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Archive collection frequently asked questions

Information about the catalogue and how to use it.

Frequently asked questions

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What is the archive catalogue? 
The archive catalogue is a database containing descriptions of the archives that we hold. It also includes details of the books in our searchroom library and articles in the local historical journals that are available on our searchroom shelves. You can search the catalogue to look for things of interest to you.

What geographical area does the catalogue cover? 
We cover the West Glamorgan area, which is the City and County of Swansea and the County Borough of Neath Port Talbot, and includes Gower and the Afan, Neath, Dulais, Llwchwr and Tawe valleys. The vast majority of the archives we hold relate only to this area, but some collections contain records relating to areas outside our boundaries: for example, the Dyffryn Estate included properties in Breconshire and Carmarthenshire, and so the archive collections include some Breconshire and Carmarthenshire records.

I have found the documents I want in your catalogue: where can I see them? 
To see the documents you would like to consult, you can visit our searchroom in the Civic Centre, Swansea, or in the case of the Neath Antiquarian Society Archives, the Neath Mechanics' Institute. You will need to register for an Archives Wales reader's ticket to use original archives. The information you need to help you plan your visit can be found on the Visiting Us section of our website.

Can I view the documents online? 
Unfortunately not: this catalogue is intended as a means of finding what you need, with a view to making a visit to the Archive Service to consult the records in our searchroom. Digitising our holdings would be a huge undertaking: it may come as a surprise to hear that it takes over three miles of shelves to accommodate all the archives we hold!

Can I have copies of documents you hold? 
Documents we hold can be copied, but only if doing so will not result in any damage to the document, or an infringement of copyright. See the Copying Service section on our website for further information.

Why do restrictions apply to some items? 
Some records contain sensitive personal information about named individuals, and are restricted under the Data Protection Act 1998. Sometimes depositors place restrictions on access to their records when we receive them. However, the majority of the records we hold are available without any restrictions on access.

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