Archives Policies

Access Policies

Researchers must have an appointment for use of archival materials. To schedule an appointment, please visit the Ask the Archivist form. Researchers must schedule an appointment at least 24 hours in advance for access to any archival collections. Walk-ins may be accepted on a case-by-case basis for books in the Research Collections ONLY. During the academic year, the Archival Reading Room is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 10:30am-6:00pm and Thursday 1pm-9pm.

To preserve our materials into the future, we do not allow food, drink, or ink pens in the Archival Reading Room. For items that require sensitive handling, gloves are available in the Archival Reading Room. Researchers are welcome to use the library’s scanners to produce PDFs or use personal cameras or cell phones as long as they do not damage the material. All materials are subject to US Copyright Law. More information on reproductions can be found below.

Access to some collections may be restricted due to fragile condition, confidentiality, request of the creator or the discretion of the Archivist and Preservation Librarian. 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.


Copies of unpublished materials may be used for private research use only. Scans, photocopies, and any other reproduction requests of some items and collections may be restricted due to fragile condition, confidentiality, copyright, request of the creator or the discretion of the Archives and Preservation Librarian. Reproduction requests are approved on a case-by-case basis, and no collection may be reproduced in its entirety.

Photocopying, scanning, and other 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 will apply. If the patron requests 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.

You can use your camera to take pictures of the archival materials in the Archival Reading Room when 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.

Permission to Publish

Please Note: Permission to examine or photocopy does not constitute permission to publish materials in any way.

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, 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.

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 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.

Copyright Information

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.

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 and academia.

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.