Using the Archives

Information on how to access material in the IET Archives and what to expect when you visit. 

The IET Archives are open to members of the IET, academic researchers and any member of the public with a genuine research topic. The majority of our collections are stored off-site with the core collections and rare books libraries remaining at the IET Archives Centre. We require at least one week's notice to retrieve items in preparation for your visit. 

Before your visit

Before you visit us please search our online catalogue for the material that you require. Please contact us to book an appointment allowing one week's notice prior to your visit with the details of the material that you would like to consult. 

During your visit

On your visit you will be shown to our supervised researcher desk and asked to sign our visitor book and read our rules which are summarised below.

The reason for these rules is to ensure that the unique and sometimes fragile material is handled correctly for their future preservation and access for others.

Please also be aware that items from the IET Archives are not available for loan. It may be possible to have items copied, please refer to the Archivist for details.  

IET Archives reading room rules

  • Please use pencil only for making notes
  • Food is not permitted in the archive office. Water can be drunk in the archive office but not in the vicinity of the archive material.
  • Please handle documents with care.  Do not force volumes to open flat.  Cushions and weights are available to support volumes.
  • Please do not lean on any documents, especially while making notes.
  • Please use the gloves provided while handling photographs.
  • Please do not remove any documents from the archive office.
  • Depending on the nature of the material copies can be made by the archivist. A reprographics form should be completed and there will be a charge of 50 pence per sheet for copying. Scans can also be made by arrangement.
  • Please ask the supervising archivist if you have any questions.
  • Please respect other archive office users, for example please put any mobile phones on mute.

Enquiry service and research guides

We also offer an enquiry service for general historical enquiries. Please contact us in the first instance to see if we can help you.

Alternatively, you may like to read our research guides that provide information on popular topics such as family history, the history of the Institution, telegraphy, Women in Engineering and Michael Faraday.