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New rules on fees and tariffs passed

The previous restrictions on the release of copies to researchers in the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen have now been formally lifted. The International Commission, consisting of eleven member states, which sets down the guidelines for the work of the ITS, agreed to an appropriate revised version of the rules on fees and tariffs at a meeting in Paris. "This shall come into effect immediately," said ITS Director Jean-Luc Blondel.

According to the new rules on fees and tariffs, researchers can obtain copies of documents, "provided that they relate to the subject stated in the research request". More clarity is to be ensured in the future by focussing on a concrete research subject and dispensing with archival terms. "We can thus rule out misunderstandings in the definition of archives", assured Blondel.

The release of copies had been restricted by the old rules on fees and tariffs - introduced in October 2010. According to these, "handing out copies of entire record groups or collections" was "not admissible". This wording proved obstructive in practice, as the ITS did not previously classify its collections based on basic archival terms. An inventory database served as orientation, according to which an individual sheet of paper, or several folders, could be a "whole record group". With the new rules that have now been passed, the ITS has reacted to criticism that had been expressed by researchers concerning the practice of releasing copies.