Making Collections Accessible

Supporting Research

We are a key information service for those conducting academic, historical, scientific, statistical, family history, and other research, making available our unique archival collections via our research room and online. Research access to archives is managed, with protections in place regarding access to personal data within collections.

Our users include historians, social scientists, postgraduate and undergraduate students, academic staff, the media, local community and heritage groups, local authority staff, those writing books and articles, those preparing heritage projects, lectures, and conferences, and those researching genealogy and family history.

The involvement of UCC in funding the CCCA reflects the fact that we are a major repository for research by students and staff of the university, and other colleges and schools in the region, plus those from other national and international institutions.

Final Archival Processing

The object of archival processing is to ensure, and preserve, the physical and intellectual order and accessibility of an archive. Once preliminary processing is complete, an archive is prioritised, according to its estimated research value and our available resources, for final processing. Final processing involves the full listing, arrangement and indexing of the content and context of an archive by a professionally trained archivist. The output of final processing is a published descriptive list finding aid which is also inputted into our online catalogue database. The descriptive information is very detailed in many cases and includes much information from the content of items including people, dates, places, property and subjects. Archives may also be digitised following or during processing, however, most larger archives remain in hard copy format only. Each archive has a unique collection reference number.

Providing Access for Research

CCCA acquires archives for the benefit of research and local heritage and culture. Collections are processed, listed and indexed at item level before making them available for research. Collections are accessed by researchers, and made available in our research room, under strict terms and conditions. No record less than 30 years old is made available for research, except where a record is by law in the public domain. Archives containing sensitive information or personal data may be access-restricted in accordance with legal requirements and the wishes of the depositor, for a period of up to 100 years. 

Descriptive Lists

A descriptive list is a detailed listing of the contents, structure/arrangement and context of an archive collection, compiled by an archivist. It provides a summary of each document/item/file/series within a collection, including names, content, places, dates and reference numbers. Each item on the list has a unique reference number, which is used by researchers to order material in our research room. To obtain a list of a collection, contact the archivists by email.

Online Catalogue

Our detailed online catalogue finding aid contains details of over 800 archive collections, from collection level down to series, file and item levels. Over 200 catalogue entries are at collection level only, with item lists available in our research room/by email. The catalogue also contains indexes of events, subjects, persons and institutions/organisations. A number of photographic collections have been digitised and are accessible within the catalogue, however, the catalogue is principally a detailed list finding aid of hardcopy material to be accessed in person in our research room.


We have an active programme of collection digitisation with online access.

This programme is currently concentrating on the following:

1) Records from the revolutionary period 1912-1922 as part of our national and local Decade of Centenaries commemorations.

2) Cemetery/burial records, which are a key genealogical/family history resource.

3) Photographic records, such as the Anthony Barry Photographic Archive.

See Online Digital Collections


Processing an Archive collection at Cork City and County Archives
Processing an Archive collection at Cork City and County Archives