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Using Archives and Special Collections Materials

Mission Statement

In accordance with the mission statement of Marist College and the mission statement of the Cannavino Library, the Archives and Special Collections serves the college and local community by collecting, preserving, providing access to, and interpreting primary resource material on the culture and history of the college and the local region.

Research Requirements and Methods

It is necessary to make an appointment to use the Archives and Special Collections. Unlike the main part of the library, the services of this department are available by special arrangement, rather than on a walk-in basis. In order to provide access and assistance and to meet institutional requirements for the security of our rare and unique collections, research projects are scheduled in advance. Persons interested in the collections held at Marist College should call or write ahead, as far in advance as possible, to discuss their research project with the Head of Archives and Special Collections and to arrange times for access and assistance that are mutually agreeable. This allows both materials and finding aids to be readied in advance.

It is library policy that no food, drink, tobacco or other potentially harmful substance or object may be brought into the special collections or archives areas. To minimize handling of rare material and to make the most efficient use of staff resources, access to the College Archives and Special Collections is granted only to persons directly engaged in research.

Research Guidelines

Prior to arranging access to original material, researchers should have studied all appropriate secondary sources. A fundamental and necessary working assumption of all primary inquiry is that those who undertake it will have completed a thorough study of their subject in books, periodicals and other publications before approaching original documents.

Researchers should plan to work slowly and carefully when dealing with unique and/or fragile material. Haste has no place in archival research. Items should be replaced in original order and condition. Use only a soft graphite pencil for taking notes and materials may not be photocopied without permission from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.

Keep a record of all material consulted. Some collections are large and their contents can be uniform in appearance. In the course of research during several days, it is easy to forget which specific files have been searched. Good records help to avoid duplication of effort.

Please consult the Head of Archives and Special Collections about any restrictions that may be associated with a collection. Access may depend upon agreement in advance, to honor specific conditions. Many manuscripts are not in the public domain and researchers are individually responsible to address any copyright issues.

The key to successful use of our collections is to contact the Archives and Special Collections prior to arriving to do research. In that way, both the contents of the collections and the expertise of the staff can be brought into focus before study begins.


  • On first use of Special Collections, researchers must complete a research request form.
  • Outerwear, umbrellas, purses, briefcases, packages, and the like must be deposited in the lockers located outside of the Reading Room. They may not be taken into research areas.
  • All Special Collections materials are non-circulating and must be consulted only in the Reading Room.
  • Special Collections materials are housed in closed stacks. Up to three boxes of volumes (or other unit) will be issued at one time.
  • All materials must be returned to the staff member on duty before the researcher is permitted to leave the Special Collections.
  • Personal scanners, copiers, and cameras (video, digital, still) are not allowed in the Reading Room without special permission.
  • A staff member may examine any items (notes, note cards, etc.) you bring in or out of the research room.
  • Archives and Special Collection materials may only be used in the Reading Room during department hours.

Preservation and Access

  • No food or drink (this includes gum, candy, cough drops, etc.) is allowed in the Reading Room; smoking is prohibited.
  • Pencils only may be used in the Reading Room. Ink, ballpoint pens, indelible pencils, and typewriter correction fluid are prohibited to avoid damage to materials.
  • The researcher is responsible for the careful handling of all materials made available. Extra care should be taken in handling large volumes, brittle pages, and in opening folded plates and maps. Manuscripts and books should not be leaned on, written on, altered, folded, traced over, or otherwise handled in any way that may damage them. Book weights to hold pages open are available from the Reading Room staff.
  • A Staff member will remove any metal fasteners (e.g. staples, paper clips) from the manuscripts. Please do not remove them yourself, and do not re-fasten items with metal clips or staples.
  • Manuscripts and archives are to be maintained in the order in which they are received by the researcher. Material discovered to be out of order should be brought to the attention of the staff member on duty.
  • Requested materials will be provided in their original format whenever possible. However, if an original item is deemed to be too fragile to be handled safely a high quality reproduction will be provided.


The Special Collections department considers requests for limited reproduction of material when such duplication can be done without damaging materials and when duplication does not violate donor agreements or copyright. Copies are made for research and reference only.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine any copyright restrictions on photocopying that may pertain to the materials you are using. As photocopying is potentially damaging to some kinds of materials, you must show all items that you wish to photocopy to a staff member before photocopying is done.

Publication and Copyright

Permission to publish manuscript materials or copies of manuscript materials must be requested in writing. Broadcast, public display, or any use on a web site also requires permission. Most manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and moving image materials housed in the College Archives and Special Collections are protected under copyright law (Title 17, U.S.C.).

How to Cite Materials

For items in the Special Collections: From T.E. Lawrence to Lowell Thomas, 17 November 1919, Series 1, Box 4, Folder 98, in the Lowell Thomas Collection, Archives and Special Collections, James A. Cannavino Library, Marist College.

For items in College Archives: From the Faculty Committees: Faculty Policy Committee, Series 1, Minutes, 1967-68, College Archives, James A. Cannavino Library, Marist College.

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