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Restricted Collections

Categories of Restricted Collections

  • (1) Materials closed to research and physically sealed by legal agreement with the donor for a set period of time (e.g. T. S. Eliot-Emily Hale Correspondence, until 1 January 2020).
  • (2) Materials closed to all research by legal agreement with the donor or seller for a set period of time but not physically sealed (e.g. Carlos Fuentes's correspondence with certain authors and performers).
  • (3) Materials closed to research by legal agreement with the donor or seller for a set period of time, unless written permission is granted by that person or a designated literary executor for someone to use the materials in question (e.g. Josť Donoso's notebooks).
  • (4) Materials closed to research by legal agreement with the donor because the original items are fragile and will not hold up to heavy use (e.g. F. Scott Fitzgerald's manuscripts; Osip Mandelshtam's papers). In such cases, donors usually specify that RBSC must provide microfilm, preservation photocopies, or some other facsimile or surrogate for purposes of consultation, unless a reader has a compelling reason to see the originals (e.g. if a reader needs to identify watermarks, which are obviously not captured in copies and surrogates).
  • (5) Materials may be open for research by legal agreement with the donor yet still restricted in some way (e.g. Woody Allen's scripts may be consulted but not photoduplicated).
  • (6) For preservation reasons, RBSC staff may occasionally restrict routine access to high-profile items that are frequently requested and will not hold up to heavy use. In such cases, RBSC offers microfilm (ACLU Archives); preservation photocopies (Ernest Hemingway's author files in the Archives of Charles Scribner's Sons); color transparencies or published facsimiles (e.g. Lewis Carroll Photograph Albums, or the Pencil of Nature); and color transparencies, bound facsimiles, and online digital versions (Garrett MS. 125 and MS. 158). Again, readers may request permission from the curator in charge of the materials in question for access to the originals, on the basis of a compelling research purpose not satisfied by copies and surrogates.
  • (7) Materials closed to research in accordance with U.S. law and/or security regulations (e.g. political or scientific research files requiring particular levels of U.S. security clearance; records covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • (8) University records may be closed or restricted by the department or campus office that created them (e.g. records of the Office of General Counsel or pertaining to Human Resources). Particulars are here.

    Policy per RBSC Unit Heads Meeting Minutes, 4 February 2003


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Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
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