Use of archive records

Archive records may be exempt from public disclosure. Even if you gain access to these records there are certain rules to be followed. The following information has been retrieved from a lecture by Kjell Bråstad, former head archivist at the Regional State Archives in Kristiansand.

What can be exempt from public disclosure?

Information that can:

Archive documents which contain personal affairs (e.g. information about physical or mental health, sexual orientation, etc) are regulated by the duty of confidentiality. The duty of confidentiality normally applies for 60 years after the last entry if nothing else has been decided. In child welfare cases and adoption cases, the duty of confidentiality applies for 100 years. You may apply and gain access to archive documents under the duty of confidentiality if the cases have been made anonymous.

Access for researchers

If it is found to be reasonable, and it does not cause a disproportionate disadvantage to other interests, the Ministry can decide that an administrative body can or shall give information for research purposes.

However, there are strict requirements to the qualifications of the researcher and the project description. The researcher must have qualifications in a relevant subject field. Students can gain access if they are under professional guidance. This requires a supervisor with a high level of expertise.

Researchers who gain access to archive documents under the duty of confidentiality are also subject to strict regulation. The information may only be used in a way that is necessary for their research. If their work is to be published there are even stricter regulations to be met in the Public Administration Act §13a no 1 and 2.

The duty of secrecy pursuant to section 13 shall not prevent:

§13 a no 1: information from being made known to those it directly concerns or to others, insofar as those to whom the duty of secrecy is owed consent thereto

§13 a no 2: information from being used when the need for protection must be deemed satisfied by the information being presented in the form of statistics or by otherwise eliminating identificatory characteristics.

The information may only be used for the research project for which access has been granted. A new application must be sent if the information is to be used in other contexts. The information may not be shared with researchers outside the project.

Researchers and research assistants must sign a declaration of confidentiality in order to gain access to the archive documents.

Applications for access to the National Archival Services of Norway

The application must:

  • be in writing and addressed to the Director General of the National Archival Services of Norway
  • specify for which documents access is required
  • give a description of the research project at hand (with documentation showing that the research is at a sufficiently high level)
  • clarify how the information is intended to be used
  • contain documentation of the applicant's research qualifications if this is not already known
  • contain a written affirmation from a supervisor if a student is applying for access
Sist oppdatert: 4/26/2013