A framework for internal and external collections and information-based research



Download 99.53 Kb.
Date conversion21.11.2016
Size99.53 Kb.


Bolton Library & Museum Services
REASEARCH POLICY

A framework for internal and external collections and information-based research




Drafted

January 2007

Approved by Exec. Member

26th February 2007

Last Update

November 2014

Pierrette Squires (Conservator)



Next Review

January 2017




CONTENTS

Why a Research Policy? 3

Background & Issues 3

Internal Research 3

Enquiry and Information Service 5

External Research 8

Research Management Framework

Sampling and Analysis 9

Culturally Sensitive Material 9

Human Remains and Tissue Sample 9

Internal Research 10

Enquiry Service 11

External Research 12

Decision-making Process 13

FORMS

Preliminary Research Proposal Form 14

Detailed Research Proposal Form 15

Application Form for Sampling and Analysis 18

Application Form for Sampling Human Remains 22

Scale of Charges for Research Work 26

Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in Museums 27

1. Why a Research Policy?
The purpose of this Research Policy is to provide a framework and guidance to manage:

  • both internal and external research

  • the enquiry and information service

  • requests for destructive research

  • research on human remains

Identify the role of research across the Library & Museum Services


  1. Background & Issues




    1. What is research?

Research is an active process of exploration and discovery aimed at finding, interpreting and revising facts.

Bolton Library & Museum Services must be a reliable source of information and a responsible manager of its collections. Research helps us to understand these collections and archives more to consolidate their value as a learning resource.

For the Library & Museum Services it generates a greater understanding of its collections and related material, its services and its users and potential users.

Research is for everyone. It is a powerful tool to develop better learning and understanding across all communities.



    1. Who does the research?

Research may be conducted by:

  • Library & Museum Services staff

  • Volunteers conducting research for the service

  • External consultants conducting research on behalf of the service

  • External researchers (academic, community, schools, individuals or organisations) conducting research for their own purposes or agendas

All research is likely to add to the understanding of the collections and/or audiences and/or services, but the reasons and priorities may vary. This Research Policy will guide the organisation’s internal research and introduce policies in relation to external research use of Bolton’s collections.

  1. Internal research

There are three principal areas of research undertaken internally:

  • Functional research

  • Operational research

  • Subject research



    1. Functional research

This is research relating to museum and archives functions and much will form part of the day to day role of staff. It includes areas such as research to:

  • add to knowledge about individual Bolton artefacts, archives, or wildlife information

  • add knowledge about Bolton’s collections or collectors

  • develop knowledge needed for exhibits, displays, interpretation and labels

  • develop informal or formal learning programmes

  • develop knowledge for special events

  • develop personal skills or knowledge that will improve an individual’s contribution to service delivery

  • create publications

  • development talks, lectures or conference presentations

Issues to be considered before undertaking this type of research are:

  • balancing competing priorities

  • committing to appropriate levels of research for the task

  • deciding on the appropriate person to undertake the research

  • deciding when to outsource the research

  • deciding on the potential role of volunteers



    1. Operational research

This includes applied research in the areas of museum and archive activities. It includes research to:

  • measure the impact of services or projects

  • evaluate the work of the service

  • improve standards of service delivery

It may include:

  • visitor surveys

  • research into exhibit design

  • website user research

  • environmental research to improve standards of care for the collections

  • non-user research

Issues to be considered before undertaking this type of research are:

  • gathering appropriate levels and types of information

  • deciding on the appropriate person to undertake the research

  • deciding when to outsource the research



    1. Subject research

This includes research into subject areas relating to the collections and may include:

  • research into fine art, natural history, or other subjects, adding to the personal development of staff or volunteers to improve their ability to deliver services to the public

  • personal research towards a recognised qualification as part of an agreed Personal Development Plan (for example AMA or MBA)

  • research as part of local, sub-regional, regional or national programmes driven by external organisations in partnership with Bolton, such as publications or surveys

  • research into fine art, natural history, or other subjects, not connected directly with activities of the service, but adding to the general body of knowledge in that subject

Issues to be considered before undertaking this type of research are:

  • relevance of the research to the service, its objectives and business plan

  • competing time and resource demands with other areas of the service

  • the role of volunteers in research

  • resources and/or facilities required for research

  • destructive research (sampling and analysis)

  • research which compromises the integrity or future survival of the collections or related information



  1. Enquiry and Information Service

In addition, Bolton Library & Museum Services offer a public information and enquiry service where external researchers can expect a level of information to be provided by staff.

The enquiry service provides a personal interface between staff and the public. It enables learning and provides an opportunity for the public to engage with the museum and archive more closely. It also provides an opportunity for the service to increase its body of knowledge and may sometimes result in new acquisitions of great importance.

The enquiry service contributes to Performance Indicators as users of the service.

Issues raised by this type of research are:


This Policy includes guidelines for how much information provision and research can be provided free for individuals or organisations as well as a scale of charging for external research conducted on behalf of individuals or organisations.

If research work beyond this is required and no charge is made, the research will fall under the aegis of External Research.



Commercial requests for information will be charged at the agreed rates (see Appendix 5).

  1. External research

External researchers can be Functional, Operational or Subject-based. The research may or may not contribute directly to the objectives of the organisation, but will usually add to knowledge about the collections or the services.

Some of this research may be academically driven, but much will be informal, for individual interest, personal development or for cultural enrichment.

Museums and archives hold collections in trust on behalf of society. Making these collections available and accessible for research is a fundamental part of our service to the public in support of lifelong learning and personal improvement.

Issues to be considered before agreeing to this type of research are:


  • support time needed from staff

  • resources and/or facilities required for research

  • requests to perform destructive research

  • research which compromises the integrity or future survival of the collections or related information

  • research with social, religious, political, racial or other ethical or legal implications or connotations

  • the need for training in use of systems, equipment or ICT to enable users to pursue their research

  • the feedback of research outcomes and findings to Bolton Library & Museum Services where appropriate

  • security issues in relation to collections and their use

There is no clear line between a research project and (for example) a local bird-watcher who wants to use the collection to help with bird identification. It is important that both are logged as research, but detailed research proposals may not be required for the latter.

Staff should discuss individual issues with there line manager if there is doubt.



Guidelines for requiring Preliminary Research Proposals

The following facts would tend to support the need for a formal Preliminary Research Proposal:



  • The researcher will work on collections unsupervised

  • The researcher will return for two or more visits

  • The research is part of a formal course of study



  1. Research Management Framework

    1. Destructive research (sampling and analysis)

All research requiring physical samples to be taken, removal of parts from objects or exposure of items to potentially destructive or damaging agents or procedures (including gases, solvents, vacuums, X-rays, heaters, freezers, strong light, electromagnetic or particle radiation, physical agitation or scanners) must include a Sampling and Analysis Proposal Form (Appendix 3) as part of the research application. A separate form must be completed for researchers wishing to sample human remains from the collections (Appendix 4)

The proposal will be considered by an expert panel which will include external advisors where appropriate.

Where destructive research is approved it is especially important that the results of the research are made available to Bolton Library & Museum Services. This may remove the need to repeat the research in future and may negate requests to do so.


    1. Culturally sensitive material

Some items may have culturally important protocols associated with them in relation to their handling or use. Research proposals must respect these protocols or research access may be refused.

Human remains usually have strong cultural sensitivity, but are covered in Section 7.

In the case of a dispute or disagreement, or where it is felt that the service has insufficient evidence or experience, a meeting of the Research Review Panel will be convened.


    1. Sampling or Analysis of Human remains or tissue samples

Human remains constitute a special case when sampling or analysis are required for research.

The scope of collections falling within the description ‘human remains’ follows definitions in the document Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in Museums (DCMS: 2005) as



Bodies and parts of bodies of once living people from the species Homo sapiens (defined as individuals who fall within the range of anatomical forms known today and in the recent past)

and includes:



  • Osteological material (whole or part skeletons, individual bones or fragments of bones and teeth)

  • Soft tissue including organs and skin

  • Embryos

  • Slide preparations of human tissue

  • Any of the above that may have been modified in some way by human skill and/or may be physically bound-up with other non-human materials to form an artefact composed of several materials

  • Any art works composed of human bodily fluids or soft tissue

It does not include hair or nails although these may be of importance in a cultural context.

For human remains under 100 years old, legislation under the Human Tissue Act (2004) applies which requires registration of the collection, for which a charge is levied.

Appendix 6 sets out the Research and Sampling Guidance from the DCMS (2005) report.

Researchers wishing to sample human remains in the collections must submit a form (Appendix 4) a minimum of four weeks before the start of the proposed research.



    1. Internal Research

This covers ALL research requiring:

  • more than 7 hours (1 day) of work time in total

  • a financial commitment from the service, including reimbursement for travel and/or subsistence

  • fieldwork and/or visits to other museums or archives

What types of research are excluded?

  • Research to answer enquiries not exceeding 1 hour

  • Research requiring less than 7 hours (1 day) of work time in total

  • Individual involvement in research already agreed by the Management Team as part of wider programmes – including market research, routine development work and project evaluation, or as part of a larger project

Such research will normally be managed within an individual’s Work Programme and agreed with their Line Manager.

The aim of these guidelines is to better manage research and to focus it on priority areas.

It is the responsibility of Line Managers to identify when research proposals require Senior Management Team approval. Examples of such major work may include:


  1. Research involving absence from the workplace for several weeks

  2. Research involving significant financial costs (even if externally-funded)

  3. Research running over a significant period

  4. Research which supports an individual’s CPD, but which does not fit with Service priorities

It is important that a Preliminary Research Proposal is completed for all research proposals discussed with Line Managers.

    1. Enquiry Services

The answering of enquiries for the public is an important and popular service. All enquirers are our customers and should expect the highest standard of customer service. However, some enquiries may require considerable resources to answer. If enquiries require more than a one hour period to answer, the enquirer should be informed. The options available may be:

  • a lower level of information is supplied

  • the enquirer is provided with support to find information themselves

  • a charge is agreed with the enquirer for Bolton Library & Museum Services to undertake research on their behalf (see scale of charges – Appendix 5)

  • the enquirer is provided with contacts (individuals or organisations) who may undertake the research on their behalf, usually for a fee

Exceptions to this would be enquiries from commercial organisations or for commercial uses where charges would always be levied.

What can an enquirer expect for free?



  • One hour of staff time

  • Small numbers of photocopies, or a brief written report

Common sense must prevail as the over-riding principles are of good customer care, not income generation.

The service will be monitored continuously and opportunities identified to both improve the service and make it more efficient. This will include:



  • More information on the Bolton Library & Museum Services website to answer common queries, or links to suitable pages

  • Information sheets for the most common enquiries

  • Gallery exhibits to help with common enquiries

  • Greater involvement of Museums Assistants (and possibly volunteers) in handling many routine enquiries

  • Provision of public facilities to enable more individuals to research their own enquiries in the Resource Centre

  • Joint working with other museums to offer a more comprehensive service and to share expertise and workload

6.6 External Research

All proposals for external research must be made in writing or by e-mail using the External Research Proposal Form (Appendix 2).

The idea behind this process is to:


  • monitor and log research on collections

  • encourage research that adds value to our collections

  • ensure that research does not needlessly damage collections, nor exceed agreed ethical and legal guidelines

Considerations for external research should include:

  • time required to supervise research

  • the outputs of the research

  • resources required from Bolton Library & Museum Services for the research (bench space, consumables, safety equipment etc.)

  • can the research be served better by loaning collection items to the researcher?

  • can the research be served better by loaning items to another organisation with more suitable facilities where the researcher can access them?

If resources cannot be provided in Bolton for the research to be completed or if the researcher cannot visit for geographical reasons then loan of collection items should be considered. The Loans must be administered through the formal Loans Procedures, managed through TMS and due diligence must be applied in consideration of:

  • potential damage to items in transit

  • suitability of an item for loan (fragility, or other risk)

  • insurance of items

  • agreed processes and procedures to be used on items and safeguards or appropriate supervision

  • references and quality control to be applied in respect of borrowers and researchers

Risk and Condition Assessments must be completed prior to any loan for research.

An appropriate solution may be to lend the object to another Accredited Museum or Archive where suitable facilities are available, nearer to the researcher, and where an appropriate level of professional care and supervision can be ensured.



7. How it all works

7.1Internal research requests

All research covered by this policy requires formal agreement with a person’s Line Manager and will form part of that person’s Individual Work Plan. A Preliminary Research Proposal Form must be completed for discussion with your Line Manager (Appendix 1).

The Line Manager will judge when research proposals are major enough to be forwarded for consideration by the Museum Management Team. This will only happen where the project is especially significant in terms of time commitments, costs, resource needs or other issues.

Once a research project is agreed, it will form a key part of an Individual’s Work Plan and may also form part of a person’s Personal Development Plan.



7.2External Research Requests

Individual staff will deal with a variety of enquiries and requests that fall outside this Research Policy. However, it is essential that any informal visits that escalate into research work must be a part of this system.

Line Managers will make decisions about research requests at this stage, in conjunction with individual staff.

The Management Team will approve or refuse research requests. However, in the case of requests requiring sampling or analysis, where the Team feels that they have insufficient evidence or experience to make a decision or where the researcher challenges a refusal; the Research Review Panel will be convened to inform the decision. The researcher will be informed of this as it is likely to delay the decision.

Decisions to approve or refuse research requests will normally be made within ten working days from the receipt of a formal written or e-mailed request.

7.3Research Review Panel

This will normally consist of a member of the Museum Management Team; Conservator; relevant Collections Access Officer; external advisor(s) and/or expert(s) from appropriate institutions. Decisions will be recorded and available to research applicants.



Appendix 1

Bolton Library & Museum Services

Preliminary Research Proposal

Proposer’s name:



Project title:




Research aims for the project:


Brief description of project:


Proposed start and finish dates for research: Start Finish



Estimated time required : hours/days



Estimated costs: £



What will the research deliver? (exhibition, publication, display etc):



Names and links to any associated projects/ work programmes




Names and affiliations of any collaborators/ partners



Which other people may you need support from for the research?



Is it likely that the research will involve:



  • Sampling & analysis Yes  No 

  • Photography or video of objects Yes  No 

  • Collection items leaving the museum Yes  No 

  • Work on human remains or tissues Yes  No 




Appendix 2 – Detailed Research Proposal Form

Applicant Details – Please complete


frame1
Project Information
frame2
frame3
Object or Collection Information and Technical Details
frame4
Applicant Signature
frame5
Bolton Library & Museum Services use only
frame6
frame7
frame8

Appendix 3 – APPLICATION FOR SAMPLING AND ANALYSIS

Bolton Library & Museum Services (Bolton Council)


  1. In keeping with its mission and corporate aims, Bolton Library & Museum Services encourages the responsible use of its collections for learning, teaching, and research. Bolton Library & Museum Services is also committed to superior standards of collections care and professional ethics, as set forth in the Museums Association’s Code of Ethics for Museums and the Society of Archivists Code of Conduct.

  2. This application form must be filled in by anyone requesting permission to carry out scientific analysis on the collections of Bolton Library & Museum Services, including sampling from objects and destructive analysis, which is here defined as analysis that will alter the physical nature of the sample obtained or of the object itself. If the object(s) leave Bolton Library & Museum Services for analysis, a Loan Agreement must also be in place.

  3. Before any sampling or analysis can occur, this application form must be completed, submitted to the curator of the relevant collection, and approved by the Research Review Panel of Bolton Library & Museum Services. Researchers should allow at least 4 weeks from submission of the application for Bolton Library & Museum Services to reach a decision.

  4. Analytical techniques and the collection and preparation of samples must minimize the level of risk to objects in the collections of Bolton Library & Museum Services.

  5. Wherever possible, samples should be taken at Bolton Library & Museum Services and in the presence of the conservator and relevant collections access officer. Bolton Library & Museum Services may require that the in-house conservator carries out the sampling.

  6. Samples and any remains from analysis must be returned to Bolton Library & Museum Services within 6 months of the procedure being carried out. Samples should be returned in a format appropriate for long-term storage, except in cases where the facilities of Bolton Library & Museum Services are unsuitable for the material in its post-analysis state.

  7. Researchers must provide Bolton Library & Museum Services with a copy of all images in original format (X-ray, transparency, print, digital, etc.), and any data sets, analytical results, report, thesis, or publication (or the relevant parts thereof) arising from research and analysis carried out on objects from the collections of Bolton Library & Museum Services. These will become part of the archival records attached to each object and must be sent to Bolton Library & Museum Services within 6 months of preparation (for results and reports), submission (for theses), or publication. In the case of DNA sampling, researchers must submit the DNA sequence to an approved database such as GenBank or EMBL–Bank, following consultation with and approval by Bolton Library & Museum Services.

  8. All reports, theses, and publications must credit Bolton Library & Museum Services and cite objects by their Bolton Library & Museum Services accession numbers. Permission to reproduce images of objects from the collections of Bolton Library & Museum Services must be sought separately, and a reproduction fee may apply.

  9. Bolton Library & Museum Services reserves copyright and all other commercial, moral, and intellectual property rights to material in its collections. This includes samples extracted from these materials by any third party.

  10. English law shall apply.

Applicant Details
frame9
Project Information
frame10
frame11
Object Information and Technical Details
frame12
Applicant Signature
frame13
Bolton Library & Museum Services use only
frame14
frame15
frame16

Appendix 4 – APPLICATION FOR SAMPLING HUMAN REMAINS

Bolton Museum & Archives - Bolton Council


  1. In keeping with its mission and corporate aims, Bolton Library & Museum Services encourages the responsible use of its collections for learning, teaching, and research. Bolton Library & Museum Services is also committed to superior standards of collections care and professional ethics, as set forth in the Museums Association’s Code of Ethics for Museums and the Society of Archivists Code of Conduct.

  2. This application form must be filled in by anyone requesting permission to carry out scientific analysis on the human remains collections of Bolton Library & Museum Services, including sampling from remains and destructive analysis, which is here defined as analysis that will alter the physical nature of the sample obtained or of the remains themselves. If the remains leave Bolton Library & Museum Services for analysis, a Loan Agreement must also be in place.

  3. Before any sampling or analysis can occur, this application form must be completed, submitted to the collections access officer responsible for the relevant collection, and approved by the Research Review Panel of Bolton Library & Museum Services. Researchers should allow at least 4 weeks from submission of the application for Bolton Library & Museum Services to reach a decision.

  4. Analytical techniques and the collection and preparation of samples must minimize the level of risk to the collections of Bolton Library & Museum Services.

  5. Wherever possible, samples should be taken at Bolton Library & Museum Services and in the presence of a collections access officer and conservator. Bolton Library & Museum Services may require that an in-house conservator carries out the sampling.

  6. Samples and any remains from analysis must be returned to Bolton Library & Museum Services within 6 months of the procedure being carried out. Samples should be returned in a format appropriate for long-term storage, except in cases where the facilities of Bolton Library & Museum Services are unsuitable for the material in its post-analysis state.

  7. Researchers must provide Bolton Library & Museum Services with a copy of all images in original format (X-ray, transparency, print, digital, etc.), and any data sets, analytical results, report, thesis, or publication (or the relevant parts thereof) arising from research and analysis carried out on the collections of Bolton Library & Museum Services. These will become part of the archival records attached to each object and must be sent to Bolton Library & Museum Services within 6 months of preparation (for results and reports), submission (for theses), or publication. In the case of DNA sampling, researchers must submit the DNA sequence to an approved database such as GenBank or EMBL–Bank, following consultation with and approval by Bolton Library & Museum Services.

  8. All reports, theses, and publications must credit Bolton Library & Museum Services and cite the object(s) by Bolton Library & Museum Services accession number. Permission to reproduce images of Bolton Library & Museum Services objects must be sought separately, and a reproduction fee may apply.

  9. Bolton Library & Museum Services reserves copyright and all other commercial, moral, and intellectual property rights to material in its collections. This includes samples extracted from these materials by any third party.

  10. English law shall apply.

Applicant Details
frame17
Project Information
frame18
frame19
Specific Information and Technical Details
frame20
Applicant Signature
frame21
Bolton Library & Museum Services use only
frame22
frame23
frame24

Appendix 5 – Scale of charges for research work undertaken on behalf of external researchers

Charges are levied for the following services. These rates were current on 11th Feb 2015. Rates are published on our website (http://www.boltonmuseums.org.uk/archives/fees-and-charges) or are available on request. Further detail for history centre charges are also on the website.












Paper photocopies


Per print A4

Per print A3



£0.20

£0.30


Digital scans - monochrome prints


Per print A4

Per print A3



As Above

Digital scans – colour prints


Per print A4

Per print A3

Digital scans or copies of records or images – digital copies


£0.40

£0.60


Copy Certificates




£25.00

Certification of copies of records


This is in addition to the charge(s) for the copy(ies) of the record or extract

£25.00

Enquiry research (First 20minutes of any enquiry are free enquiries taking longer than 20mins will be charged)

30 minutes

Rate per hour

Commercial rate per hour

Commercial rate – minimum charge



£15.00

£30.00


£60.00

£20.00


Talks to external groups




POA

Family History Research Introductory Training Session




POA

Photographs

Researchers wishing to use their own camera to take photo images

Note: We do not offer a photograph-taking service


Per click: £1.00

Half day: £5.00

Full day: £10.00


Reproduction charges




POA


Appendix 6 – section from – Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in Museums (DCMS: 2005)

2.9 Research and sampling

Research on human remains may benefit from analysis requiring sampling, which in some cases may be destructive. Such actions should only be undertaken to the highest standards by appropriately qualified staff and students who will be able to remove the smallest quantity of material necessary for the scientific purpose.

All holding institutions should ensure that the scientific justifications for the removal of samples from human remains are made in advance and placed on file. Such justifications should be robust and reasons for approval given should be fully recorded. Justifications with the application, sample location and size, the sampling process and eventually the full records of the results of analysis are to be kept with the records for the particular remains sampled. In particular:


  • Can the research question(s) be addressed using non-destructive techniques? Destructive sampling should only be contemplated if this is not so.

  • Any programme of destructive analysis on human remains should take place within a planned research programme and should have a realistic prospect of producing useful knowledge.

  • If the feasibility of a technique is questionable, but it is nevertheless deemed worthy of further investigation, consideration should be given to conducting a pilot study on a small number of samples before permission for a full programme entailing destruction of larger amounts is given.

  • Only the quantity of material considered necessary to address the research questions should be taken as a sample. Any material removed but not destroyed during analysis should be retained in the collection.

All sampling should be fully documented so future researchers will know what has been taken. The skeletal element sampled should be fully recorded and measured prior to sampling. Under some circumstances (for example if the skeleton is intended for museum display or further metric work might be compromised) consideration should be given to producing a cast of parts that will be damaged or destroyed.

Research agendas, frameworks and strategies

Any museum holding human remains for research reasons should construct and make public a clear research framework for their use, or show how remains relate to an existing research framework. It would be normal to review these frameworks regularly and ensure they stay relevant. Research potential will relate to both in house research by staff and students, and research carried out by the scientific community more widely (such as visiting researchers.)

This framework would normally include, although not necessarily organised in this way: a Resource Assessment that identifies the nature of holdings and the current state of knowledge for the research fields to which they relate (this will draw upon the inventory, below); a Research Agenda that states the areas of research that the material is considered to have the potential to address; and a Research Strategy that identifies priorities and methods for undertaking research. Many existing regional and national research frameworks exist to which individual museums may wish to refer or become linked.

Research Register

Museums should maintain a publicly accessible research register. It should include:



  • Project name

  • Research objectives

  • Date of research

  • Outputs – publications and data holdings

  • Research involving sampling





The database is protected by copyright ©dentisty.org 2016
send message

    Main page