Use of Cameras in Special Collections

General Policy: As a convenience to researchers and to reduce the handling of fragile materials, personal cameras may be used to make copies of rare materials in the reading room under certain circumstances. The library will deny requests to use a personal camera if such use may result in unauthorized reproduction of restricted materials, damage to materials, if the materials have already been digitized, or for other reasons in its sole discretion. Some of the Library’s collections include donor restrictions that prohibit reproductions. Researchers may not bring a camera into the reading room when viewing such collections. Some materials deemed unsafe for individual photography may be reproduced through a request filed with the Digital Services of Scholarly Resources unit (“DSSR”), where special fees apply. The Small Special Collections Library seeks to maintain a reading room that encourages scholarship and reflection. Individuals permitted to photograph materials must not disrupt other researchers. All photographs or images created may be used only for personal research and study and may not be published, distributed on the web, or given to another library, archive, or repository without written permission from the University of Virginia and any relevant copyright holder.

Permissions: Researchers should be aware that many items in Special Collections are still under copyright. Permission to photograph items for personal research purposes does not imply permission to publish. Permission to publish, exhibit, perform, broadcast, mount images on the web, or otherwise make the materials available must be applied for separately from any relevant copyright holder. For information on using Special Collections materials in publications or on websites, please refer to our Guidelines for Permission to Publish. The desk attendant will provide the researcher with an identifying strip that must be included in each photograph taken in the reading room. Researchers may photograph only those materials that are currently checked out to them. They may not photograph materials checked out to other researchers.

Equipment: Researchers must provide their own equipment. For security and preservation reasons, tripods and handheld or flatbed scanners are NOT permitted in the reading room. No additional lights, including built-in flashes, may be used. Special Collections cannot supply batteries, memory cards, or film. Please silence any audio signals emitted by the camera or camera phone.

Handling Guidelines: All materials must be handled carefully in a manner that will not damage them. Materials must be kept in the order in which they appear in folders and/or boxes. Nothing may be laid on top of a book, manuscript, or other items except for a book weight provided by the Library for this purpose. No part of the camera equipment may touch the materials. Researchers should never write on, erase marks from, or otherwise alter a book, document, or other item. Books must be photographed on cradles provided by the Library. Researchers using manuscript collections or archives should keep items flat on the table while photographing them. If the document has a fastener, the researcher should ask the attendant at the reference desk for assistance. Researchers may not remove photographs or documents from plastic sleeves, a reproduction must be requested through DSSR. For security reasons, researchers must remain behind their tables, facing forward, while making digital images.