Access and Use Policy

The UO Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) unit is committed to providing open and equitable access to the University’s historical permanent records, to numerous digital collections, and to other valuable resources. To protect and preserve our collections, SCUA carefully regulates the use of unpublished materials in its collections. The following policies and procedures governing access, photoduplication, and publication are designed to balance the needs and rights of researchers (e.g., students, faculty, visiting scholars, community members, etc.), the exclusive rights of copyright holders, and the library’s stewardship responsibilities. The library reserves the right to refuse service for non-compliance with these rules.


In order to protect and preserve the collections, materials administered by the department do not circulate, but are available in the department's reading room, or in digital form. Any researcher wishing to view SCUA materials in person is required to have a library account, and verbally agree on an annual basis to this Materials Access and Use Policy. You acknowledge and agree to all of the terms and conditions below, and to additional terms and conditions attached to specific collections. SCUA grants all researchers equal access to its collections, subject to uniformly enforced restrictions placed on materials by deed of gift or purchase stipulation, statutory authority, or by SCUA for preservation, processing, or other administrative purposes.

  • Any adult may use our collections, anyone under the age of 18 must be closely supervised by an adult.
  • Researchers working onsite must show current photo identification; letters of reference are not required.

Learn more about becoming a registered researcher.

Requesting Materials

All materials must be requested via the UO Libraries catalog, and must be requested 5 business days in advance of your visit. We do not pull materials on demand. Materials already on hold are accessible at any time during our public hours.

  • You must make an appointment to see glass-plate negatives, and medieval manuscripts due to special handling requirements. Please submit the Research Assistance for Special Collections and University Archives to arrange your visit.
  • Unprocessed/unarranged collections are not accessible either in-person or through digitization.
  • Collections may be temporarily unavailable due to processing, conservation, or digitization.

Learn more about requesting materials.

Filming Policy

SCUA supports filming of our materials within the following parameters:   

  • Space and Scheduling: Scheduling must be confirmed by contacting the Instruction and Outreach Archivist ( at least one month in advance. Alternative dates/times may be suggested depending on space and staff availability, with preference given to instruction and research activities. Elevator access is available for transporting filming equipment.  
  • The Ken Kesey Classroom (LIB 201) is our primary filming space.
  • The Paulson Reading Room may be available but can only be scheduled for use during non-public hours.   
  • Handling: All reading room rules for handling materials remain in effect. Use of all appropriate handling props will be enforced by SCUA staff.   
  • Staffing: An assigned SCUA staff member will be present for the duration of the filming session. 
  • Students: UO students are encouraged to contact the Instruction and Outreach Archivist ( to discuss materials, access and questions around scheduling. Exceptions for scheduling may be available for UO students.

Paulson Reading Room Rules

  • Location of use and monitoring: Materials many only be viewed in the Paulson Reading Room, and the room is monitored by video cameras for safety and security purposes.
  • Reading room layout: Researchers may be assigned to a table during periods of high-volume traffic. Researchers must be seated at a table facing the reference desk.
  • Personal belongings: Permitted items include pencil, paper or notebook, laptop and charger (no case), cell phone, digital camera and charger (no case). All other personal belongings (including all backpacks, briefcases, bags, purses, coats, jackets, hats, and scarves) must be stored in a locker provided by the registration desk staff. Any personal property left in a locker will be taken to Lost and Found at the Circulation Desk, ground floor of Knight Library. If not claimed in a timely manner, items may be disposed of pursuant to UO’s property disposition rules.
  • Prohibited items: No food or beverages, including chewing gum and water, are allowed. Do not leave spillable containers in the locker with your personal property. Pens or any another permanent markers are prohibited.
  • Personal cameras: Researchers may use their own cameras to photograph certain materials pursuant to our guidelines (Camera Use in the Reading Room). We do not allow the use of supplemental viewing equipment, including, but not limited to, slide viewers, tripods, or personal scanners. Researchers may not stand on chairs or stools in order to take photographs of materials.
  • Service animals: The University of Oregon's policy on service animals permits only dogs that have been individually trained to perform tasks for individuals with a disability to be allowed in the Paulson Reading Room.
  • Noise: Please be considerate of other researchers by speaking softly and keeping conversations to a minimum. Please turn off your cell phone ringer and mute your laptops. If you need to make a cell phone call, please do so outside the department. Please also respect the privacy of other researchers.
  • Exiting: Upon completion of your work, you must show registration desk staff all items you brought into the Paulson Reading Room to aid you in your research. This includes laptops, pads of paper, and loose sheets of paper.

Handling Materials

Please respect the fragile nature of the materials and adhere to the handling directions of reading room staff. Please do not mark in or on them in any way. Please place pencils on the table while turning pages.

  • Use of materials: Researchers are permitted to view only one box or one book at a time. If you are part of a group or assisting with research you may view only one box per group and one folder per individual from a box at a time. Do not share/pass folder contents.
  • Handling of manuscripts and archival material: Please retain the order in which materials are placed in boxes. Use place markers available from desk staff, and remove only one folder at a time. A folder must be laid flat on the table. Do not rest an arm on a document or write notes on paper or cards placed on top of a document.
  • Handling of books: All books should be handled with extreme care. Please do not place stress on the binding by opening the book a full 180o. Bound materials must be placed on supports, and weights must be used for tight bindings.
  • Handling of photographs: Please use gloves provided by reference desk staff.
  • Returning materials: Return all materials to the reference desk staff when you leave for the day. Please let desk staff know if you are finished with the materials or if you wish to place them on hold.

Reproduction and Permissions

  • Duplication services: High-resolution scans are available for a charge, pursuant to the condition of the original and any possible copyright or gift restrictions.
  • Permissions: Researchers seeking to publish, display, or distribute any item from SCUA collections are expected to submit a notification of use form.
  • Copyright: SCUA collections include materials in three broad categories (public domain, the University of Oregon owns copyright, or the copyright holder is a third-party). It is the responsibility of the user to determine copyright status and seek permission from the rights owner(s) where appropriate. If an individual or entity intends to use copyrighted material in excess of fair use as determined by U.S. copyright law (title 17, United States Code), it is incumbent upon the researcher(s) to seek permission from the copyright holder(s) prior to use. Failure to do so may constitute copyright infringement.

Learn more about requesting reproduction services and related permissions.

Privacy of Materials and Restrictions on Access and Use

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel and copyright.

Please respect the unpublished nature of the contents of manuscripts and archives. Be aware that disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility. Researchers will defend, indemnify, and hold harmless UO Libraries and the University of Oregon, its Board of Trustees, its officers, employees, and agents against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses, including attorneys’ fees incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of SCUA materials.

Some materials in Special Collections and University Archives may contain sensitive or confidential information protected under federal and/or state privacy laws and regulations. Materials may need to be reviewed by a curator for confidential materials prior to access. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to living individuals may have legal implications. Researchers who find sensitive personal information in any collection should immediately notify a SCUA staff member. Some examples of this type of information include but may not be limited to:

  • letters of recommendation for students, faculty or staff;
  • personally identifiable information about individual students beyond minimal directory-related information;
  • employment records containing confidential data about personal matters, including faculty tenure and promotion information, and faculty grievances;
  • medical information about individuals; and
  • information about gifts and donors.

University Archives

The University of Oregon Archives holds the permanent historical records of the university. The Archives provides unrestricted access to those permanent university records not exempt from disclosure under the Oregon Public Records Act (ORS 192.001 et seq.) or otherwise protected by state and federal right to privacy laws, including but not limited to FERPA and HIPAA.