Teaching & Instruction

Due to recent UO policy changes,  we will not offer face-to-face instruction sessions. We will be ramping up limited digitization of selected documents in our collections that you plan to use for your spring term courses. For more details, please write spcarref@uoregon.edu

One of our highest priorities is to support research and teaching at the University of Oregon. In addition, our collections exist to be used. We are available to assist with and coordinate instruction in courses where students are encouraged to use primary sources such as manuscripts, archives, photographs, rare books, films, and ephemera. Our collections are full of these types of materials and present endless opportunities for discovery and original research.

We have a dedicated instruction classroom, the Ken Kesey Classroom, with state-of-the-art technology where our staff can present to your class on how to perform research using primary sources. In consultation with the professor, we can assemble and present collections on specific subject areas for such presentations.

Please submit an instruction request using the link below. Requests must be submitted at least 3 weeks in advance of the proposed session.  Submissions are reviewed in the order received. We will confirm your proposed session after verifying the current schedule of our classroom, availability of materials, applicable access policies, and schedules of department faculty.

If you would like to schedule a Special Collections and University Archives instruction session or would like to consult with us in designing a research assignment or special project, please contact us by submitting a request via our Instruction Request Form.

  • Requests must be made at least three weeks in advance before the requested date of instruction.
  • Class sessions are not finalized until you receive a confirmation email with additional instructions about your session, including information about the assigned SCUA faculty member.
  • Please note as of the 2019-2020 academic year, we are only scheduling sessions during our public hours (10am-4pm, Monday-Friday).

The form requires your contact information, the proposed date and time of your class, the number of attendees, the subject of this visit, and general background about your class, statement of what you hope the students will gain from the session, and a copy of the class syllabus. Please also include if you would like us to identify an exercise for your students during the session or thoughout the term. For specific questions, contact Lauren Goss, Public Services Librarian who coordinates our instruction program.

Please also note that if you would like to have your class use our materials for a project, we highly advise bringing the class for an orientation session or having a staff member come to your class to orient your students to our collections and policies and procedures. Given current staffing levels, advance notice of class use of SCUA materials is appreciated and allows our staff to provide the most comprehensive service to your students.

We take great pride in encouraging use of our collections and ensuring the security of our collections. We will provide a general orientation, but you should also prepare your students in advance with the following information before arriving for the class session:

  1. No pens, food, drink, or chewing gum are allowed.
  2. Backpacks, briefcases, and computer cases/covers are not allowed. We have lockers where researchers may secure personal items.
  3. If they return to conduct research, materials must be used in the Paulson Reading Room. Laptops are allowed.
  4. Registration is required to use materials.
  5. Respect the fragile nature of our materials and handle them with care.
  6. Some materials such as photographs or codices require special handling.
  7. Remove one folder from a container at a time.
  8. When using records and manuscript materials, please make sure the document goes back into the correct folder and that the folder goes back into the correct container.
  9. Respect other researchers by keeping noise to a minimum.
  10. To display, exhibit, publish, or download any of our materials, you must obtain our permission.

Please help us prepare for your student projects by scheduling a meeting with us ahead of time by filling out the instruction request form.

Also read the Class Assignments page and fill out the Assignment Plan (a PDF) for us. This provides us with a copy of the assignment, the date due, your contact information, and a list of the materials or types of materials that your students will use. We will maintain copies in our own files for our staff to consult, which will ensure that we provide the best service possible to your students.

If you receive papers that are well researched and written, please consider advocating that your student submit the paper or project to the Libraries' Scholar's Bank. The University Historian and Archivist can assist you with this process.

We are delighted to have projects assigned using Special Collections and University Archives materials. Please review our policies and procedures below: 

See also We Can Help: Teaching with primary source materials


  1. At least two weeks prior to your class meeting, please arrange your visit, in writing, with Special Collections staff by filling out the Instruction Request Form (see link above).
  2. We will respond to arrange a time and work out the presentation with you and assist with developing the assignment if needed.


  1. Students must go through an orientation before they begin work on their project. The orientation includes registration, proper handling of materials, research techniques, intellectual property principles, fees charged for duplication, and feasible time lines.
  2. Each student must sign a contract (a PDF) with us, to ensure that they agree to comply with our procedures and respect our property rights.

Duplication Services for Student Projects

  1. Students may duplicate materials themselves. Student can use their phones or cameras and simply need to fill out a self-duplication form tracking the images taken.
  2. If students need scans they will need to follow our current scanning policy which is done at the folder level, rather than the item level. See details here regarding rates and permissions.
  3. Rush duplication requests incur a 50 percent surcharge. Students must plan their projects and allow us enough time to do our work. If we are dealing with many projects at once, we have less flexibility in our ability to meet your deadline.
  4. Any publication, exhibit, or other use of the duplicated materials requires negotiation of a separate use fee.  If students want to later publish their works, they must negotiate a new use fee. Failure to disclose intent to publish or exhibit is intellectual dishonesty and a violation of our property rights, and we may prosecute.


  1. Read and review our research rules and policies.
  2. Ask for help. If we understand your research topic, we may be able to find other sources for you. We won't do the research for you, but we'll help you find what you need.
  3. Plan your work. If you come in at the last minute we may not be able to get the materials to you promptly, and we definitely won't be able to get your duplication orders filled in time.
  4. Budget your project. You have to pay for duplication (photocopies, scans, et cetera) and you can't bring in your own scanner or camera. If you are producing an exhibit, Web site, video, or publication, you have to pay a use fee. Select carefully to keep within your budget.
  5. Respect intellectual property. Make sure you know how to cite our materials correctly, so other people can follow up on your research. Make sure you have our permission to quote from or reproduce our collections-theft of intellectual property is still theft, and we may prosecute.