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.

Collection Development Policy

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.