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Reproductions, Citations, and Copyright

Reproduction of Materials

On-site and remote users may request PDF scans or other digital reproductions of collection materials according to the fee structure listed below. To place a request for reproductions, please contact the Special Collections Research Center

General Guidelines for Reproduction Requests

  • Special Collections will only provide digital, not paper-based, reproductions of books and archives. All requests are added to a queue, and turnaround is typically 1-2 weeks depending on the complexity of the request and staffing levels.
  • Requests for reproductions must be approved by Special Collections staff. Permission may be denied due to copyright restrictions or the condition of the materials.
  • SCRC staff will assist researchers with all aspects of placing a request for reproduction, including identifying items for scanning from within their original folder and box and the form(s) needed to ensure delivery of the digital files. 
  • The SCRC will provide an invoice for patron orders; fees are listed below. Once payment is received the files will be provided. 
  • On-site researchers are permitted to take images of materials using digital, video, or film cameras, as long as no flash or other extra lighting is used. Special Collections reserves the right to regulate or prohibit researchers' photography in order to protect materials.
  • Researchers are prohibited from using all models of scanners, whether flatbed or personal/portable/handheld.  

Fee Schedule for Reproduction Services

Service Cost  Limits

PDF photocopies

First 20 pages free, then $0.25/page

There is a 50 page limit for photocopy requests.

High resolution reproductions, simple (on flatbed up to 12" x 17")


Submit scan request and digitization team will review to ensure that material can be scanned on flatbed.

High resolution image reproductions, complex (on all equipment other than flatbed) $25/hour of staff time Submit scan request, and digitization team will deliver an estimate for confirmation before initiating work.
Audio-visual reformatting

Vendor cost + 10%

Submit scan request, and if the digitization team determines that the material cannot be reproduced in-house, we will obtain a quote from a vendor and deliver an estimate to you before initiating work.
Reproduction of material that must be sent to vendor Vendor cost + 10% Submit scan request, and if the digitization team determines that the material cannot be reproduced in-house, we will obtain a quote from a vendor and deliver an estimate to you before initiating work.

Reproduction of Material Via Vendor

Special Collections is not able to digitize all formats, especially certain audio and video formats or oversized print material. For any requests where Special Collections' on-site equipment cannot handle materials, we may be able to send those materials to a vendor to digitize. Also, large requests or requests that cannot be filled in a reasonable period of time with available staff time may also be sent to vendors. See pricing above.

Video formats that cannot be handled on-site and which must be sent to vendors currently include (but are not limited to):

  • VHS
  • Audio cassette tapes
  • Open reel film

Audio and Video Reproduction

Audio cassette tapes, video tapes, CDs, DVDs, and other audio-visual formats must be digitally reproduced to facilitate research access. We do not permit researchers to listen or view any electronic media in its original form. Please contact us to inquire about digitizing A/V materials in the collections. Rates are listed above. When patrons fund reformatting of audio-visual material, their funding allows us to make that material freely and publicly available online to future researchers as well, wherever copyright and other legal restrictions allow.

Citing Manuscript Materials

Citations are imperative when referencing any collections materials. A well-crafted citation should lead your reader directly to the exact document or item cited. As such, we recommend that the following elements be included in your citations:

  • Document title/name (you will often have to impute this information if the document is not titled)
  • Author(s)/creator(s)
  • Document date, if available
  • Series, box, and folder number
  • Collection number and name
  • Repository name: Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Libraries
  • Location: Washington, DC. 

Example: Address, Honoring Commissioner John B. Duncan, Baptist Ministers' Conference, 1962, Series 1, Box 1, Folder 5. MS2070: Walter E. Fauntroy papers, part I. Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Libraries. Washington, DC.

The Library of Congress offers more in-depth information about citing primary sources using specific citation styles. 

Copyright and Permission to Publish

The Copyright law of the United States (Title 17, US Code) includes protection of reproductions of copyrighted material produced by libraries and archives pursuant to their §108 rights. The Special Collections Research Center provides reproductions of materials for research use only. Commercial or other uses without express permission from the copyright holder are prohibited, unless in compliance with the “fair use” exemptions under Title 17. 

It is solely the obligation of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. Receiving permission to publish reproductions of materials from the Special Collections Research Center does not absolve patron’s of their obligations to comply with copyright laws.

Staff are often able to help researchers determine the copyright status of collection materials. In some cases GW may be the copyright holder, in some cases the status may be unknown, and some materials may be in the public domain. Permission is typically not required to quote from published or unpublished materials, but a proper citation is always necessary. See above on this page for citation guidance specific to archival materials. 

Please contact us if you are seeking permission to publish materials from our collections or have any related questions. 

More information about copyright and Fair Use:

George Washington University, GW Libraries, Copyright

George Washington University, GW Libraries, Fair Use Analysis

George Washington University, GW Libraries, Copyright Basics for GW

Reproductions, Citations, and Copyright staff

Senior Library Assistant, Special Collections Public Services