We sort the inquiries into three groups by purpose: rights, professional needs, and hobbies.
Rights are defined as questions regarding personal matters (e.g. biological parents), issues concerning salary and pension (e.g. sea duty for sailors), and rights to real estate. In such cases, we perform ordinary archival searches.
Professional needs are defined as questions asked in an occupational context, especially by professional researchers, graduate students, and journalists. For these purposes, we do relevant lookups in the archives. However, our basic assistance to this user group consists in providing guidance on the sources and retrieving material for copying. We take geographical distance into consideration, and so offer more help to individuals who would be significantly inconvenienced by showing up in person. Nevertheless, our staff only provides logistical assistance. The researcher must always perform the actual search herself.
Hobby is defined as all other questions, e.g. related to genealogy. We can not give priority to making great efforts for inquiries of this nature. We may have the time to look up, say, a census return if the name and address are known, but we are not in a position to undertake time-consuming searches. Moreover, we inform users where these data may be found closer to their locations (e.g. in bygdebooks, on the Digital Archive etc.).
You may call us for general information on archives. The National Archives in Oslo also accept inquiries from sailors regarding sea service over the phone. Other than that, we cannot do any archive lookups based on phone inquiries. We request written inquiries by Postal Mail, Fax or e-mail.
Typically, we will respond within three weeks. Questions regarding rights may take somewhat longer. The same applies to petitions for access to restricted material.