Working with archives and special collections may lead to surprise, excitement, even confusion as new ideas and questions emerge in your mind. But you shouldn’t be confused by our Reading Room operations, so what follows is a brief guide to how to be a researcher in the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room. As a member of our researcher community, each researcher agrees to follow these procedures.
The most important tip: Always remember that we are here to support your learning. Please ask us questions and tell us what you’re trying to do; we want to help you succeed.
If you haven’t already done so in advance, you will register as a researcher when you arrive for your first visit. Registering as a researcher includes sharing with us your name and, if possible, a way to contact you (like an email address).
We provide pencils and paper for taking notes. Feel free to bring and use your own computer or phone/camera for note taking or to take reference photos of most collections. We’ll always let you know if a collection cannot be photographed. (Also, we can sometimes provide digital scans of small amounts of material; ask us if you’re interested.)
We provide a safe and visible area within the reading room for you to set aside your food, drink, coats, bags, and other belongings while you work.
You cannot borrow and take home any Special Collections & Archives collections, but you can place them on hold for future visits. Talk with us before you leave for the day to let us know if we should keep your materials on hold.
Most of our materials are stored in McHenry Library and can be brought to the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room within 15 minutes or so. However, these materials do require advance notice:
All our researchers help preserve our collections for the future by handling materials gently to prevent accidental damage. Specific ways we ask for your help are:
We may provide additional handling instructions, depending on the materials you are using.
Last revised on September 10, 2021. Please send feedback for future revisions to us at email@example.com.
Special Collections & Archives welcomes researchers to make use of personal cameras to augment their research process and gather information. It is the researcher’s responsibility to maintain thorough notes on the identity and location of materials they photograph. Researchers taking photographs must abide by the following terms regarding photography in the Reading Room:
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  and to make fair use  of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law .
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  via the Reproduction Order/Request 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 , as defined by copyright law , without the express permission  of the copyright holder.
Use, Copyright, and Attribution
WARNING CONCERNING COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS
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.
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.
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.
Special Collections & Archives welcomes researchers to make use of personal cameras to augment their research process and gather information. Reader registration and use of the UCSC Special Collections Request System constitutes an agreement to abide by the terms of our Access and Camera Use Policies.
Some materials may not be photographed due to restrictions in donor agreements or interlibrary loan rules, or may require written permission from the copyright holder before photographing; learn more about restricted collections here and ask Staff for assistance.
Personal cameras and camera phones, silenced and with flash disabled, are permitted. No scanners, laptop cameras, video cameras, flash, lights, extension cords, audio recorders, or stools are allowed. 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.
All reproduced and published items (in print or electronic format) must be credited as follows:
If copyright is held by the Regents of the University of California:
© Regents of the University of California. Courtesy Special Collections, University Library, University of California Santa Cruz. [collection name]
If copyright is held by another organization or individual:
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.
Special Collections & Archives may request a complimentary copy of any publication or reproduction using Special Collections materials.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
In line with the UC Santa Cruz University Library’s Mission, Vision, and Values, and guided by the UCSC Principles of Community, Special Collections & Archives seeks to describe archival materials in a manner that respects those who create, are represented in, and interact with the collections we steward. However, we acknowledge that Library staff manage archival description that may contain language that is racist, colonialist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise harmful. Archival description appears in collection guides (also known as finding aids), library catalog records, and digital object metadata. In creating archival description, Library staff both create description and repurpose existing description produced by creators or prior stewards. For example, it is standard practice to reuse original folder titles in order to make materials available for research more efficiently. Whatever their source, these descriptions reflect the language, values, and historical contexts of the people and organizations that created, collected, or described the material. Archival description also features controlled vocabularies such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings, some of which are outdated and harmful. Library staff do not have direct control over these vocabularies, but we do aim to utilize them in alignment with our values and make local adjustments where possible.
When we encounter harmful language created by Library staff, we are committed to reviewing and updating it to acknowledge and repair harm, and documenting such updates. However, original description that comes from the archival material itself can provide important context about its creators, custodial history, and/or source, even when the language can cause harm. In such cases, we are committed to providing additional context where possible.
Library staff are currently implementing practices to address harmful language as part of both retrospective and ongoing description work. We acknowledge that language evolves over time and that efforts to create respectful and inclusive description must be ongoing and iterative. As such, we welcome your feedback and questions at email@example.com.
This statement was adapted from the Princeton University Library Statement on Language in Archival Description and the Yale University Statement on Harmful Language in Archival Description.