment are extremely sensitive to moisture and to natural bodily fluids, including those found on human hands. Hands must be clean and dry before touching the items. Mishandling the item can lead to rapid deterioration in its condition.
• You must not tear or fold the item. Do not use bookmarks, paperclips or any other foreign object. Nothing should be placed on or in the book or item.
• You must not erase anything or make any marks, notes or additions on the body of the material, on its margins or on the cases. Personal notes can only be made on the viewer's own paper using pencils only.
• Avoid bringing any food or drink near the item.
• You must not change the order of documents in any file. If you discover any mistake in the item's catalogue information or in its arrangement, please notify the staff of the Archives Department.
• You must not leave the item unsupervised without notifying a librarian.
Damage to manuscripts, books and archival items is accumulative. Mishandling them can lead to rapid deterioration in their condition.
The Archives Department can offer advice if needed.
How do I photograph archival material?
In accordance with the guidelines of our Conservation and Restoration Laboratory, it is permitted to photocopy printed archival material using the photocopier in the reading room (for a fee), under supervision and after receiving permission from the attendant present in the reading room. Handwritten archival items can be scanned using the scanner found in the room. You can also use a private digital camera. Alternatively, you may order a scan of the item by filling out an online form. This service is available for a fee. There is a limit on the amount of material which can be photographed or scanned from a particular archive.
• Any photographing, scanning, copying etc. of items in the National Library collections is subject to the Israeli Copyright Act of 2007.
• It is the sole responsibility of all visitors to ensure that any usage of a copy, scan or photograph of an item from the National Library collections is in full compliance with the directives set out in the law.