Access codes for archival records
Have you ever ordered an archival record, only to find out that it is restricted? Archival records may be subject to access restrictions. To find out if a record is open or restricted, you must identify its access code. When you are in Collection Search, you can find these codes in the "Conditions of access" section of records descriptions (see image below):
The most common access codes are 90, 32, 18 and 10.
Open Records (code 90)
Any records that are unrestricted and directly available for consultation are marked as "90: Open."
Government Records (code 32)
Some government records must be reviewed according to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act before being made available. Records restricted under these laws are identified as "32: Restricted by law." For an example, please consult the Operational records of Prairie Northern Region record description.
To request restricted government records, follow the instructions on our Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) page, How to make an ATIP request.
Private Records (codes 18 and 10)
Records that are "18: Restricted" can be accessed through an application procedure established by the donor. These restrictions affect what you can consult, as well as what you can copy.
Records that are "10: Closed" cannot be consulted. In some cases, restrictions on closed records are set to be reviewed after a date specified by the donor.
To find out which files are restricted in a private fonds, consult the PDF document linked under "Conditions of Access" in the fonds description. For an example of this type of document, please see the Lester B. Pearson fonds description.
Restrictions vary (Code 96)
Access code 96 indicates that within a group of records, there exists more than one type of access condition. For example, since the Department of Transportation fonds (RG12) contains records that are open (code 90) and others that are restricted (code 32), the fonds-level access condition are indicated by "restrictions vary" (code 96).
Access code 96 can be applied to more than just fonds-level descriptions. It can also be linked to series, sub-series and accessions. However, it does not apply to individual volumes and files.
Access code 96 usually means that there are more specific descriptions available for the records being researched. In some cases, these records can be accessed by simply clicking on "View lower level description(s)" in the "Record information - Details" section of a record description.
In other cases, it will be necessary to consult a printed finding aid. To learn more, read Finding aids.
To be determined / closed pending processing (Code 99)
Access code 99 means that the access conditions for a group of records have yet to be determined. Usually this is because the records are being processed. In the following example, while the photographic material is open, the access conditions for the textual records have yet to be determined:
Open, no copying (Code 95)
Access code 95 indicates that the records are open and can be consulted; however, at the request of the donor, the records cannot be copied or reproduced.