The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and the Office for Archives and Records Management are not public institutions, therefore, the records of the diocese are not public records. However, the Archives encourages as much openness and availability of its collections as possible.
The Director of Archives and Records Management has a responsibility to safeguard the confidentiality of certain records as required by state, federal and canon law. While some collections are completely closed to outside research, most are open with limited restrictions or no restrictions at all.
Some materials may be closed or restricted only for a certain period of time. These records will be made available in a scheduled manner in keeping with professionally appraised criteria and canonical requirements. However, even in a case where records are closed or restricted, the archivist can supply a researcher with basic biographical data and any published or printed materials found in the collection.
All collections of materials more recent than 25 years should be considered closed. However, some of these records could be accessed by permission of the archivist. Unprocessed records are not open for research until the archivist has reviewed the records. The condition of the material may also dictate access restrictions.
The materials in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois Archives are classified into one of three categories:
Closed: these materials are closed to the public and can only be accessed by the bishop, the vicar general, the archivist and the person or office of origin. Some closed records will be opened to the public after a specific amount of time has passed.
Restricted: materials, though not open to the public, may be made available with the permission of the bishop, the vicar general or the archivist.
Open: materials which are available to the public with no restrictions.
The purpose of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois Office for Archives and Records Management is to collect, preserve and make available the official records of the diocese and those ancillary records that reflect the work of the Catholic Church within the diocese. Official diocesan records are defined as all recorded information, regardless of media type or characteristics, made or received and maintained by an agency, institution or office pursuant to its legal obligations or in the transaction of its business. These records include, but are not limited to, the records and papers of: bishops, diocesan offices, clergy and parishes.
The Archives also collects the records of church-related institutions and agencies engaged in educational, charitable or social service work. The Archives only collects records for those agencies that have closed. The Archives should be considered the "repository of last resort" when no other archives (such as that of the religious order, national branch of an organization, etc.) are appropriate or available. The Archives may become the repository of the records and personal papers of individual clergy, religious or laity who have played an active role in the life of the diocese.
Additional materials will be accepted and collected by the Archives, either as gifts or as a loan, after an appraisal is made to determine if the materials have permanent, historical or intrinsic value and are appropriate for the Archives in light of those considerations.
Materials that are deemed unsuitable for permanent archival retention will be disposed of in the appropriate manner, or in the case they are on loan to the Archives, returned to the owner.
Photocopying provisions are subject to United States Copyright Regulations. The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is the sole copyright owner of manuscript items held by the Office for Archives and Records Management. The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois may not own copyright for all items you may wish to copy. The Archives assumes no responsibility for copyright infringement by researchers.
Written permission to publish from print or non-print works found in the Office for Archives and Records Management is required. Permission to examine manuscripts is not an authorization to publish them. Researchers desiring to publish will be required to complete a Permission to Publish Form. Completion of the Permission to Publish Form represents a contract between the author and the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. The contract includes the provisions of special permission to publish; the requirement of proper citation of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois in any and all publications; and, a statement that the Office for Archives and Records Management retains ownership and copyright. Written consent to publish or reproduce material does not restrict the right of the Diocese to publish the same material or allow others to do so. Permission is not required and no fees are associated with the “fair use” reproduction of brief excerpts and quotations as defined by the U.S. Copyright Act. However, notification of such use is a courtesy that is appreciated. Credit should be made as follows: Courtesy of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois Office for Archives and Records Management. Scholars who publish using archival material are required to send copies of their work to the Archives.