University Library

Special Collections & Archives

About Our Operating Principles and Standards

As part of the UCSC Library, Special Collections & Archives shares the commitment to develop, organize, preserve, and secure its collections and to provide public service, instruction, and outreach to local, national, and international scholarly communities. (See UCSC University Library Mission).

Special Collections & Archives embraces the philosophy, standards, procedures, and practices as outlined in:


Special Collections & Archives acquires materials by gift, transfer, and purchase in accordance with general library and institutional procedures. (see: Donate a Collection or University Archives).

Since all Gifts-in-Kind are accepted by the UC Regents, the governing gift acceptance policies are included in the Development Policy Manual.

Decisions on what is collected are made by  designated library personnel and are based on criteria such as the following: relationship to the campus’s academic plans, relevance and consistency with the goals and activities of the Library, the importance of material for scholarly research, maintaining the integrity of extant collections, the commitment to providing regional resources, and the ability to catalog, conserve, house, and promote material in a proper manner.

Gifts-in-Kind given to the Regents of the University of California are irrevocable, and are to be used exclusively to benefit UCSC and are for inclusion, access and use in the collection of the University Library. Conveyance of rights, title, and interest associated with a donation is addressed within the Deed of Gift.


Special Collections & Archives endeavors to accession, arrange, describe, catalog, conserve and preserve newly acquired and legacy collections of all formats and subjects. A variety of tools are employed to inform users of collection and archive content. To increase delivery and availability of analog material, selected items are optimally transferred to digital formats as resources permit, and both analog and digital forms are archived. Internal databases and inventories are used to document information about the work, its content, provenance, rights, condition, location, etc.

Materials are described in the University Library's local catalog CruzCat, in the UC union catalog Melvyl, and/or through electronic finding aids available via the Online Archive of California (OAC). Digitized items, as well as additional descriptive information are available in the Library’s Digital Collections in CONTENTdm.

In describing and arranging its collections, Special Collections uses standardized language and authority control found in Library of Congress authority files and in the Getty Vocabularies. Information is presented in formats such as MARC (machine-readable cataloging) and EAD (Encoded Archival Description.) Cataloging Cultural Objects: A Guide to Describing Cultural Works and Their Images, the OAC’s Best Practices, and the California Digital Library's (CDL) Guidelines for Digital Objects inform processing staff in description and arrangement.

Special Collections & Archives attempts to process collections and archives expeditiously as possible. Funding and other resources (state funding and specialized external support), extent, original order and documentation, donor restrictions, and condition and format of material are factors which influence the speed and timeliness of the  department’s processing effort.

Reproduction and Use Policy

UCSC Special Collections & Archives supports research, teaching, scholarship, publication, and artistic production involving the use of materials from our collections. We welcome you to use materials in our collections that are in the public domain [1] and to make fair use [2] of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law [3]. Please cite all reproductions, “Courtesy Special Collections, University Library, University of California Santa Cruz. [collection name.]”

All reproduction requests are subject to review. Material may be reproduced when, in the judgment of Special Collections staff, it supports the research, teaching and learning mission of the University of California, but:

  • Will not duplicate an inordinate portion of the material
  • Is not prevented by U.S. copyright law
  • Does not infringe on restrictions imposed by the donor of the material

All reproduction requests must be submitted through the UCSC Special Collections Request System [4] via the Copy/Scan Order form. This request form constitutes an agreement that you will not reproduce, transfer, distribute, broadcast, publicly display, offer for sale, or otherwise use or publish any material subject to copyright, or a portion thereof, in excess of fair use [2], as defined by copyright law [3], without the express permission [5] of the copyright holder.

Use, Copyright, and Attribution


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of fair use, that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Many of the materials held by UCSC Special Collections & Archives may be protected by United States Copyright Law and/or by the copyright laws of other countries. Copyright law protects unpublished as well as published materials. While UCSC Special Collections & Archives owns the materials in our collections, we typically do not own the copyright to these materials, except where it has been explicitly transferred to the UC Regents, or when the material was created by the university.

UCSC Special Collections & Archives cannot grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material whose copyright it does not hold or material deemed to be in the public domain. Provision of copies of materials in UCSC Special Collections & Archives does not imply permission to utilize materials in excess of fair use. The researcher is solely responsible for determining the copyright status of materials and, if necessary, obtaining permission to use material from the copyright holder. Written permission from the copyright holder is required for publication, distribution, or other use of copyrighted items beyond that allowed by fair use.

Due to restrictions imposed by donors of certain collections in our repository, UCSC Special Collections & Archives cannot produce reproductions without prior written permission from the copyright holder for these collections. This restriction applies to specific collections listed on our website.

UCSC Special Collections & Archives cannot facilitate requests for permission on behalf of the researcher, and is unable to conduct copyright searches or counsel users in the application of copyright law. Upon request, we may provide available rights contact information, subject to the privacy needs of our donors. UCSC Special Collections & Archives does not warranty the accuracy of such information and shall not be responsible for any inaccurate information.

Digital Scanning for Research or Publication

Requests for digital scans must be made through the UCSC Special Collections Request System. Orders can take from one to three weeks to be processed. We do not perform rush orders.

Digital scans for publication are made as high resolution TIFF files according to the Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials: Creation of Raster Image Master Files from the Federal Agencies Digitization Initiative (FADGI) Still Image Working Group. Files are delivered via the UCSC Special Collections Request System. Please consult our fee schedule for information about reproduction and permission costs. All orders must be paid in advance. Reproduction work begins after payment.

Camera Use

Requests to photograph materials in UCSC Special Collections & Archives must be made in advance of your visit through the UCSC Special Collections Request System by checking the “Personal Camera Request” box on the request form. Please read our Policy for the use of personal cameras in the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room. Submitting your request constitutes an agreement to abide by the terms of this policy.

Flash, scanners, laptop cameras, video cameras and tripods are not permitted. Cell phones are only permitted for photography if permission has been granted. Permission to photograph does not constitute permission to publish.


We are unable to accommodate on-site photocopy requests. There is no self service copying in Special Collections; photocopying of materials is done in-house by Special Collections staff as time and condition of the materials permit. Photocopying is performed at the discretion of Special Collections staff. Photocopies are made solely for the personal use of the individual researcher. Permission to photocopy does not constitute permission to publish.

Crediting Policy

All reproduced and published items (in print or electronic format) must be credited as follows: “Courtesy Special Collections, University Library, University of California Santa Cruz. [collection name]”

You must not use the name of Special Collections & Archives, the UCSC University Library, or UCSC in any manner which creates any false association between you and the image, materials, Special Collections, the Library, and/or UCSC,  or that incorrectly implies any sponsorship or endorsement by Special Collections, the Library, UCSC, or any third party rights holder.

A complimentary copy of any publication or reproduction using Special Collections materials should be sent to the University Library at the time of publication.

If you are the copyright owner and believe our website has not properly attributed your work to you or has used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please contact with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.


In receiving a reproduction from our holdings, you assume all responsibility for infringement of copyright or other rights in your use of the material, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless UCSC Special Collections & Archives and the UCSC University Library, its agents and employees against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of these reproductions.







Security and Preservation

Special Collections & Archives protects all materials for which it is responsible and makes every effort to guard them against physical damage, deterioration, and theft. The collections managed by Special Collections are mixed in format, size, date of creation and publication, and physical condition. They are maintained in secured, climate controlled locations with optimum storage conditions meeting professional and industry standards; archival housing and containers appropriate for long-term preservation of material are used. (See: National Media LabInternational Organization for Standardization (ISO) StandardsAmerican National Standards Institute (ANSI); guidelines from the Image Permanence Institute (IPI); and SAA publications and products catalog on preservation)

Use of Special Collections & Archives materials is restricted to areas within the department. Requests for exceptions to this policy will be subject to evaluation by the Library and the UCSC Office of Risk Management. The Library reserves the right to deny requests for offsite use due to security and preservation concerns.

Special Collections is responsible for protecting the confidentiality of researchers and materials as required by legal statutes, donor agreements, and policies of the Library (see for example: the Borrower's Privacy Notice.


Special Collections & Archives offers access to the library's most unique holdings, including a range of textual, media, graphic and artifactual primary source material in analog and digital formats for educational, private study and research purposes. The department supports UCSC’s academic programs and its instructional and scholarship interests.

It collects, organizes, describes, preserves and promotes collections that hold particular historical and cultural significance; houses and provides access to publications and archives focusing on the geographic region of Santa Cruz; and serves as the repository for UCSC administrative archives and records.


Special Collections & Archives strives to promote open access to its services and collections in its care in accordance with legal requirements, in compliance with UCSC Special Collections & Archives donor agreements as noted in Deeds of Gift, and in adherence to Library policies (See the Library Lending Code). 

Owing to the individual or collective value or the age and fragility of physical items in the collections, materials must be maintained under special conditions. Materials do not circulate but are available in Special Collections’ Reading Room to all users of the Library. Special conditions for use as well as handling requirements must be followed by all researchers. (See our Conditions of Use). 

These rules are designed to protect and maintain the integrity of collections and provide for long-term access, while providing the best possible service to users.