Policies – Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Questions – Access Policies and Information

What materials are held at the School of Theology Archives?

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.

When is the School of Theology Archives open?

Fall and Spring Semester

Monday-Wednesday and Friday 9:30AM to 4:30PM

Thursdays 1PM-9PM

Summer, Intercession and Spring Break Hours

Monday – Friday 9:30AM-4:30PM

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 Archives and Research Collections Coordinator to make an appointment at:

Kara Jackman

Archives Coordinator

Boston University

745 Commonwealth Avenue

Boston, MA 02215



Can I make research inquiries via phone, letter or email?

Yes, you can request information via phone, letter or email.   Cost for reproductions will be higher due to labor, shipping and handling.

Genealogical Inquiries

Only 20 minutes can be dedicated to genealogical requests, since so many are received each week.  It is encouraged that you make an effort to visit the archives for large projects.

New England Conference Inquiries

Inquiries regarding the New England Conference pastors or records will be given more time.  The length set aside for long distance inquiries will be determined by the Archives and Research Collections Coordinator.

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 Research Collections Coordinator.  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.  They may not be reproduced or transferred to any other person or institution.

Can I reproduce correspondence?

Unpublished correspondence still under copyright or deed restriction cannot be photocopied without the express permission of both parties, the writer and the recipient.

Unpublished correspondence, no longer governed by copyright or deed restriction and previously published correspondence in the public domain, may be reproduced for private research use only.

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 or other party related to the collection.

How much do reproductions cost?

On-Site Photocopy Request            $.10/page

Off-Site Photocopy Request            $.50/page

On-Site Digital Scan Request         $.50/scan

Off-Site Digital Scan Request $1.00/scan

Shipping and handling will also be included in the charges if we are mailing to you off-site.  The cost of the DVD or CD-Rom will also be included if the patron wishes to have it on that medium.

There is no charge for files sent via email.

Audio/Visual Recordings and Photographs

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 Archives and Research Collections Coordinator

Do I need the permission to publish materials that I copied at the Archives?

Yes, if you plan to publish what you have copied in your dissertation, book, article, etc.

Please Note: Permission to examine or photocopy does not constitute permission to publish.

Permission to publish previously unpublished material must be obtained from the owner of the rights. Permission to publish may only be obtained in writing.

For School of Theology Library Owned Collections:

For those items that are owned by Boston University School of Theology Library/Archives, use of the Permission to Publish Form is required.  Researchers must print and fill out two copies of the form and mail both copies of the form to the Head Librarian, Dr. Amy Limpitlaw, or her authorized representative.  One will be kept on file in the Archives and the other will be sent back to the researcher.  The return of the second copy, bearing the signature of the Head Librarian, or his authorized representative, constitutes permission to publish.

For collections Owned by Other Parties:

For those items that are owned 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 Archives and Research Collections Coordinator.

Whose responsibility is it to ask for copyright and literary rights permissions?

It is incumbent on the researcher and writer to contact the appropriate parties for permission to publish.

Boston University 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?

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 Archives Coordinator and the Archivist at the General Commission on Archives and History.

For the School of Theology Archives Collections, access to certain classes of records is restricted by federal law or request of donor. These include:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Records where usage might constitute an invasion of privacy or which are currently in litigation.
  4. 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.