Data Protection and Historians


The Royal Historical Society (RHS) has produced a set of guidelines to help historians understand how data protection legislation may be relevant to their work, and its allowances for historical research.


The RHS guidelines outline historians’ responsibilities under data protection legislation, and the exemptions and allowances that apply to historical research.

The document also includes a checklist (Section 13) to help historians fulfil data protection requirements related to historical research.


Who is this document for?

  • Academic historians, independent historical researchers and genealogical researchers who access, store, or work with historical documents that might identify living individuals;
  • Undergraduate and postgraduate students using primary historical material;
  • Tutors responsible for students undertaking historical projects with original research (e.g. final year dissertations);
  • Tutors using historical documents in teaching that identify, or could identify, living individuals;
  • Employers and committees (e.g. with responsibility for funding and ethics approval) wishing to understand exemptions within data protection regulations relating to historical research.
  • Members and Fellows should also be aware of the RHS Statement on Ethics.


Download the Guidelines.


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