Divinity Library Special Collections

Terms Governing Use of Holdings

Upon application, Special Collections grants permission to examine its holdings to qualified researchers, according to University Policies on Access and subject to whatever restrictions may have been placed by donors or depositors. We will not grantexclusive rights to examine holdings.

Social Security Numbers

Holdings may contain Social Security numbers. The reader must agree not to record, reproduce, or disclose any Social Security numbers that may be included in requested materials. Failure to comply with this agreement may result in the loss of research privileges at Yale University.


The department will consider requests for the reproduction of its holdings. All reproductions (of whatever nature) are provided for the reader's individual use. We reserve the right to request the return of copies and prohibit the making of duplicate copies from those we furnish.


By granting permission to examine holdings or by supplying a reproduction, we are not authorizing publication. The reader must obtain permission to publish texts and facsimiles from the owners of the copyright, typically the creator or the heirs to his or her estate. The Library will be held blameless for the infringement of copyright or of publication rights held by others.

Special Collections can only grant permission to publish texts or images for which Yale University is the copyright holder. We reserve the right to assess a use fee when granting permission to publish materials for which the University does hold copyright. In giving permission to publish, the Yale University Library does not surrender its own right thereafter to publish the material or to grant permission to others to publish it.

Researchers publishing texts or facsimiles from our holdings should cite Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library as the source. As soon as a work is published, the researcher should present Special Collections with a copy of any publication (except a dissertation) that relies heavily on the department's holdings.


These procedures are intended to provide equitable access to Collection materials in a manner that ensures their preservation. While working in the Special Collections Reading Room, please adhere to directions given by the Reading Room staff and observe the following:

  1. All researchers must be registered before materials may be consulted.
  2. Yale affiliates must present a currently valid Yale ID to register.
  3. Non-Yale affiliates must be 18 years of age or older and present official identification required by Yale University Library policy. See http://guides.library.yale.edu/speccoll-register.
  4. All researchers (Yale and non-Yale) must have their photograph taken upon registration. This photograph will be stored in the Special Collections registration database that is available only to Library staff.  A new photograph will be taken during the yearly registration update process.
  5. Researchers are required to deposit all personal property in the designated location before entering a special collections reading room. This includes briefcases, laptop and camera cases, coats, hats, eyeglass cases, and any clothing that will not be worn while in the reading room.
  6. All materials must be requested through the online system (Aeon) or by paper call slip per the requirements of the individual reading room. Researchers are requested to supply the call number and as much bibliographic information as possible to facilitate retrieval of their requests.
  7. Researchers are responsible for maintaining their own records about items they have viewed or photographed. Patrons may consult their use history of special collections in their Aeon account; staff cannot supply additional citation data for materials a researcher has used. Circulation records are retained permanently.
  8. All materials consulted on site must be used in the reading room. Born digital materials may not be copied, emailed, or otherwise transferred from the reading room
  9. Cameras, laptops, and mobile devices are permitted in the reading room without their cases. Hand-held scanners and tripods are not permitted.
    1. Do not set permitted items on top of the materials to be consulted.
    2. Cameras may only be used without flash and tripod. Do not stand on furniture to take pictures of materials. If you need assistance, consult a library staff member.
    3. Only photograph the materials you have requested. Do not photograph staff members or other researchers.
  10. If the researcher desires to take notes on paper, it will be provided. Only graphite pencils may be used for note taking.  One will be provided, if needed.
  11. Other materials may be brought into the Reading Room with permission and after examination by a Library staff member.  These materials will also be inspected after use in the Reading Room.
  12. Researchers may have one box or volume at their reading table at a time.  Up to 10 items can be requested for use at a time. Materials will be held for 5 business days, unless other arrangements are made.
  13. All items must be handled with care and should be rested on the table, in a book cradle or on foams at all times. All material must remain on the table, and never in the researcher’s lap, on the floor, on a chair, or other locations off the reading table.  Staff will assist and may direct researchers in the proper handling of materials.
    1. Special weights are available to keep tightly bound books open. Readers should not force open tightly bound books.
    2. No marks may be added or erased. No tracings or rubbings may be made without specific permissions.
    3. No books, papers, or other objects (except weights specially provided for holding books open) may be laid on or affixed to the material.
    4. The arrangement of manuscript pages must not be altered. Only one folder may be removed from a box at a time and original order of the box must be maintained.
  14. Aside from the materials located on open stacks in the Reading Room, all materials must be paged for researchers by the Special Collections staff.
  15. Researchers may select any open seat in the Reading Room, but at the discretion of the staff, some materials must be used at specific locations.
  16. As a courtesy to other researchers, please refrain from loud conversations or dictation and silence all electronic devices. Researchers must leave the reading room to make or receive telephone calls.
  17. All materials must be returned to the Reading Room attendant when the researcher leaves the building.  Materials will be inspected upon return by a staff member. Arrangements for future use can be made at this time, if needed.
  18. Researchers must remove all personal belongings from the department at the end of day. Any personal materials, including laptops, which were inside the Reading Room will be inspected by a staff member when a researcher leaves for the day. We reserve the right to search any notes or personal belongings at any time.
  19. Special exceptions may be made by the staff on a case by case basis and are not applicable to other researchers or future visits.
  20. No food or drink is permitted in the reading room, including chewing gum.
  21. Smoking is not permitted in the building.
  22. Wireless access is available to non-Yale researchers.
  23. All Special Collections Reading Rooms on the Yale campus are ADA accessible.  However, we encourage researchers needing special accommodations to email the specific repository in advance of their visit to discuss their needs.
  24. Consult a staff member at any time if there are questions about the above rules.

I have read and understand the Security and Use of Holdings information provided above, and agree to follow the Terms Governing Use and the Reading Room Procedures.

Last modified: 
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 2:24pm