Special Collections Policies

University Libraries, Unt Policy And Procedure Memorandum.


The materials in the University of North Texas Libraries collections are open for research use, except where noted, or where restricted by law.


  • Our collections are available for public use and can be viewed during operating hours.
  • All visitors are welcome to view the exhibits, but use of the Reading Room for study is restricted to those patrons engaged in research with Special Collections materials.
  • A completed researcher’s profile form is required for all first-time researchers. The form will be kept on file for future research requests for a period of 5 years.
  • A valid photo ID is required to access Special Collections materials for the first time in order to verify identity
  • UNT Libraries reserves the right to refuse the use of special collections to patrons who do not comply with these policies.

Personal Belongings

  • Briefcases, book bags, and purses must be placed in a designated area away from your research space.
  • Laptops, tablets and digital cameras are allowed in the reading room, but the case must remain with the researcher’s personal belongings.

Care of Materials

  • Notes must be taken in pencil. Pens, markers, highlighters, and post-it notes are prohibited, as are tracings or rubbings made from our materials. Acid-free bookmarks are provided for your convenience.
  • Digital images may be taken with prior permission. Use of flash is not permitted.
  • Handling of photographic material requires the use of gloves, which staff will provide.
  • Due to the delicate nature of many of our materials, we ask that our patrons wash their hands before their research visit. Facilities are available on the 4th floor of Willis Library.
  • Eating, drinking, and chewing gum are prohibited in the Reading Room.
  • While researchers may request several items from the Collections during a visit to the reading room, only one item may be used at any time. Please return an item when you are finished with it and a staff member will exchange it for another item.
  • Researchers are permitted to remove only one folder from manuscript or archival collections at a time. Box markers are provided for your convenience. Do not remove items from folders; acid-free bookmarks are provided to flag desired materials.
  • The order and arrangement of the papers must be maintained. If you discover an error in the arrangement or description of a collection, please call it to the attention of a staff member. Do not rearrange items yourself.
  • The researcher is responsible for the careful handling of all materials. The materials may not be leaned on, folded, traced, or marked in any way. Reading Room staff will place materials in book supports and cradles for appropriate care of materials, and materials may not be handled in any way that may damage them.
  • Brittle or oversized pages require special handling. Instead of turning the lower edge or the corner of pages between your thumb and forefinger, slide your entire hand underneath each page to support it as you turn.
  • Rare, delicate, or damaged materials are sometimes housed in protective enclosures, such as clamshell boxes, portfolios, or polyester wraps. We will remove such items for you and will replace them in their protective enclosures when you are finished.

Privacy, Personal Information, and Open Government

  • Special Collections personnel may limit access to certain collections in order to maintain the confidentiality of student grades, student records, privileged communications and other documents containing personal identifying private information normally given special protection under law.
  • Due to the nature of our collections, it is not always possible to anticipate the location of such private information, and the researcher is held responsible for the inappropriate or unlawful use of any such information they encounter during their research.
  • Small portions of our collections are subject to access through the Texas Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552). The University of North Texas Special Collections Department complies will all state and federal regulations regarding access to government records.


If you need to return to the Reading Room to continue working with specific materials, we will place them on our reserve shelf for you. We will hold materials in reserve for five days before they are re-shelved.

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The Special Collections Department reserves the right to refuse to accept a duplication request if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the request would involve violation of copyright law.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” Reproductions may not be made for or donated to other Repositories. If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. In most cases, the library is not the holder of copyright for the materials held in its collection. Except in these cases where the library owns the copyright, the library cannot grant permission for uses of material that fall outside of fair use. Instead, the responsibility falls on the user to obtain that permission.

Copyright law protects unpublished as well as published materials. If you wish to use either published or unpublished materials from our collections in a publication, you must determine whether the work has passed into the public domain and is no longer under copyright protection or find the copyright holders and get permission to use the material.


The library reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of the copyright law.

Costs for Digitization

Please see the Fee Schedule for estimates of the costs of digitization. A librarian will follow up with you after you place your request to provide a quote.

Completion of Requests

We normally require 15 working days to fulfill a request. During holidays, or when requests involve audio visual materials, the wait time may be longer. Rush requests may be accommodated when possible.

Digitized files will be delivered to the patron via a link to a digital drop box service. Additional fees may be required for delivery via a DVD or hard drive. We provide images at a variety of resolutions. If known, please specify in your request what file type and resolution is needed.

Use of Special Collections Materials

The Library, as the owner of a variety of collections, is not able to address all copyright issues related to publication and use. It is the responsibility of the person using library materials to determine the copyright status of individual items and to use library materials in accordance with copyright law.

For Materials in the Public Domain

You do not need to request permission to publish materials from the library’s physical collection if it is in the public domain. This applies to both commercial and non-commercial uses. Reformatting and reproduction fees may still apply to materials in the public domain if they are not already digitized and available through either the Portal to Texas History or the UNT Digital Library.

“Fair Use” of Copyrighted Materials

Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides a framework for identifying certain types of uses, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use. You do not need to seek the Library’s permission to portions of text or images from a collections (constituting a non-substantial percentage of the total collection) if the use is being considered “fair use.”

In some instances the library owns the copyright to a collection, or has agreed to act as the licensing agent, and may grant permissions for the publication of images from those collections. Collections for which the library does own the copyright include but are not limited to:

  • Byrd Williams Family Photography Collection
  • Junebug Clark Family Photography Collection
  • Bell Helicopter Collection
  • NBC 5/KXAS Collection
  • University Photography Collection

To request permission to use items in these collections, please complete the Request for Use of Special Collections Materials form and a staff member will contact you with more information.


Any materials or images used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Citation format should read as follows: Courtesy of {Name of collection}, University of North Texas Special Collections.


  • Approved: 07/11/13
  • Revised: 01/12/17, 08/07/20

License Information

This Policy: "Special Collections Policies" by UNT Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.