Research Services

Using Special Collections and College Archives

Special Collections services are available to Occidental students, faculty, staff and outside researchers:

Policies & Procedures

Services and reading room are available to researchers by appointment. For remote researchers who cannot come in, we can provide an hour of research free of charge. Additional time may be charged at $25/hour. Due to limited staff we request at least 2 weeks to research and, in some cases, we may not be able to fulfill requests. The primary mission of Special Collections is to support the work of Occidental College students, faculty and staff. Service for all others is provided as time allows.

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Research | Permission to Publish | Copying/Photographing | At the Reading Room | Care and Handling


  • Please submit a Research Inquiry for, and one of our staff will contact you to assist with your inquiry.
  • During the research process,a researcher's inquiries are private and limited to Special Collections staff unless prior permission is given by the researcher.
  • The repository name and materials used in research must be cited in bibliographies, references and footnotes.
  • Preferred citation style: [identification of item], [collection name], Special Collections & College Archives, Occidental College Library, Los Angeles.
  • Some records contain restrictions. Conditions on access exist to protect individual privacy or confidential information. In these cases, the Archivist or the creating office can sometimes grant permission to gain access to the records.
  • The usage of materials is documented by Special Collections Staff for internal reference, improved service, and to guard against loss.
  • Researchers can provide useful information and enhance the historical record about a period, artifact or event. We request researchers send copies of articles, essays, theses, books and other works, published or unpublished.

Permission to Publish

  • Patrons requesting to publish, exhibit, use in a film, or place on a website copies of images from the collections of the Occidental College Library Special Collections & College Archives must communicate their intentions in an email to and complete an application, which will include the specific conditions of use and specific formatting details.
  • Permission to publish material must be sought in writing from Special Collections as the physical owner of the material. However, permission to publish does not constitute a copyright clearance. Copyright clearance must be obtained from the copyright holder(s) by the researcher. Special Collections can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we retain copyright. Special Collections is not responsible for the misuse of copyrighted material.

Copying, Scanning, Photographing

  • Photographing must be approved in advance, even for reference only; flash is not allowed. 
  • The United States copyright law, Title 17, U.S. Code, governs the making of reproductions, including photocopying, of copyrighted material. Special Collections reserves the right to refuse a copying order if, in its judgment, it would involve violation of copyright law.
  • Requests for digital images for publication: Special Collections reserves the right to charge a handling fee of 25% of the total cost for any copying or scanning orders, especially for those orders that are large, complicated, or “rushed." Contact us for reproduction and licensing fees.
  • Turnaround for reproduction requests may take up to 2 weeks or longer.

At the Reading Room

  • Please sign in at the door upon arrival and ask an available librarian for assistance. 
  • Materials can only be used in the Reading Room; do not remove any items from the Reading Room.
  • Leave your book bag, jacket and/or purse on the designated cart. Researchers may use a personal laptop or paper will be provided for note taking. Should you wish to use a notebook or binder, these will be inspected to avoid against misplaced materials. 
  • The stacks within Special Collections and College Archives are closed to all except authorized Special Collections staff. You must request materials from the librarian or staff.

Care and Handling of Rare Books and Archival Materials

  • Use pencils only. Pens, markers, highlighters, whiteout and indelible pencils are not allowed.
  • Do not use sticky notes or write on top of any Special Collections item, even if using a notepad.
  • No tracing or photocopying.
  • Do not write upon, damage or make any mark upon any book, manuscript, or any other Special Collections item. If you see a defect in or on any item, please call it to the attention of the Special Collections Librarian.
  • Research materials, including rare books, manuscripts and archival documents, require special handling such as the use of cotton gloves, book cradles or other tools.  The librarian will instruct you about how to handle an individual or group of items.
Updated 6/3/2021