Copying and publishing public records
Most original records held by PROV can be copied, except where copying would cause damage.
Making your own copies in a reading room
Personal digital cameras
Researchers can make copies of records free of charge using their own digital camera, provided that conditions of use are observed.
PROV cameras and scanners
We have provided digital cameras and scanners at the North Melbourne Reading Room that you can use to copy records that you have requested to view. Bring a USB stick or portable hard drive to save the images to when you visit.
The use of personal equipment on PROV systems in the Reading Room, such as USB drives, is undertaken at the user's own risk. PROV does not accept responsibility for any loss, damage or data corruption incurred as a result of the use of its IT systems or resources.
Using a search agent
Search agents can also visit Reading Rooms and make copies on your behalf. See Search Agents for contact details.
Using PROV's copy service
Copy orders can be placed through our website.
Step 1: 'Select' the record in our catalogue and click through to your account with us (you will need to log in or create an account if you don't already have one).
Step 2: From your 'My Selections' list, follow the prompts to choose the type of copy you wish. Your requests will then be listed on a 'Cart' screen. From this screen you can change or delete requests.
Step 3: From the 'Cart' screen you must click 'Complete order' to make the request.
- We charge a set fee for copies of records from series on the list below, and will ask you to pay that immediately. For records not on that list we will contact you with a quote once we have looked at the records and confirmed a price.
- We charge a minimum fee for each record copied, which scales with the number and size of pages in the record according to the table below.
- Payment is by credit card. We will only ask for payment after we have provided a price, but we do ask that you provide contact details as part of your initial request.
|Digital copies of standard size documents
(up to A3)
|For each 50 images in a record||$20.70|
|Digital copies of non-standard size documents
(larger than A3, photos, negatives or other records needing special handling)
|For each 16 images in a record||$20.70|
|Paper printouts of digitally copied records
(up to A3 only)
|For each record add to the cost of making the digital copy||$5.00|
|Certification of copies||For each document certified, add to the cost of making and printing the digital copy||$5.00|
|Postage||Added to the cost of making and printing the digital copy, up to||$9.00|
How we apply fees
Our copying fees are based on the size and complexity of the record to be copied. For many records this means that we need to retrieve the record from storage and count pages before we can quote a price.
We always quote the minimum fee for records from the following series, and you can pay for copies at the same time as placing the request:
- VPRS 24 Inquest Deposition Files
- VPRS 28 Probate and Administration Files
- VPRS 267 Civil Case Files
- VPRS 640 Central Inward Primary Schools Correspondence
- VPRS 10010 Body Cards
- VPRS 17379 Probate and Administration Files (Courtview)
If you request copies of records from VPRS 7591 Wills, and have also ordered the corresponding file from VPRS 28, we will not charge for copying the VPRS 7591 part.
While most records can be copied for the minimum fee, sometimes our quotes can be much larger than you expect. There are two common reasons for this.
- The specific information you are requesting is part of a much larger record. A typical nineteenth century ‘register’ (for example a prison register, or rate book) might be three hundred pages long, which would cost $124.20 to copy.
- Many records in our collection are not listed individually. For instance the records in VPRS 460 Applications for Certificates of Title are listed in ‘bundles’ corresponding to the boxes in which they were transferred to us. If you request a copy of these records and are not able to specify the specific record in that bundle, we can only quote for the entire bundle.
We cannot quote for or provide copies of part of a record unless you have first viewed that record in one of our Reading Rooms to confirm the exact part to be copied.
We will provide copies of records to you within 25 working days. Generally we can provide copies in a much shorter time but the time varies depending on how many other people have made requests.
If you have an urgent and essential need for copies (for instance a court case) please contact us and we will prioritise your request.
Receiving your copy order
Once the record is copied we will send you an email with a link to download a copy in PDF format. If you have requested a paper copy, we will post this to you.
We will (in most cases) publish the copy of the record to our website so it can be viewed online by everybody. By providing copies we can better preserve fragile original records. While we may publish any open record in our collection, we will not publish every record, particularly if it is very recent. If you have concerns about the publication of a particular record, you can contact us.
Certified copies for legal purposes
Copies of public records produced by PROV can be certified for legal purposes by the Keeper of Public Records.
Please note that certification is only needed when documents are required to be produced for formal legal proceedings. In other cases, providing a link to the copy of the record on our website is enough to demonstrate that we have made that copy in line with our standards.
It is advisable to allow 10 working days plus time for postage for certification, which is undertaken subject to the availability of the Keeper of Public Records. To ensure the integrity of the certification process, copies of records will only be certified by the Keeper if the copy has been made by PROV and has not left PROV custody.
Obtaining permission to publish
Before a public record can be reproduced in a publication or exhibition, the written permission of the copyright holder must be obtained. Refer to Copyright For Researchers for information about the permissions process. You must also note down the citation details for the item you wish to publish and complete an application for permission to publish form.
Our guidelines on citing public records set out how to cite records consistently in a way that means other researchers can find them in our collection.