Archives nationales

Documents in poor condition

Certain documents have become fragile over time:

  • Documents exposed to excessive humidity in insufficiently ventilated premises
  • Old bindings which may have suffered from being held in premises that are too dry
  • Very fragile documents (on thin or poor quality paper) which risk being torn or falling to pieces.

When you draw up your "list of reference numbers" in your personal workspace on the online catalogue, a table displays the automated results. Documents marked as "access blocked due to the condition of the documents" are in poor condition. Access to the original record will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. It is subject to the prior agreement of the records management board of the Archives Nationales, who ensure that any consultation does not materially damage the documents.
Some of these documents have been microfilmed or digitised, in which case the original is not normally available for consultation.

The microfilming and digitisation programme is ongoing, aiming to progressively reduce the number of items whose access is subject to authorisation. If you notice that any documents are in poor condition, please indicate this at the main desk in the reading room.
You may request exceptional access to documents in poor condition that have not yet been microfilmed or digitised. To do so:
Return to your list of reference numbers, click the check box for the reference(s) for which you would like to request exceptional access,
 

  • then click on "exceptional access to documents" (at the bottom of the screen).
  • Fill out the "reason for request" field and click on "submit request".

It may take several days to receive a response. To track progress with your request you can click on "track my forms" in your personal workspace on the online catalogue.
If your request is turned down that means that the material condition of the document is such that no handling is authorised, even under exceptional circumstances.
Go to the online catalogue