University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Policy on Digital Camera Use in the Reading Room

We are pleased to allow the use of digital cameras on a controlled basis to facilitate the research needs of our users. The following policy outlines the necessary expectations and requirements for use of digital cameras in our reading room, which is subject to US copyright laws, donor-imposed restrictions, specific conditions, or preservation concerns.

Use of digital cameras is subject, but not limited to, the following conditions:

  • Digital images are for research purposes only. Permission to photograph material does not include permission to reproduce, transfer, publish, or distribute images. More information regarding permission to publish collections materials can be found at Rare Books & Special Collections and University Archives.

  • Curatorial or archival staff reserve the right to deny requests or revoke permission for photography for any reason, including the condition of the material, copyright or donor-imposed restrictions, or disruption to other researchers. Staff also reserve the right to examine and request copies of all digital files.

  • Reproductions made using personal digital cameras may not be made for or donated to other repositories by the applicant without prior written consent of the Hesburgh Libraries.

  • Reading Room staff will provide a template appropriate to the materials that must be prominently displayed in each digital image.

  • Researchers may not photograph more than 20%, or 2,000 pages of any book or collection, without curatorial approval. As some collections have donor-imposed restrictions that prohibit duplication in whole or in part, photographing these collections is prohibited.

  • Images of materials made in the Reading Room may not be used for publication, including publication or posting on a website or social media in any form, without permission in writing from the department.

  • It is the researcher’s responsibility to record proper citation information for each item photographed (author, date, collection, box and folder, page numbers, unique identifier, etc.). Requests for permission to publish and orders for high resolution images cannot be processed without this information.

  • Researchers must follow standard rules for care and handling of materials. In the Reading Room, bound volumes must be supported in a book cradle and may not be flattened to attain better images. Documents and visual materials must be kept flat on the table and in their original order.

  • Flash photography is prohibited. The following equipment cannot be used brought into the Reading Room by patrons to make digital reproductions: personal scanners, tripods, additional lights, copy stands, or extension cords.

  • No video may be shot in the Reading Room without prior permission. No photography or video may be made of the overall Reading Room, staff, or other patrons.

  • Readers are responsible for complying with US copyright law. Readers must also acknowledge that it is their responsibility to obtain relevant permission from copyright owners in the event that they decide to publish their work.

  • For some items, patrons may make low resolution scans at no charge using the Reading Room overhead scanner. All such scanning is subject to the physical condition of the materials, approval by the appropriate curator, and US copyright law.

  • Images for publication or distribution must be ordered through the appropriate department. Fees will apply. Rare Books & Special Collections and University Archives reserve the right to refuse a duplication request if, in their judgment, fulfillment of the order would either damage the materials or risk violation of copyright law.

Copyright Notice

The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. 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 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.

Rare Books & Special Collections and University Archives
reserve the right to refuse a duplication request
if, in the judgment of staff, fulfillment of the order would
either damage the materials or risk violation of copyright law.