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Archives and Special Collections Home

Homepage for Webster University's Archives and Special-Collections unit

Restrictions on copying

The Webster University Archives works with interested researchers to make its collections available for use and assist users in obtaining copies of selected materials. We reserve the right to limit or prohibit copies that may harm the collection, violate provisions of U.S. copyright law, or be in amounts considered excessive. Requests must be made directly to the archives staff. Fees will vary depending on the amount copied, the process used, and the intended use of the copy. An extra fee may apply for items used in commercial publications or productions.


Reproductions are permitted under the fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research" (17 USC 107). Getting a copy of an item from the archives does not necessarily mean you can use it on a Web site or in a media production or publish it yourself. Materials in the archives may be protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. Users are responsible for securing any necessary copyright and reproduction permissions. The Webster University Archives assumes no responsibility for infraction of copyright laws, invasion of privacy, or any other improper or illegal use that may arise from reproduction of any item.

Users wishing to publish materials to which Webster University holds the copyright must complete a "Permission to Publish" form and submit it to the Webster University Archives. Permission is for one-time use only and only for the purpose stated on this form. Any subsequent use (e.g. other editions, formats etc.) or use in a different project requires permission of the Webster University Archives. Permission is limited to the applicant and cannot be transferred to another party. The Webster University Archives retains all rights to the item(s). Duplicate or digital images may be cropped or resized for publication but cannot be substantially altered from the original without permission of the Webster University Archives.

Care and handling

Absolutely no alterations to the original physical item are permitted. This restriction includes, but is not limited to, cropping the physical item, marking on the front or back of the item, and affixing any material (for example, sticky notes, Velcro, etc.) to the front or back of the item. Photographs and slides may not be folded, rolled, or otherwise bent out of their original shape. Corners must not be folded or cut off. Do not use staples, paperclips, rubber bands, or any other such devices with the items.

Items need to be protected from potentially damaging elements, including direct sunlight, extreme hot or cold temperatures, very humid environments or moist surfaces. Users should wear clean cotton gloves while handling unsleeved photographs from the archives. Photographs and slides may not be removed from their sleeves unless they are being scanned or otherwise copied. Items must be returned in their original folders or containers.

Documents and printed works

In general, archives users will use scanners located in the library. Most printed documents will be available for copying unless they are in extremely fragile condition. The librarians will let you know what can and can't be copied. Be sure to handle items carefully when placing them on and taking them off the scanning bed. Alternatively, users can use their smart phone camera (without the flash) to make copies of archives materials – this can be a safer option than using a flatbed scanner, as less handling is needed. There are a number of apps that work as virtual PDF scanners for copying documents, for example, Microsoft Lens.

Copying done by library staff is available under limited circumstances (mainly for out-of-state researchers) and an extra fee may apply.


The Webster University Archives will work with users interested in having a photograph reprinted or scanned. Charges vary depending on the copying process used and the intended purpose of the copy. The Archives retains ownership of the original prints and any negatives made in the process. Use of bright lights, copy stands, or other equipment deemed harmful to photographs is not permitted.

Media materials

Making copies of some media materials may be problematic depending on the original format used. The Archives staff is willing to explore possibilities with you as long as preservation of the original copy is ensured. Copying done by outside companies will be considered as long as certain quality standards can be met. Fees will apply depending on the company and process used.


A credit for each item used must appear either adjacent to the item or in a separate list of credits.

The preferred credit line is:

Webster University Archives, St. Louis, Missouri