Special Collections Policies

We have several policies guiding the access and use of our materials.

Reproduction Requests

We reserve the right to deny a reproduction request because of copyright regulations, privacy rights, donor-imposed regulations or other rights related issues, or due to the condition, size, or format of the materials.

Permission to examine Special Collections holdings is granted for reference purposes only. This does not include permission to publish, exhibit, broadcast or electronically disseminate the materials consulted by the researcher. Permission for these uses must be obtained by separate agreement and possible payment of fees with the department of Special Collections and Archives. In giving permission to copy, quote from, or publish, Special Collection does not surrender its own right to publish such material or grant permission to others to do so. Application for permission to use images is available upon request.

Please check with staff before scanning or photographing any materials. Staff will assist to ensure proper handling of materials. We provide two computers, two flatbed scanners, and a digital camera stand for patron use. Cell phones with cameras and digital cameras are welcome to use under existing lighting (no flash). Personal scanners are permitted with staff approval.

Proper citation of all Special Collections materials is required. Preferred wording:

[Description of item], [collection title], [Collection number], Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, ID.

Turnaround time is approximately 1-6 weeks but is dependent on the size of the request, equipment, and staff availability. Offsite requests: scans/files will be delivered electronically through document sharing sites. Orders may be saved to CDs, DVDs, or thumb drives and mailed for additional charges.

Reproduction Fees

Scanning Fees:

Material Type Resolution Price per item/page
Print materials up to 12”x17” Low $1.00
Photographs and negative High $8.00
Print material over 12”x17” High $16.00
Oversized maps or architectural drawings High $20.00
Media duplication N/A $15.00 (CD and DVD)

Idaho sales tax will be added to all requests from patrons in Idaho.

Reproduction fees may be waived for university-sponsored projects, including but not limited to student projects, alumni/donor relations, university marketing, office decoration, etc. Fees may be waived for requests from State and Federal agencies and non-profits on a case-by-case basis.

Payment and Delivery

  • PLEASE DO NOT PRE-PAY. Discuss with Special Collections staff first before payment is made.
  • An additional $5.00 handling fee is added to orders that must be shipped or mailed
  • Payments can be made by credit card or a check made payable to U of I Library Special Collections
  • Rush order availability will be determined by staff and may include additional fees

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, USC) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. Under certain conditions specified in the law, archives and libraries are authorized to furnish a photocopy or reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research.” If a user later uses a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” they may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Requests for permission to use archival material in print media and publications, film/video productions, digital works, and other uses must be granted by the Head of Special Collections through the Application for Permission to Use Form. You may request the form by emailing libspec@uidaho.edu.


Do I need to cite materials I found in the archive?

Yes. Primary sources and other archival materials are still subject to the same intellectual property rights, copyright, and trademark laws in the United States. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to use your own words and cite all of your sources!

How do I cite archival sources?

If your professor or publisher does not require a specific citation style, here is a general guide.

Citations should lead your readers directly to the original sources you have consulted and should include as much identifying information as possible. Citations should include:

  • author or creator’s name
  • title of the work or specific item
  • date
  • publication information
  • collection title
  • box and folder number, or photograph number
  • repository (name of the archive that houses the materials)

Here’s an example from one of our collections:

“Three men and loaded gun rack inside tent,” undated. Priest Lake Museum Association Photographs, photo #17-01-26. University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives, Moscow, Idaho.

Do I need to obtain permission to publish materials from your collections?

Yes, you do need to obtain permission to publish materials from our collections, and we cannot always grant permission. When we accept materials, we agree to house them, but the original owner retains copyright and intellectual property of the materials. For this reason, we cannot grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute materials if we do not hold the copyright to them. If the materials fall under the legal category of public domain, you may publish or distribute them freely.

Users are solely responsible for ensuring that they are observing Fair Use as defined in the United States Copyright Act.

Still have questions?

Feel free to review our Reproductions & Use Policy or contact us and we can help!

Offensive Material in Archival Collections

Archival collections can contain language and materials from history that reference beliefs, norms, and values that are no longer (or never were) consistent with those of the University of Idaho. The University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives Department works to describe our collections in an inclusive way that is respectful to the communities they represent (created by, created for, created about) and warn users about collections containing materials that may be offensive. We do this by:

  • Flagging discriminatory or offensive content included by creators
  • Removing or changing discriminatory language used by previous archivists in describing collections
  • Using inclusive, non-discriminatory language in our current descriptive practice
  • Committing to a culture of ongoing discussion and continued learning
  • Aligning our efforts with Library diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives

We notify users when we are aware that a collection contains language or imagery that may be offensive. If a collection has such materials a note will be added in the finding aid or on a digital collection’s “About” page.

We flag content containing:

  • Racial slurs
  • Derogatory or dehumanizing language
  • Language regarding violence
  • Language regarding non-consensual activity (e.g., rape)
  • Sexually explicit images
  • Images depicting gore, violence, or other graphic or offensive content

Due to the vast amount of material we hold, we will not be able to flag all offensive content in our collections. If you find something that you think should be flagged or changed, please contact us at libspec@uidaho.edu and we will review the material and address it according to our policy.

Non-Discriminatory Language

We recognize a difference between creator-supplied and archivist-supplied language. We do not edit language used by a creator in order to maintain an accurate representation of the historical materials and the voices they represent. However, we do edit offensive and discriminatory language used by past archivists when describing materials. To make this distinction clear, we work to include contextual information in our finding aids and digital collections explaining when such language is creator-supplied versus archivist-supplied.

When we edit archivist-supplied language, these changes are noted in the “Processing Note” of the finding aid or on a digital collection’s home page. These notes serve two purposes:

  • to document the history of that individual finding aid or digital collection
  • to document the broader history of archival descriptive practices and how they may have changed over time

Current Descriptive Practices

We work to describe newly processed collections using inclusive and non-discriminatory language. We have adopted many suggestions set forth in Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia: Anti-Racist Description Resources and Protocols for Native American Archival Materials to ensure we limit the use of terms and descriptions that may be offensive. Suggestions we have adopted include, but are not limited to:

  • Using active language to “embed responsibility” in our archival descriptions
  • Prioritizing the “humanity of an individual before their identity/ies”
  • Describing records to support usability by all information-seekers, not just academic researchers
  • Respecting and upholding any restrictions to materials made by a community, especially those that “describe and represent esoteric, ceremonial or religious knowledge” important to the community
  • Adding notices of offensive content or dissenting perspectives in descriptions such as “The [tribal name] finds information in this work inaccurate or disrespectful” as applicable

If you have questions about this policy please contact libspec@uidaho.edu or (208) 885-0845.