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Guidelines & Policies

Material Access Policy

The collections and materials within Special Collections & University Archives are available to the Taylor University community, visiting scholars, and the general public (with some restrictions). We are committed to providing open access to our collections as far as possible within the limits of privacy, confidentiality, and preservation.

Restrictions on access to materials in the collections are informed by the need to balance both access and confidentiality. Although many records and manuscript collections are open for use, there are materials held in the SCUA collections that are subject to access restrictions. These restrictions may be due to legal implications, donor request, or may be determined by the SCUA and/or in conjunction with the related department or office. For some historic collections, access is determined by the University Archivist. In addition, the SCUA reserves the right to restrict the use of records, whether open or restricted, which are unprocessed, of exceptional value, particularly fragile, and/or which may contain confidential material.

Materials do not circulate and are kept in a secure storage area that is not available for browsing. All materials must be viewed in the Ringenberg Reading Room unless digital copies are provided or are already available online.

Researchers wishing to access materials by visiting the SCUA should schedule an appointment by emailing archives@taylor.edu or contacting the University Archivist.

Ringenberg Reading Room Policy

SCUA welcomes researchers who desire to engage materials within its collections. The following guidelines enable a safe and secure environment for researchers and collection materials. Use of the Ringenberg Reading Room implies that researchers agree to abide by the Reading Room Policy.

  • Requests for using the Ringenberg Reading Room to access materials within the collection should be made in advance by contacting the
  • Archives (email archives@taylor.edu or call 765-998-5520). Walk-in requests may be denied.
  • All researchers wishing to use the Reading Room may be asked to present either a Taylor University ID or a government-issued photo ID to the RASC staff.
  • Coats, bags, umbrellas, and other personal belongings must be placed in the designated location.
  • Food and beverages are not allowed.
  • Electronic devices should be silenced and conversations kept to a minimum.
  • Researchers must follow all instructions from the SCUA staff.
  • Reading Room hours are subject to change without notice due to staff availability.
  • See the Reproduction & Publication Policy for information regarding taking photos while using the Reading Room.
  • Materials must remain on top of the table.
  • Materials must be handled carefully with clean, dry hands; staff will provide gloves as appropriate.
  • Pencils must be used when taking notes.
  • Do not fold or crease materials; only acid-free bookmarks may be used to mark a place (available from SCUA staff).
  • Do not mark or write on any materials.
  • Do not exert unnecessary pressure on materials (e.g., resting an elbow on material, writing notes on paper that is on top of material, placing a laptop on material).
  • Researchers will be permitted to access one box at a time and to remove one folder from a box at a time. “File Out” cards will be provided so that the folder can be returned to its appropriate location within the box. The original order of the materials and folders must be preserved.

When available, photocopies of the original material should be used in order to better preserve the original.

Reproduction & Publication Policy

Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) welcomes researchers to use materials within its collections. This policy contains the guidelines for requesting reproductions and/or publication of material held by the SCUA.

Guidelines Regarding Reproductions

SCUA may create and/or allow researchers to create physical or digital reproductions of material within its collections as a service and convenience to researchers. The researcher bears sole responsibility for any issues related to copyright as well as personal and/or confidential material. Provision and subsequent use of reproductions is subject to the following guidelines:

  • All reproduction requests must be approved by the University Archivist or a designated staff member. SCUA reserves the right to withhold permission for the reproduction of any material in its possession. Requests may also be denied due to fragility of the original material, limited staffing availability, quantity of material requested, restrictions placed on the materials, and questions of copyright.
  • The researcher bears sole responsibility for determining whether materials are in the public domain and whether their purpose is considered fair use and will be responsible for responding to any claims arising from their use.
    • Public Domain: Researchers may use or publish unrestricted materials in the public domain (see the chart provided by Cornell University for more information on public domain in the United States).
    • Fair Use: The United States copyright law contains an exception for fair use of copyrighted materials, which includes the use of protected materials for certain purposes (e.g., teaching, scholarship, research). For guidelines on the fair use exception, please refer to the United Stated Copyright Office.
  • Written permission from the copyright holder will be necessary in situations where Taylor University does not hold the copyright for the requested material.
  • The researcher understands that material in the SCUA may contain personal and/or confidential information that is protected under federal or state regulations governing personal privacy and/or publicity rights.
  • Reproductions are provided for personal research use only and may not be further duplicated, distributed, or made available to any other person or institution without prior approval. Reproductions may not be provided to another library, collection, or archive without written permission from the SCUA and should be destroyed/deleted when they are no longer needed.
  • Though materials are generally provided gratis as a service to researchers, requests for a significant amount of material or for material to be sent via standard mail may incur a charge, which will be determined and communicated by the University Archivist.

Use of Personal Cameras

  • Researchers may be permitted to use personal cameras to create images of material, subject to the following conditions:
  • All requests must be approved by SCUA staff on a case-by-case basis.
  • All materials must be handled carefully and may require SCUA staff assistance. Bound volumes may require support from a book cradle and pressure must not be applied to bindings. Material must not be at risk for damage from photography. Flash photography is prohibited.
  • Watermark transparencies may be required to indicate origin of the material.
  • No photos may be taken of other researchers, staff, visitors, or unauthorized material without express permission from SCUA staff.
  • SCUA staff reserves the right to deny requests or revoke photo privileges at any time.

Guidelines Regarding Publication of Materials

Approval for reproduction does not transfer copyright or property rights, nor does it imply authorization to publish or further reproduce material. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain written permission from the University Archivist for publication purposes, which must include proper citation of SCUA as owner of the material.

  • As owners of the physical and digital material in its collections, SCUA reserves the right to grant or withhold permission to publish content from material in its collections. A written request for permission to publish must be made in advance to the University Archivist & Special Collections Librarian (archives@taylor.edu).
  • If the copyright for the materials is not held by Taylor University, written permission from the copyright holder should be included with the request. Materials under copyright cannot be reproduced or published without the written permission of the copyright holder, and the full responsibility for infringement is assumed by the individual requesting permission to publish.
  • Requests for permission to publish are considered on a case-by-case basis, and fees may be incurred for commercial publication at the discretion of the University Archivist.
  • Material from SCUA collections that is published must be credited as “Courtesy of Special Collections & University Archives at Taylor University.” When possible, the designated collection and sub-collection of the material should be included, as well as the date the material was accessed.

Donation & Gifts Policy

The Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) is grateful to accept donations and transfers that fall within its collection scope. Due to limited personnel and fiscal resources, all gifts are subject to review by the University Archivist and may be declined. If you have questions regarding a donation, please contact us.

Upon the acceptance of a gift, a Deed of Gift must be signed by both the donor and the University Archivist specifying the items to be gifted and terms of the gift as well as documenting the transfer of ownership from the donor to the University. The SCUA cannot and will not assign value or initiate appraisals for gifts.

We do not accept gifts of:

  • Materials requiring space and/or preservation measures that are excessive, cost-prohibitive, or potentially detrimental to the preservation environment and/or other materials;
  • Materials that are in poor condition and are either irreparable or will incur extensive remediation measures;
  • Materials in which the donor’s ownership is questioned or disputed;
  • Materials that surplus duplicate existing collection materials;
  • Materials that do not fit within the scope of our collections policy;
  • Copies of materials donated to another repository;
  • Permanent loans of materials where ownership is not transferred to the University

For on-campus transfers of materials, please be sure to indicate the originating department if sending through campus mail, or contact us for pick-up.