There is often research interest in the archives of businesses, particularly those that have operated in the same geographic area or business sector for some time. Researchers may be amateur historians with family or local history research interests. Alternatively there may be professional interest in a company’s history from business, economic or social historians.

It is helpful to a have a published access policy (perhaps on the company website) so that researchers understand what records are available. For most companies this involves allowing access to older historical material while keeping contemporary material private, but it is at your company’s discretion what material is made available, to whom, and on what terms. The policy should give access terms and conditions (including opening times if applicable), restrictions on use (records closure periods), services such as photocopying and any associated charges. Click to see the HSBC access policy.