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Archives and Special Collections Home

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

Use materials safely

Many materials are organized in folders and stored in archival boxes. To keep everything in order, only take one folder at a time out of the box. Finish with the items in the folder, place the folder back in the box, and remove the next folder. It's easy to get things mixed up and in the wrong folder if you try to work with too many at once.

Unfortunately, many materials from the archives are in fragile condition and require special handling procedures. Some materials may not be available for photocopying. Please make sure your hands are clean when handling items from the archives. In general, keep materials away from:

  • food and drink
  • pens and other ink sources
  • sticky notes, paperclips, rubber bands, etc.

Take careful notes

Although you will be able to photocopy many of the materials you find in the archives, there may be some for which you will need to take notes by hand or on your computer. Be sure to write down as much information as possible about the item, such as author, title, date, etc. Check the style manual that you will be using to see how to list materials such as unpublished letters and reports in your bibliography.

Obtain copies of materials

In general, most printed documents will be available for photocopying unless they are in extremely fragile condition. The archivist 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 photocopiers. Additional information on getting reprints or digital scans of photographs or reproductions of other materials is discussed in the section, Copying Policy and Procedures.

Getting a copy of an item of the archives does not 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. Materials used in any publication or production must include an acknowledgment to the "Webster University Archives".

Return materials at the end of your visit

When you are finished, return all materials in their original folders, boxes, etc. If you need another appointment, let the librarian know that you will need to come back and look at the materials again.