General Policy on 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.