Skip to main content


Special Collections & Archives at UCSC

policies, principles, mission

On this page you'll find policies on:

Access Policy

Special Collections requires that all researchers follow our Access Policy outlined here. It is designed to protect collections while providing the best possible service to users.

  • All Special Collections & Archives materials are served only in our Reading Room; they do not circulate.

  • All items are subject to examination upon entering or leaving the Reading Room.

  • Advance notice is required for use of some material in Special Collections so that it can be retrieved from storage: Map Collection requests must be submitted 2 business days in advance, items stored remotely (at "Special Collections NRLF") require a week or more, and unprocessed archival collections require two weeks or more.  

  • Requests made 15 minutes or less before closing will be filled on the following business day.

  • The Reading Room is reserved for the use of Special Collections material only.

  • All patrons must present a government issued ID or UCSC ID when checking in to the Reading Room.

  • The Aeon online registration form constitutes an agreement by the researcher to comply with the Library's stated policies for use of its materials. 

  • Place all personal property, including briefcases, computer cases, backpacks, purses, notebooks, cell phones, coats and umbrellas in the storage cabinet drawers provided at the entrance. Laptop computers may be used. Scanners, pens, highlighters, mechanical pencils, and all user-supplied manual writing devices are not permitted. Pencils and paper are provided to all users.

  • Smoking, eating and drinking are prohibited in Special Collections. No food or beverages may be placed in the storage drawers.

  • Users may access one folder of manuscript material at a time, one box at a time.

  • Handle and read materials only at the reading room tables. Limit handling of items to the minimum necessary for your research and exercise all possible care to prevent damage to materials. Gloves provided by Special Collections must be worn when handling photographic or other fragile material. When in doubt about proper handling of material, please consult the Staff.

  • Do not mark, take notes on or trace on top of Special Collections material. All material must remain in plain view on the table; do not place items in your lap or hold them up. Nothing may be placed on materials except bookweights. Book cradles may be required for certain materials.

  • Manuscript and other loose-leaf material require special care. Please maintain their existing order and arrangement, and use place-holders provided by Staff. Suspected irregularities in arrangement should be brought to the attention of the Staff.

  • Return all material to the Special Collections Staff at the reference desk when you are finished using them, before leaving for the day, or if you are leaving the Reading Room for an extended period.

Privacy and Personally Identifiable Information

Manuscript collections that include twentieth and twenty-first century archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal, state, and/or global "right to privacy" laws, including but not limited to certain educational, medical, financial, criminal, attorney-client, and personnel records (Social Security numbers, bank account and credit card numbers, employment and medical records, etc.) Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to individuals without the consent of those individuals may give rise to legal claims and liability, for example, publication of defamatory content concerning an individual's private life, or publication of confidential and sensitive personally-identifiable information about an individual (such as social security number or health information).

UCSC Special Collections & Archives staff have taken care to identify and, in some cases, remove Personally Identifiable Information found within archival collections when undertaking archival processing work. However, privacy protected information may be revealed during use of the archival collections, particularly in those collections that are unprocessed or have been minimally processed. Researchers who find sensitive personal information in any collection should immediately notify a UCSC Special Collections & Archives staff member.

You agree to make no notes or other record of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections. In accessing collections in our repository, you assume all responsibility for infringement of right to privacy in your use of the material, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless UCSC Library Special Collections & Archives, its agents and employees against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses arising out of use of archival collections held by UCSC Special Collections & Archives.

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.







Outgoing Loan Program

Through its Outgoing Loan Program, Special Collections & Archives collaborates with educational and cultural organizations wishing to include Library collections in their own exhibits. This program helps fulfill the Library’s mission of supporting research, teaching, and learning by promoting the discovery and use of Library collections in new contexts.


All loan requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. Approvals are based on criteria which include the condition of the item being loaned, the nature and duration of the exhibit, and the facilities and security of the borrowing organization.


The borrowing organization is responsible for loan costs, including but not limited to preparation and conservation treatment, insurance, packing/crating, transportation/shipping, customs fees, and organizational courier expenses.


Please submit loan requests at least four months in advance.


Please include the following information in a loan request:

  • borrowing organization’s name and address

  • name, title, email address, and phone number for curator/staff member overseeing the exhibit

  • exhibit title and a brief description of the theme and content

  • exhibit opening and closing dates

  • description of requested objects: author or artist, title, location within collection, or other identifying details

  • description of the borrowing institution’s plans to display the materials

  • completed American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Facility Report


Please direct all loan requests and related questions to:

Jessica Pigza, Outreach & Exhibits Librarian,

Born Digital Access Policy

Born digital archival records are files created in an electronic context, such as word-processed documents or digital photographs, and are distinct from digitized material. Access to and use of born digital records is subject to the UCSC Special Collections & Archives standard policies for Access, Reproduction and Use, and Use of Personal Cameras. Access to born digital files on original carriers is prohibited; users must request to view access copies.

Requesting Access to Born Digital Records

Requests to access born digital records must be submitted through the UCSC Special Collections Request System (Aeon). Due to the specialized access requirements for born digital records and evolving tools and standards of this work, users must submit access requests in advance of their visit. Requests to access processed born digital records must be submitted at least two weeks in advance. For unprocessed born digital records, allow at least six weeks for staff to review the files prior to access. Some files may require reformatting before they can be accessed. Technical limitations may hinder the Library's ability to provide access to some digital files.

Library users will access born digital records on a dedicated workstation in the UCSC Special Collections & Archives reading room. The workstation is intended to provide access to born digital archival records for research and educational purposes only. Users may not modify, rearrange, edit, or make copies of born digital archival records. To ensure security of the records, USB ports and wifi are disabled on the workstation. Users may not take screenshots of the workstation screen, however, photography of the screen is allowed. Users must read and agree to the Policy for the Use of Personal Cameras in the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room