Research Policies and Reading Room Rules
To safeguard unique and valuable archival and manuscript material, researchers are requested to observe the following rules:
Researchers are required to register with the reading room attendant upon their first visit to the reading room, and to sign in at each visit.
Coats, books, bags, and other personal items should be placed in the closet provided. Researchers may bring a laptop computer to the table, but no books, notebooks or loose papers. No pens are allowed in the reading room. Pencils and note paper will be provided upon request. Researchers are responsible for the security of equipment and other materials they bring into Special Collections.
Eating And drinking
Neither food nor beverages of any kind are permitted under any circumstances.
Researchers are required to sit facing the reading room attendant.
No Special Collections material circulates.
Call slips must be signed for all requested material.
Material Limits and Maintaining Original Order
Researchers may use either one volume or one folder at a time. In the case of manuscript or archival material, original order must be maintained. Do not remove items from a folder or shift the order of items in a folder.
Handling Of materials
All materials must be handled with care. Do not: mark material or erase existing marks; use pens, markers or high-lighters on or near our materials; fold, tear or cut documents; make tracings or rubbings; rest books or other objects on the surface of items; or touch the surface of loose sheets or book pages if they can be handled by their edges. All materials must be returned to the reading room attendant when the reader leaves the reading room.
Video And audio equipment
Photographic, video and audio equipment may be used with permission of the staff. Researchers must fill out a duplication form if photographing, filming or videotaping materials.
Photocopies and digital scans may be requested. Personal cameras may also be used to make copies. All users requesting copies (including copies made with a personal camera) will be required to fill out our duplication form. Copies must be used in accordance with the the copyright act and library policies. The library may set additional restrictions to protect fragile or damaged materials.
Publication And citation requirments
For policies relating to publication, see our Permission to Publish Policy. Footnotes should cite the author, title, and date of a work, the name of the collection, and the Archives & Special Collections Library, Vassar College. Examples are available.
Our staff can provide reference assistance via email or by phone regarding the contents of and access to our collections as well as brief answers to factual questions; however, we do not have the resources to do extensive research for our patrons. If a question requires more than an hour of staff time, we may suggest arranging for an on-site appointment.