Any collection of unique material requires special handling. The Department's policies and procedures are designed to provide researchers with the greatest possible access to the materials in the Archives and Special Collections while at the same time protecting and preserving those materials for future use.

Registration: All patrons must complete a Patron Registration Form, present valid photo identification, and agree to abide by the policies and rules of the Archives and Special Collections prior to use of unrestricted materials in the collection. Each reader must complete a new registration form on the first visit in each fiscal year (July 1 - June 30). On return visits during a single year, patrons must present their photo ID and sign in at the front desk.

Terms of Access and Restrictions: Access to materials may be restricted by condition of gift or deposit; because of their physical condition; or for other reasons. Manuscript material is unique and irreplaceable, and no use may be made of it that might jeopardize its preservation. In certain cases, readers may be required to consult digital surrogates, microfilm, or other copies of manuscripts, rather than originals.

Readers may take only pencils, note cards, paper, a personal computer (removed from its case) and other approved materials into the reading areas. Coats, briefcases, books, and other personal possessions must be stored in lockers provided and are subject to inspection upon leaving.

Materials may be used only in the Barnett Reading Room and Higgins College History Room, during regular hours. Materials used in the Barnett Reading Room must be returned to the desk whenever the reader leaves the room. Arrangements can be made to have materials held for your use on a subsequent day.

Physical Protection of Materials: Readers are responsible for safeguarding all materials made available for use. Eating, drinking, and smoking are not permitted. Only approved writing materials (normally pencils, typewriters, or personal computers) may be used for taking notes while using material from the collection. “Flags” or markers are available for indicating material to be photocopied. Other methods of marking materials for copying may not be used.

Materials may not be leaned on, written on, folded, traced, or handled in any way likely to damage them. Readers must keep papers in their folders, maintaining the order in which they are arranged and handling them as little as possible. A staff member should be notified if papers are found to be out of order. A staff member should also be shown any torn or very fragile materials that might be in need of repair. During use, folders must be kept flat on the table. Books must be used on the table, properly supported if necessary. Readers may be asked to wear gloves when handling materials such as photographs and negatives.

Copyright and Other Laws: Use of manuscripts and published materials is subject to provisions of current copyright law. Laws against libel and invasion of privacy may also apply. Readers assume full responsibility for any legal questions that may arise as the result of their use of materials in the collections.

Permission to Publish: Permission to examine materials, or to obtain copies, does not imply the right to publish them, in whole or in part. We claim no authority to restrict usage except in the rare instances where copyright is held by Amherst College. Permission to publish must be obtained from the appropriate copyright holder. We do ask that patrons contact us prior to publication to insure correct citations and credit lines for materials drawn from our collections.

Reproduction: If photocopying or other reproduction can be done without injury to the materials and does not violate copyright or other restrictions, a single copy of any item will ordinarily be made for the reader's personal use, upon written request and payment of the appropriate fees. 

Because staff and facilities are limited, it is not usually possible to provide copying service immediately, especially if large numbers of copies are requested. Orders will be taken for later pickup or mail delivery.

Personal digital cameras can be used in the Reading Room only with prior permission from the Archives staff.

Citation: The location and description of collection materials referred to or quoted in papers (published or unpublished) should be cited accurately and completely. The following sample citations illustrate the information to be included:

Allen Tate to Louise Bogan, 10 January 1965, in Louise Bogan Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library.

Theodore Baird, Working papers for assignment development and class meetings, 1943-1945, in English Department Records: English 1-2, Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library.

Readers are encouraged to provide a free copy of any publication in which Archives and Special Collections material is referred to or quoted.

Confidentiality of Research: Information about readers' work in the Archives and Special Collections, including their topics and the materials used, is kept strictly confidential.