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Special Collections Reference Guide: Policies & Procedures

Reading Room Rules

Fill out all required paperwork.

  • A request form must be submitted for each individual item requested.
  • Any photography or photocopy requests require permission (see below).

Bring only loose paper, pencils, or a laptop into the reading room.

  • Blank paper and pencils are available for use in the reading room.
  • BYU students and staff should also bring their BYU ID into the reading room.
  • Unless special permission is granted, the following items are prohibited: Backpacks, folders, briefcases, purses, laptop cases, cell phones, cameras, jackets and coats, outside books, or food and drink of any kind, including bottled water.

Treat all materials with great care.

  • Researchers must not lean on, trace, write on, fold, tear, or otherwise damage materials.
  • Books with fragile bindings may require the use of a book cradle and/or book weights. If you have any questions on how to use these, please ask the reference staff.
  • Only one manuscript box may be taken into the reading room at a time, and only one folder may be taken out of a box at a time. Materials must be kept in their original order.
  • White gloves must be worn when handling photographs.

Take no photographs of materials unless granted permission.

  • Researchers may take photographs of material, subject to our digital use policy (see below). Most of the materials in Special Collections can be photographed, but some materials may not be photographed due to certain restrictions.

Submit a request for any photocopies or digital scans needed.

  • In order to preserve our materials, we encourage researchers to take good notes and limit copy requests. However, if copies are desired, researchers may submit a copy request through the Aeon request management system or ask the reference staff.
  • To specify pages for copying/scanning, ask a reference assistant for colored mylar to mark items. While marking, keep items in original order.
  • Payment for photocopies/scans must be made in advance. Copies are generally available the following day, and high-resolution digital scans are generally sent 5-7 days after the order is placed.

Comply with all directions given by Special Collections staff.

University Archives Policy

The University Archives are located in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections and unrestricted materials may be accessed directly at the reference desk. 

Access restrictions for University Archives materials are listed in the finding aid. According to university policy, university records are restricted from general use for a period of time after they are created. After that time, they are available to researchers. There are no restrictions on university publications.

University Archives is in the process of reviewing all archived material to ensure collections do not contain personal information that cannot legally be shared. The Archives can still accommodate research requests, but at least 20 days' notice is appreciated. More time may be needed for larger requests. Please submit requests through the Aeon system.

For questions about restricted collections, please contact the Univeristy Archivist Cory Nimer at cory_nimer@byu.edu.

 

Digital Photography Use Policy

The L. Tom Perry Special Collections permits limited patron photography in the Reading Room. Researchers may take photographs of material, subject to our digital camera use policy, or they may request reproductions. Some materials may not be photographed or otherwise reproduced by researchers or the Special Collections staff. This includes materials restricted by donor agreement as well as materials that are too fragile to be copied without special handling.

Researchers who wish to photograph materials must agree to the terms of this policy.

  1. All requests must be approved on an item-by-item or collection-by-collection basis. Once permission is granted, a digital camera pass will be issued by the reference staff and must be displayed on the table in the Reading Room.
     
  2. Use only cameras, cell phones or related hand‐held photographic devices. Disable clicks and audible alerts whenever possible. We are unable to accommodate tripods, camera flash, laptop cameras, scanners, videography, or special lighting. For your safety and the security of our collections, do not stand on tables or chairs. Cell phones may only be used for photography in the Reading Room. If you need to take a call, please exit the Reading Room.
     
  3. To protect others’ privacy, do not photograph the Reading Room, other researchers, or staff.
     
  4. All materials must be handled carefully. The reference staff is happy to assist you with this. Bound volumes may be supported in a book cradle; pressure must not be applied to bindings. Keep unbound material in the original folder and in order.
     
  5. A mylar watermark strip is available from the reference staff and may be used in the image to aid in identifying the source of the item.
     
  6. If source material is in the public domain, researchers may use the materials however they would like. Researchers are responsible for determining the public domain status of materials prior to publication, including publication online and social media platforms. If materials are in copyright, it is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish materials from the copyright holder prior. We assume most researcher photography will be used primarily for reference and research purposes.
    For use of reproductions of Special Collections materials in a publication, performance,or broadcast, we recommend researchers order high‐quality digital reproductions through the reference staff.
Copyright Notice
The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. 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 reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If someone later uses a photocopy or reproduction for purposes other than this “fair use” exception that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The user agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the L. Tom Perry Special Collections and Brigham Young University 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 library materials.

Special Care and Handling

Proper care and handling of collection materials will ensure that they are available for future generations to enjoy.  Please be sure that your hands are clean and dry before handling any Special Collections materials. Do not lean on or write on any of the materials.

Manuscript collections:

1. Only remove one folder at a time from the box.

2. Keep the documents in a folder in the same order you found them.

3. Do not mix your note paper with the documents.

3. If pages are fragile, ask the reference staff for a small metal spatula to help with turning pages.

 

Rare or fragile books:

1. Use a book cradle located on the Reading Room shelves, or ask the reference staff for help.

2. Carefully turn pages without touching the text.

3. Do not lean on the book. Special weights are available for holding pages open.

3.  If pages are fragile, ask the reference staff for a small metal spatula to help with turning pages.

 

Photographs:

1. Gloves must be worn to keep the photographs free from fingerprints. Please ask the reference staff for gloves.

2. Support photographs carefully and hold them with both hands to avoid damage.

Permissions, Copyright, Credit and Citation Guidelines

Permissions

Special Collections does not charge any permission or usage fees for the publication of images of material from our collections.

For more information on how to order reproductions, please see the Requesting Copies page of our LibGuide.


Copyright

While L. Tom Perry Special Collections owns the physical materials in its collections, we generally do not own the copyright to those materials, and some materials are in the public domain. In addition, certain images or materials may also be protected by trademark, privacy rights, publicity rights, or other interests not owned or controlled by Special Collections. It is your responsibility as the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for your intended use of the collection materials, and for obtaining all required permissions, if you have not already done so. 

Please note that not all items are eligible for digitization due to copyright, access restrictions, or conservation considerations. Please consult the “Access and Use” note of a collection’s finding aid or contact Special Collections staff at specialcollections@byu.edu for more information. 

If the copyright for a collection is held by Brigham Young University, you will need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with publishing materials from the BYU Copyright Licensing Office. To determine if the library holds the copyright to a collection, please see the access and use note of the finding aid or contact Special Collections staff at specialcollections@byu.edu for more information.   

For general help determining issues regarding fair use, the public domain, and copyright best practices, please see the Stanford University's Copyright & Fair Use Guide. You may also want to consult the Harry Ransom Center’s WATCH File: Writers, Artists and their Copyright Holders or the U.S. Copyright Office Database.

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, §108, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. 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 a violation of copyright law.

Guidelines for images taken by researchers in the reading room can be found detailed by Digital Camera Usage in the Reading Room policy.


Credits

We recommend that patrons consult the style guide of their choice (MLAAPA, or Chicago) for proper citation guidance.  Please note, however, that primary source citation information may require additional information to accurately reflect the specific item in question. 

Citations for manuscript materials may be expanded to include the “Collection Name,” “L. Tom Perry Special Collections,” "BYU Library" and “Brigham Young University”. 

Example: The Helen Foster Snow papers, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, BYU Library, Brigham Young University.  

Citations for printed material may be expanded to include only the repository information: “L. Tom Perry Special Collections,” and “BYU Library”.

Example: Douglass, Frederick. Three addresses on the relations subsisting between the white and colored people of the United States. Washington DC: Gibson Brothers, 1886. L. Tom Perry Special Collections, BYU Library.

We do, however, ask that if researchers plan to publish images of collection material that the following credit line is included alongside the image.

Example: Courtesy, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, BYU Library, Brigham Young University.

For additional guidance, please contact Special Collections Reference staff at specialcollections@byu.edu.