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Guide to Using Special Collections at Yale University: Reproductions

United States Copyright Law Governs All Reproductions

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of all reproductions of copyrighted material, regardless of who makes the reproductions. Libraries and archives are authorized to provide a photocopy or reproduction for private study, scholarship, or research. For collection materials that are not in the public domain in the United States, researchers may not modify, publish, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, reproduce except for teaching and scholarship, create new works from, distribute, publicly perform or display, or in any way exploit any of the content in whole or in part without the permission of the copyright holder. Researchers making use of any copies in excess of the "fair use" exception may be liable for copyright infringement.

Terms and Conditions Governing Researcher Photography in Reading Rooms

Researchers in Yale special collections reading rooms are permitted to use their personal cameras to take images for their private study, and agree to adhere to the following stipulations in the use of their personal cameras:

  • Flashes must be disabled and special lighting may not be used.
  • Camera cases and auxiliary equipment are not permitted in the reading room.
  • Lanyards worn around the wrist or neck are encouraged in order to prevent dropping the camera on collection material.
  • Cameras may not be placed on top of or come in contact with collection material; hand-held scanners are not permitted.
  • All handling rules for special collections materials included on the Reading Room Policies tab of this Guide apply when photographing items; please request supports or snakes from a staff member if needed to facilitate photography.
  • Tripods, furniture, and other supports may not be used to improve photography without permission.
  • Photography, including sounds emitted by cameras and camera applications, may not disturb other researchers working in the reading room.
  • No photographs of researchers, staff, or reading room spaces may be taken without permission.
  • Staff may refuse permission to photograph items due to their size or condition.

Researchers are responsible for keeping complete and accurate citations (call numbers, accession numbers, ID numbers, page numbers, and box and folder numbers) for all items photographed for personal research use. Subsequent requests for high-resolution reproductions for publication cannot be processed without accurate citation information.

Terms and Conditions Governing Reprographics Services

Yale University special collections will reproduce collection materials, in compliance with donor stipulations and with the fair use clause of the United States copyright law, when such reproduction can be done without damage to individual items. The Library offers a wide range of duplication services for materials in its collections to assist scholars in their research. YUL special collections staff and contracted vendors provide these copying services. All requests are subject to review by special collections staff. The following terms and conditions apply in all cases:

  • All forms of duplication or reproduction of the Library’s material are covered by applicable copyright laws and regulations.
  • All requests for scanning, photographing, or other forms of duplication will be evaluated on a case-by case basis, taking into account donor stipulations, the condition of the item, and the availability of alternative formats. Many items from Yale University Library’s collections have already been digitized and are available to download for free from our digital library. Researchers are encouraged to check there before placing their order.
  • The Library cannot accommodate reproduction requests when collection materials are inaccessible due to processing or conservation treatment; please consult the individual repository to inquire about specific materials.
  • The choice of reproduction format is that of the researcher. However, the library reserves the right to revise an order due to preservation concerns; time constraints; size, type, and quantity of the material; or the availability of staff resources. If an order must be changed to a different format, the researcher will be notified of the change and of the associated price adjustment. Please note that some materials may be too large or too fragile to be reproduced. Additional charges may apply to complex and large orders requiring special handling.
  • All reproductions in all formats are provided for individual scholarly use and are not to be sold or to be deposited in another repository. The Library reserves the right to request the return of reproductions and to prohibit the making of further reproductions from those furnished by the Library.
  • Due to the volume of requests and staffing constraints, YUL special collections staff can spend no more than one hour assisting remote researchers in identifying materials to be reproduced and in preparing order forms. Researchers who submit reproduction requests requiring more than one hour of staff time will be asked to do the additional work in person to identify materials, or to hire someone to do so on their behalf.
  • Payment is required before services are rendered.

Requesting Reproductions

Each of Yale's special collections repositories offers reproduction services for their materials. Procedures and prices relating to reproduction services may vary by repository. Follow the links below for more information about each repository's procedures, pricing, and any special policies.

Arts Library Special Collections

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Divinity Special Collections

International Collections

  • Due to the nature of their collections, it is best to contact the librarian or curator responsible for the geographic area that you're interested in researching. The librarian will be able to help determine how best to initiate a reproduction request. Begin at the International Collections portal.

Lewis Walpole Library

Manuscripts & Archives

Medical Historical Library

Music Library Special Collections