Archives FAQ and Policies
The following is a collection of Frequently Asked Questions about the School of Theology Archives.
Click on the collapsible box to learn the answer to these frequently asked questions!
What materials the School of Theology Archives hold?
The Boston University School of Theology Archives collects the records of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and the School of Theology Archives. Collections relating to the New England Conference include church historical files, church and conference agency records. The School of Theology Archives’ collections consist of school publications, organizations, professional associations and office records. Records are available in a variety of different formats, including paper documents, photographs, audio and video cassette.
Where is the School of Theology Archives located what are the hours?
The School of Theology Archives are located within the School of Theology Library, located at 745 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02215. The office of the Archivist and Preservation Librarian is 201E.
Information about hours for the Library and Archives can be found here.
Do I need to make an appointment before visiting the School of Theology Archives?
Researchers must have an appointment for use of archival materials. Researchers must call at least 24 hours in advance for access to archival collections.
Walk-ins may be accepted on a case-by-case basis for books in the Research Collections ONLY (Rare Book Collections).
Please contact the Archivist and Preservation Librarian to make an appointment.
Can I make research inquiries via phone, letter or email?
Yes, you can request information via phone, letter or email. There may be a charge for reproductions of large quantities of material.
We look forward to your genealogical research questions. Please be advises that due to volume of requests for ancestral information that the Archivist can only spend 20 minutes searching for records in the archives. It is encouraged that you make an effort to visit the archives if you wish to learn more, or conduct large-scale projects.
New England Conference Commission on Archives, School of Theology Collections, and Personal Papers Inquiries
Research inquiries regarding the New England Conference Commission on Archives and History records, the Boston University School of Theology records, personal papers, and artifact collections will be given more time. This is especially true if you are conducting research for a book or dissertation.
For email and phone inquiries in these collections, the timeline will be determined by the Archivist.
Can I reproduce materials from the Archives?
Yes, some items can be copied. Photocopies of some collections may be restricted due to fragile condition, confidentiality, copyright, request of the creator or the discretion of the Archives and Preservation Librarian. In addition, collections will not be available for research until they are processed.
Photocopy requests will be approved on an individual basis. No collection may be copied in its entirety.
Copies of unpublished materials may be used for private research use only.
Can I publish records in my dissertation or book?
If you wish to reproduce a record (i.e. a photo, one document, etc.) in its entirety held by the School of Theology Archives in your dissertation, please fill out the Permission to Publish Form and submit it to the Archivist and Preservation Librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Archivist will respond to your request as soon as it has been approved by the Head Librarian. There may be a few days of processing before you receive your confirmation email.
Can I use my camera to take pictures of archival materials?
Yes, you can use your camera to take pictures of the archival materials in the research reading room during your visit to the School of Theology Archives so long as the item is in the public domain, or you have consent from the donor, Archivist and Preservation Librarian, or other party related to the collection. Any and all reproductions of records are for personal research purposes only.
How much do reproductions cost?
Photocopying and duplication fees will be assessed by the Archivist and Preservation Librarian on a case-by-case basis.
If we are mailing the reproduction to you, shipping fees may apply.
There is no charge for files sent via email.
Can I reproduce an Audio/Visual Recording or a photograph? And how much would that cost?
If the patron request a reproduction of a recording (cassette, CD, CD-Rom, DVD, or digital audio file) or photograph, the cost will be negotiated with the Archivist and Preservation Librarian. Researchers and those requesting information may also be charged for shipping charges.
Do I need the permission to publish materials that I copied at the Archives?
Please Note: Permission to examine or photocopy does not constitute permission to publish.
For Collections whose Copyright is Managed By the School of Theology Library
Yes, if you plan to publish what you have copied in your dissertation, book, article, etc. Please fill out the Permission to Publish Form and submit it to the Archivist and Preservation Librarian, email@example.com. A response approving your request may take a few days as the Head Librarian and Archivist assess your request.
For Collections whose Copyright is Maintained by the Owner/Creator
If the School of Theology Library does not hold copyright to the item you wish to publish, permission to publish previously unpublished material must be obtained from the owner of the rights.
For those items in which copyright is still maintained by the author, donor, his/her heirs or other appointed parties named in the Deed of Gift, it will be necessary to obtain permission to publish directly from those individuals. Contact information for those parties holding ownership rights of the materials held in the School of Theology Archives may be provided to researcher at the discretion of the Archivist and Preservation Librarian.
Whose responsibility is it to ask for copyright and literary rights permissions?
It is incumbent on the researcher to contact the appropriate parties for permission to publish.
Boston University School of Theology does not surrender its right to grant permission to others to print the same material, nor does Boston University assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright laws or of the publication rights for the manuscript held by the writer, his heirs, executors, or assignees.
What is Copyright Law?
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 of the United States Code) governs the scanning, photocopying, and other reproductions of copyright material. When you scan something at the School of Theology Library, you are agreeing to abide by this law.
Copyright Law is designed to protect the rights of the creator of a work. If you are interested in learning more about the concept of copyrighted works and the fair use for educational purposes of that work, the American Library Association has a good summary of how it applies to libraries. To quote from the ALA article:
Fair use is a copyright principle based on the idea that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted works for educational and informational purposes. Under fair use, someone other than the copyright holder may freely copy, display, perform, and distribute copyrighted material, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.
The United States Copyright Law (Title 17) can be found here http://www.copyright.gov/title17/
How does copyright affect me as a researcher at Boston University School of Theology?
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.
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.” 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.
Boston University reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.
Please refer questions to the Office of Publications Production (x4559).
(Boston University Libraries Copyright Statement)
Are there any records that I will not be able to view?
Access to some collections may be restricted due to fragile condition, confidentiality, request of the creator or the discretion of the Archives and Research Collections Coordinator. Collections will not be available for research until they are processed.
For the New England Conference Commission on Archives and History Collections, administrative records of a general agency are closed for twenty-five (25) year period. Agency personnel files are closed for seventy-five (75) year period. For individuals wishing to look at more current documents, an appeal, in writing, must be made to the School of Theology Archivist and Preservation Librarian/ New England Annual Conference Archivist.
For the School of Theology Archives Collections, and Personal Papers Collections access to certain classes of records is restricted by federal law or request of donor. These include:
- Individual education records of living students or living former students as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, unless the student or former student grants access in writing.
- Individual employment records of living, current or former faculty members,
administrators or other staff members, including records which concern hiring, appointment, promotion, tenure, performance, termination or other circumstances of employment.
- Records where usage might constitute an invasion of privacy or which are currently in litigation.
- Records restricted by Deed of Gift.
How do I cite archival materials that I have used (fairly) in my paper or publication?
Citations should include the name of the collection followed by the name of the repository. The basic citation or courtesy for photos should include, the item name/description, the collection name the name of the archives [Boston University School of Theology Archives] and the location [Boston, MA].
Examples from Turabian and MLA style manuals are below:
Turabian, Kate A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations
Letter, Hiram Johnson to John Callan O’Laughlin. 13, 16 July. 28 November, 1916, O’Laughlin Papers, Roosevelt Memorial Collection, Harvard College Library, Cambridge.
PhD Thesis Citation
Sandra Landis Gogel, “A Grammar of Old Hebrew,” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1985), 46-50.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th Edition.
Sweet Studios. Portrait of Richard Burton. 1912. Jessie Belle Rittenhouse Papers. Rollins College Archives, Winter Park.
Wattles, Willard. Letter to Hamilton Holt. 25 January 1940. Willard Wattles Papers. Rollins College Archives, Winter Park.
Please be sure to check the Style guides before publishing. These examples are subject to change as the guides are regularly updated.
How do I donate materials to the School of Theology Archives?
If you have records you would like to donate to the School of Theology Archives, or New England Conference Archives and History Collection, please first contact the Archivist and Preservation Librarian at (617) 353-1323 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please fill out the Donor Agreement Form and submit this will the records you wish to donate. The Archivist reserves the right to reject any donations due to size, condition, and relevance to the School of Theology Archives collections policies. Please call and check in with the Archivist before donations are sent to the Library.