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Search Room

Opening Hours 9.00 am. – 4.00 pm.

Provide facilities for research by the public at the Head Office in Colombo and at the Branch Office in Kandy.

Archival finding aids, précis, and summary lists, indices and other guides to record groups are available in the Search Room.

Obtaining information from records

Public records deposited in the National Archives are open for the public. Some records are closed for access to the public. In case of closed records they could be consulted after obtaining permission from the head of the records creating institution and with the consent of the Director National Archives. The printed publications and newspapers published in the Island since 1976 to date could be obtained from the National Library and Documentation Centre for reference. If they are not available there one could make a further request from the Department of National Archives. The information in newspapers published prior to 1976 could be obtained from this Department. Books which are not accessible in any other library could also be consulted to in this Department.

Facilities for research  in the Search Room

  • Chronological and alphabetical indices for Sinhala, Tamil and English Newspapers.
  • Indices for Record Groups.
  • Researchers should carry out their own research.
  • Advice will be given by the staff of the Archives, on consulting archival material and finding aids.
  • Micro film reading machines are available in the search room for readers
  • Laptop computers can be used in the search room with the permission of the Director of National Archives.

Printed Publications available in the Search Room

  • Government Gazettes - 1802-1900
  • Blue Books - 1821 – 1937
  • Sessional Papers - 1860 onwards
  • Administration Reports - 1867 onwards
  • Hansard - 1870 onwards
  • Civil Lists 1863 -1962
  • Almanac - 1815 -1861
  • Ordinances and Parliamentary Acts (from 1949 up to date)
  • Other publications -1885 onwards

Search room rules

  • The Reader must possess a valid Reader’s Ticket.
  • The Reader must sign the attendance register every day he/she visit the Search Room, regardless of whether to consult any document or not.
  • The Reader must maintain silence in the Search Room.
  • The Reader must not smoke, drink or consume food (including beetle leaves, sweets/chewing gum) in the Search Room.
  • Under 18 years of age should enter the Search Room only with the written permission of the Director, National Archives or of the officer in charge of the Search Room. Educational visit by school children must be arranged in advance.
  • The Reader must leave any briefcases, large bags/dockets and telephones with the security post at the entrance where a visitor’s pass will be given.Will also have to surrender the National Identity Card/Official Identity/Passport/Driving License to obtain a visitor’s pass. You will be given your baggage back only after surrendering your visitor’s pass and the receipt for your baggage’s to the security post

  • A Reader must complete a separate Requisition form for each item required to consult Archival Records, library books, legal deposit copies. Please request the officer in charge of the Search Room for these requisition forms.
  • Except by special permission from the officer on duty at the Search Room, no more than three different items or volumes will be produced at the same time to a researcher same rule applies to items or volumes (documents bound together or Individual items such as Maps, Plans, Library books)
  • When you have finished with the item(s) requested, you must be hand over them to the officer on duty at the Search Room. Until you have done this you will  be responsible for the document(s).
  • If a Reader wishes to continue work on an item(s) on the following day, you must complete a “Reservation” slip.
  • Requests for Archival Documents must be handed over to the officer on duty before 15.00 hrs. on the day of production. Archival documents must be returned to the officer in charge of the Search Room by the 16.00 hrs.

  • Searchers must not write on or mark any original Archival documents in any way or take documents out of the Search Room.
  • Searchers must not use liquid ink, fountain, ball point or fiber tip, highlighting pens, correcting fluid or erasers in the search room.Only pencils should be used to take down notes; and they should sharpened at the designated location in the search room. If it is your first visit to the search room, and you do not have a pencil with you,you may request the officer in charge of the search room for a pencil.
  • Searchers must be careful not to damage documents; not lean on or dog ear them, fold them, place them on your lap or with your own notes and papers.
  • Searchers must keep unbound or loose papers in the order in which they are delivered to you. If the papers are disordered, you should bring the matter immediately to the notice of the officer on duty.
  • Searchers must report to the officer on duty any defect in a document or of a damage to a document.
  • The officer on duty may require that certain fragile/brittle or especially valuable documents cannot be examined must be examined, under special conditions.

  • Tracing of archival documents is not allowed
  • No documents will be photocopied without the written permission of the Director, National Archives. Normally requests for photocopies are not permitted. Requests for microfilming and computer scanning must be submitted on a special request form from the public relations office. Requests may be refused if there is a risk of damage to the document.
  • Using of camera and video for photographing documents is only permitted with the written permission of the Director, National Archives. (costs for camera and video of documents should be requested from the public relations office.

  • Use of typewriters is not allowed.
  • Use of Computers, including battery operated computers is permitted with the permission of the officer on duty, provided they do not cause disturbance in the Search Room.
  • Use of Dictaphones in the Search Room is permitted with the permission of the Director, National Archives.
  • Use of video cameras is not allowed in the Search Room.

  • Requests to publish manuscript/documents where copyright subsist, must be referred to the Director, National Archives.
  • Material retried to or used in publications must be acknowledged.
  • It is requested that deposit a copy of any thesis, dissertation or publication in the library of the National Archives.
  • When information or text derived from the holdings of the National Archives is published or cited in publications, users are requested to use the following form of acknowledgement.
    Name of National Archives/ Record Group Number/ Item Number(s)
    e.g. SLNA 1/500. (Abbreviated as SLNA)

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Archival Records are issued to the readers subject to the following rules

General Conditions:

Last Updated on Friday, 30 May 2014 06:26  

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Last Update: 04-09-2017.