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Conducting Research

General Introduction to Using Archival Materials

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On Page: Getting Started | Reading Room Policies | Reference Services | Reproduction Policies

Getting Started

The Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collectons Students in a BC anatomy class, 1930smaterials do not circulate and may be used only in our reading room on the first floor of the Brooklyn College Library.

When you visit the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections, you will be asked to show a staff member valid picture identification and complete a registration form. The information from this form will help us to keep statistics on the usage of our archival material, and will help us to improve service in the future.

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Reading Room Policies

Regulations for the Use of Archival Materials

The Reading Room of the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections is reserved for use by only those patrons using materials from the archival collections.

-All coats, schoolbags, briefcases, parcels, etc. must be put in a locker.

-No eating or drinking (including water, candy, or gum) is permitting in the reading room.

-ONLY PENCILS may be used for note taking.

- All materials must be handled with care. Do not: mark material or erase existing marks; use pens, markers or high-lighters on or near our materials; fold, tear or cut documents; make tracings or rubbings; rest books or other objects on the surface of items; or touch the surface of loose sheets or book pages if they can be handled by their edges. All materials must be returned to the reading room attendant when the reader leaves the reading room.

-Patrons must wear gloves when requested.

-We reserve the right to deny photocopying, scanning, and digital photography of materials. Researchers must receive permission to photocopy, scan, or photograph archival material from a member of the archival staff.

-No unauthorized cell phone photography is permitted.

-Patron use of personal equipment such as laptops, scanners, and tape recorders is at the discretion of the archivist.

-Researchers have access to one box of material at a time. When folders are removed from a box, placeholders must used to maintain existing order.

-Permission to publish or copy any archival material must be requested in writing.

-The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with laws of libel, copyright, and literary property rights when quoting or publishing material.

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Reference Services

Have a question for the Archivist?

Patrons on campus are welcomed to stop by the Reading Room, located in room 130 Library, during our business hours and ask our archivists questions regarding their research topic or about our holdings.

For off-campus patrons, our archival staff can provide reference assistance via email or by phone regarding the contents of and access to our collections as well as brief answers to factual questions; however, we do not have the resources to do extensive research.


Telephone: 718-951-5346

For the answers to complex queries, we recommend that researchers visit the archives. (See Visitors page).

Instructional Services

The Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections welcomes visits by Brooklyn College undergraduate and graduate classes. Instruction can include a general introduction to the archives and the use of primary sources and/or talks about specific collections housed within the Archives. If you would like to bring your class to the Archives please contact us at least two weeks prior to the date of your intended visit. Attendance by the professor at these sessions is preferred.

Interlibrary Loan

Materials housed within the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections are not eligible for Interlibrary Loan.

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Reproducing Items/Permission to Publish

Archives: Use and Reproduction Policy

The Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections offers duplication and reproduction of its research materials under certain conditions.

The Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections controls all duplication services and reproduction requests. All requests, either for material where Brooklyn College holds copyright or where Brooklyn College is not the copyright holder, are subject to review.

Copyright Compliance

The Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code, 1976) and the International Berne Convention, which govern the making of copies of copyrighted material and which prohibit the copying of material that is under copyright protection without specific written authorization from the copyright holder.

The Brooklyn College Archives & Special Collections offers duplication and reproduction of its research materials under certain conditions.

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.

Duplication and Reproduction Policy

Researchers wishing to have material in the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections duplicated or reproduced through photocopying or scanning must consult with the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections Librarian regarding permission and fees and fill out and sign a request & agreement form.

The Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. 

Conditions for Reproduction

Material may be reproduced when, in the judgment of the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections Librarian such reproduction supports the research, teaching, and learning mission of the City University of New York and

Will Not Damage the Original Item

Will Not Duplicate an Inordinate Portion of the Material

Is Not Prevented by U.S. Copyright Law

Does Not Infringe on Special Restrictions Imposed by the Donor of the Material.

When Brooklyn College Holds Copyright

Where the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections holds copyright, it reserves the right to exercise judgment concerning the appropriateness of commercial reproduction and conformance with the values of the University and those of the original creator.

Permission to publish may be offered only to the extent of Brooklyn College ownership of the rights related to the request or when documented special arrangements between Brooklyn College and the copyright holders have been made and when a request complies with donor agreements and any known copyright restrictions.

Any permission granted will be for one-time, non-exclusive use of the material.

When Brooklyn College Does Not Hold Copyright

For materials where Brooklyn College holds property rights but not copyright, proof in writing of permission from the copyright holder (owner of the intellectual property as defined by US copyright law) must be presented before reproduction/duplication requests are approved, regardless of use. In cases where specific item identification is needed, we will provide a photocopy of an item or items to be given to the copyright holder to aid in the permission process. 

Special Collections is unable to conduct copyright searches and cannot counsel users in the application of copyright law.

No reproductions of any kind (scanning or photocopying) will be done until the patron requesting use provides written documentation from the copyright holder. Additionally, the patron also must document all due diligence involved with an orphaned work.

All patrons must complete and sign the Brooklyn College Library’s Conditions for Use of Reproductions Form. For copies of this and other forms related to conducting research in the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections please email or call 718-951-5346.

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