Access and Reuse of Analog Materials in the Archives

Melissa Torres
University Archivist
W.I. Dykes Library
University of Houston-Downtown
Chair, Lone Arrangers Section
Society of American Archivists

Dear Collective Wisdom

A hopefully recurring feature on Solo!

Last fall, Meg Miner (University Archivist & Special Collections Librarian at Illinois Wesleyan University) submitted a question to the listserv, asking for policy language for access and reuse of analog materials in the archives. She had a researcher who offered to bring in his own recording equipment if they would give him permission to “upload audio cassettes to a device or laptop.”

She was uncomfortable with that approach.

After a couple of months, some discussion on and off list, she reported back to us all in December about the strategies she chose to employ. Firstly, “reproductions are provided for research purposes and do not imply permission to publish.” Secondly, “pre-payment is required before [reproduction] requests can be processed.” Initiating a payment system ensures that her labor is not being abused. She goes on to define for potential users the terms reproduction, use, and what the rights of the archives are with regard to reproduction and re-use.

She reported to the listserv that the initial user was satisfied and not upset about the forms or policies. She has decided to waive costs for her internal users (like administrators) but to notify them overtly that their fees are being waived.

Lone Arrangers who are not currently subscribed to the section’s listerv should feel encouraged to visit the SAA page about connecting online.