Today: McKeldin 10:00AM - 09:00PM

Digital Camera Policy


Researchers are encouraged to use cameras in the Maryland Room to create research copies from Special Collections material for personal reference use ONLY. Flatbed and/or personal scanners are NOT PERMITTED in the Maryland Room.


  • are more gentle on collection materials than photocopying or scanning;
  • save time and eliminate duplication costs;
  • save paper and photocopy toner to reduce the University Libraries’ environmental impact;
  • allow the University Libraries to deliver collection materials in an up-to-date format;

Digital Copies

  • Digital copies are equivalent to paper copies in the eyes of U.S. copyright law (Title 17, United States Code).
  • Researchers must agree to use digital copies for study, teaching, and research purposes ONLY in compliance with copyright law.
  • If researchers wish to obtain publication quality digital copies, they should consult the Digital Surrogate Policy.

Rules and Procedures


  • Researchers are permitted to photograph special collections holdings, but access to certain collections may be delayed due to the need to screen unprocessed collections for materials that may need to be restricted due to privacy constraints (social security numbers, personnel files, etc.).
  • Researchers should contact the Maryland Room PRIOR TO THEIR VISIT to ascertain whether or not the materials they wish to see will require screening.
  • If the materials being used are protected by copyright, the use of photographs is for personal research ONLY. The patron is ALWAYS responsible for contacting the appropriate rights holders PRIOR to using any such photographs for publication. The Maryland Room will not be held responsible if patrons violate a rights holder’s copyright.
  • A curator or other Maryland Room staff member may refuse to allow researchers to photograph original materials or limit the quantity of digital copies to be created. Reasons may include: fragility of materials; damage to materials; oversize or otherwise cumbersome materials; donor restrictions; or patron misuse.


  • Researchers desiring to photograph rare books, manuscripts, and/or archival materials must complete a Use of Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Form.
  • Researchers may also use the Duplication Form to list each item or folder they are reproducing for their records. This information will not be retained in the Maryland Room. 


  • Researchers must request permission to use a tripod or other specialized equipment.
  • Flatbed and/or personal scanners are not permitted in the Maryland Room. Scanners are more damaging to documents than cameras due to handling and light exposure. They are also disruptive to other patrons in the reading room.

Photography Rules

  • Photography MUST NOT disturb other researchers or staff in the reading room. All audio functions on digital cameras must be turned off, and users may not photograph other patrons, staff, or the reading room.
  • Flash photography is NOT PERMITTED. Flash photography is a distraction to others in the reading room and may be harmful to materials.
  • Researchers using cameras must sit at a designated table close to the reading room reference desk. An exception may be made if the material to be photographed is especially large.
  • Library materials may not be placed on the floor, and standing on tables and chairs or rearranging furniture is not permitted.

Materials Handling

  • Materials may not be physically manipulated in order to achieve a better image.
  • Researchers may not press down on materials or bindings. Weight bags are available to hold down pages in some instances.
  • Manuscript materials must always be flat on the table and not held up in the air.
  • Loose materials must remain in their folder and in order at all times.
  • Materials must be photographed one folder at a time.
  • Bound volumes should not be laid flat. Book cradles will be provided upon request.
  • Pages should never be folded, fasteners should never be removed, and materials should not be removed from sleeves, mattes, etc.
  • Researchers should ask staff for assistance if needed.


  • If camera use is not permitted for certain materials, library staff may provide digitization services for standard fees.
  • The University Libraries reserve the right to deny permission to photograph any collection materials at its discretion.


  • Researchers are solely responsible for properly recording complete citations for their copies. The Maryland Room can provide forms that will assist patrons in tracking what they have photographed.
  • Subsequent orders for publication quality images cannot be processed without complete citations.


  • If researchers wish to publish copies in any way for materials protected under copyright, including on the web or in print, they must obtain the permission of the copyright holder. If the copyright holder is the University of Maryland, the researcher must submit a Permission to Publish Form. There may also be standard use fees associated with publishing images.
  • It is highly recommended that researchers request a high-resolution copy for publication.
  • Researchers agree to include the following information in a citation for any copies that are published: a copyright notice (if the copyright holder is known); acknowledgment of the author, photographer, or artist, if applicable; the title of the collection; and the credit line, "Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries."
  • For Example: May Queen 1969; copyright University of Maryland, Michael Parker, photographer, Adele Stamp papers; Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.
  • More information, such as series number, box number, and folder title may be required for footnotes and endnotes.

Revoking Privileges

Researchers must handle all materials properly and follow all reading room rules and procedures.

If a researcher is handling materials in a way that is potentially damaging, or not following the reading room rules and procedures, a researcher's personal camera privileges or other reading room privileges may be revoked.