Reproductions and Copyright

Items from the HSL Special Collections do not circulate. However, reproduction of Special Collections materials is sometimes possible, and requests are handled on a case-by-case basis. Such requests must be arranged through the Special Collections Librarian, the Preservation Specialist, or their representative.

The reproduction policies of the HSL Special Collections are designed to balance the needs of our researchers with the Library’s responsibility to be good stewards of the Collections. This means that the staff’s ability to create and deliver reproductions is often constrained by a number of variables that include United States copyright laws and statutes, the physical condition of Special Collections materials, obligations and legal commitments to donors of materials, and the Collection’s finite staff resources. Given these realities, the Collection staff strongly recommends that researchers use hand-held cameras to reproduce unrestricted collection materials.

  • Special Collections staff reserve the right to refuse to make copies or to limit duplication requests.
  • Reproduction of materials will be governed by any and all of the reproduction restrictions that govern the research use of a specific collection.
  • As clear copies cannot always be made from original materials, copies are purchased at the risk of the requestor.
  • Reproductions will be used only for personal reference and research purposes.

Personal Camera Use Policy

Limited photography of unrestricted items in the HSL Special Collections is permitted for researchers’ personal use under the following terms and conditions:

  • Old Bellows CameraResearchers will adhere to the restrictions that govern the use of a specific collection.
  • Only hand-held portable cameras will be allowed; Special Collections staff may permit the use of a table-top tripod.
  • No outside lights (including flash) will be allowed in the Reading Room.
  • Researchers will not take any extraordinary measures, such as standing on furniture, to get the “best” shot.
  • Researchers will not place the documents in peril or take extraordinary means to stabilize the document in an effort to get the “best” shot.
  • Images will not be added to the holdings of another library or archival repository.
  • Scanners and other imaging equipment will not be permitted in the Reading Room.
  • Special Collections staff reserve the right to prohibit the photographing of any of its holdings at the staff’s discretion.
  • Researchers who require high-quality, digital images for publication or broadcast should consult Special Collections staff to make special arrangements.


copyright symbol

U.S. Copyright law governs the making and use of most photocopies and other reproductions of copyrighted materials. Most manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and moving images created in the past 120 years are protected under copyright law. Transmission, reproduction, publication, or presentation (public display, performance, Internet presentation) of protected items require the permission of the copyright owners. For more information on copyright, contact the U.S. Copyright Office ( Copyright status and information on copyright holders can be difficult to determine for archival and manuscript collections. The responsibility for obtaining permissions rests with the researcher.

Sensitive and Confidential Information

Manuscript collections and archival records that include twentieth and twenty-first century materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. Section 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. Section 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the 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 under common law 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 North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.

Last modified: 03/06/17
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