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Use/Publication services

SJSU Special Collections supports access, discovery, and study of our collections. All materials are non-circulating and must be used in our secure Reading Room during open hours only. We provide limited photocopy services for some of our collection holdings, but reserve the right to restrict photocopy and digital photography access to rare, unique, fragile, and unprocessed materials.

Researcher Use Policy

Standard rules for scholarly research and handling of fragile materials in an special collections library setting apply.

  • On first visit, and yearly thereafter, patrons will be required to show a photo ID and fill out a one-time registration form.
  • On every visit, patrons must sign in and may be required to produce a photo ID.
  • Personal items (backpacks, bags, binders, etc.) must be stowed in drawers in the Reading Room.
  • Patrons may be asked to show the contents of their bag or backpack before leaving.
  • Food, beverages, and bottled water are not permitted in Special Collections.
  • Laptops are welcome for note-taking, as are pencils, notebooks, or sheets of paper. Pens are not permitted.
  • Photocopying and digital photography is permitted on a case-by-case basis and subject to approval by the Director, due to fragility and copyright issues. All requests are taken on a first-come first-served basis and may take up to two weeks to complete, based on staff availability. Payment in advance is required.
  • Self-service photocopying or scanning is not permitted.
  • Materials are available for use in the Reading Room only. 
  • Cell phones must be turned off or on silent.

Photocopy Policy

Because of the rare, unique, and fragile nature of archival and rare book collections, photocopy requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The SJSU Special Collections staff will make limited copies when it does not violate restrictions. Restrictions may apply to collections due to confidentiality of certain records, donor agreements, copyright restrictions, or fragility of materials. Reproductions are made available for research, teaching, and study. Rare books, fine press and artist books, and tightly bound books and folios may not be photocopied. Purchase of photocopies or digital images does not constitute permission to publish. We reserve the right to restrict photocopy and digital photography access to fragile and unprocessed items.

Photocopy Fees

  • In-house request: 50¢ per page
  • Distance request: $25.00 per hour of research; additional fees for copies may apply

Publishing Images

The Special Collections Department charges fees for visual materials used in publication, production, and exhibit. Permission to publish is required and is contingent upon payment of applicable fees. The image may not be repurposed for publication or other promotional events without express permission from SJSU Special Collections & Archives. 

Fee Schedule:

  • Not-for-profit exhibit, publication, film, TV broadcast or video: $25.00 minimum per image
  • For-profit exhibit, publication, film, TV broadcast or video: $50.00 per image
  • Commercial advertisement: $75.00 per image

Permission to publish is granted only insofar as the rights of San José State University are concerned. The Special Collections Department can only claim physical ownership of the material and has not determined the identity of possible claimants of copyright for many of the materials in the collections. Responsibility for identifying and satisfying any such claimants where copyright is uncertain must be assumed by users wishing to publish this material.

Reproduction of Images

Researchers may reproduce visual images from the collections by:

  • Digital Image Reproduction: Special Collections can scan images up to 600 dpi, in black and white or color, using jpg, tiff, or pdf formats, which can be burned to a CD or sent via Dropbox. We charge a minimum of $25.00 for new scans and for high resolution images represented in the King Library Digital Collections. All oversized formats start at $35.00+ per image. Shipping charges are extra and self-service scanning is not permitted.
  • Low resolution images can be downloaded for free through our digital library site.
  • Permission to publish fees applies to all formats.


Digital Camera Use

  • The use of digital cameras is managed by the center staff. Department permission is required. Digital surrogates taken by patrons are for private and educational use and not for publication. The same copyright restrictions apply to print and digital requests. For example, no more than 10% of a book, collection folder, or box may be reproduced.
  • Digital camera use must be approved and not all material may be photographed based on the material's condition, copyright laws, donor-imposed restrictions, and preservation concerns.
  • Handling and Care: The preservation care of the material outweighs any technical limitations of the camera. Patrons must be familiar with the proper handling of material and patrons may not press down on the bindings of books to get a better image, and book cradles and weights must be used to hold the pages flat. Archival and manuscript materials must remain flat. Flash photography is prohibited.