There is a fine line between what one archivist or person might consider
vexatious & what another might consider merely eccentric (or even normal!).
Many genuine and respected researchers over the years have sailed
dangerously close to this line and on occasion have even crossed it, whilst
still retaining their public reputations. Likewise there have been those
who have sought demonstrably to misrepresent or distort the evidence they
have gathered but at least in the research room have given every other
appearance of respectability.
Appearance, behavior, intent all merge into the dangerous area of
subjectively. Anyone who has ever worked behind the desk of a public
library will know the vast range of character, capacity, logic, passion and
personal hygene that requires information delivery. In libraries no user
can be denied for any of these reasons. As information providers (albeit of
a different type to librarians) we are obliged within the paramaters of
relevant legislation to meet the requirements of researchers who are
accredited as such by our institutions. If we deny that information to
researchers for reasons other than those listed above then we add an
editorial component to our role which in some cases could be interpreted as
censorship. It is up to critics (in the widest sense of the word) of the
completed project to decide on its worth or veracity, as Mr Irving has
discovered to his cost. This is not an area where we should attempt to
intervene, certainly below the institutional level.
On the issue of vexatiousness, at least twice a year I was obliged to deal
with a researcher who was a retired pilot. He insisted that the laws of
physics were wrong & that the reasons given for an aircraft's ability to
stay in the air were other than those accepted by the scientific community.
He felt he could disprove the accepted laws but as yet had not discovered
the true laws of flight. Not just a nuisance, but a real worry at holiday
time while waiting on the runway!