Research Services

Using Special Collections and College Archives

Special Collections services are available to the entire Occidental community, outside researchers, and the general public.

Questions? Ask Us


  • Please submit your inquiry through Ask Us. One of our team members will be in touch once your request is received.
  • Special Collections and College Archives respects researchers' privacy. Inquiries remain private and and are limited to Special Collections staff unless prior permission is given by the researcher.
  • Please provide proper citations to the materials used and repository name in footnotes/endnotes, references, and bibliographies.
  • Preferred citation style: [identification of item], [collection name], Special Collections and College Archives, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Some records contain access restrictions 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.
  • Special Collections and College Archives documents the usage of materials 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 We request researchers send copies of articles, essays, theses, books and other works, published or unpublished, that utilized materials in Occidental College's Special Collections and College Archives.

Permission to Publish

  • For requests to publish, exhibit, use in a film, or place on a website copies of images in Occidental College Library Special Collections & College Archives, please submit your request through Ask Us.
  • Permission to publish material must be granted in writing from Special Collections and College Archives as the physical owner of the material. However, permission to publish does not constitute a copyright clearance. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure copyrigt clearance from the copyright holder(s). Special Collections can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we retain copyright. Special Collections and College Archives, Occidental College Library, and Occidental College are not responsible for the misuse of copyrighted material.

Scanning and Photographing by Researcher/Patron

  • Please ask before taking a photo. Approval is subject to the physical condition of the materials and any donor restrictions in place. Researchers who make digital reproductions are responsible for abiding by United States copyright laws. If approved, please make sure the flash is turned off.
  • Our staff adheres to the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) when creating reproductions. In applying these standards, and generally accepted practices for "Fair Use," Special Collections and College Archives reserves the right to refuse a duplication request if, in the judgment of staff, fulfillment of the order would either damage the materials or risk violation of copyright law.
  • Requests for digital images for publication are handled on a case-by-case basis. Special Collections reserves the right to charge a handling fee for any copying or scanning orders, especially for those orders that are large, complicated, or rush orders. Contact us for reproduction and licensing fees.
  • Reproduction requests may take 2 weeks or longer to fill.


  • Special Collections and College Archives provide reproduction services subject to the physical condition of the materials, staffing capacity, copyright laws of the United States, and restrictions set by donors. All requests for reproductions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Reproductions will be made solely for the personal use of the individual researcher/patron requesting them, and are not to be sold, given away or duplicated in any manner without the prior written permission by the appropriate department head. Reproduction of material by University Archives or Rare Books & Special Collections does not constitute permission to publish.
  • Researchers/patrons are responsible for securing any permissions required for the use of reproductions.

At the Reading Room

  • Please finish all food and beverages before arriving.
  • Please sign in at the door upon arrival and let us know what items are on hold for you. 
  • Please stow your personal belonging (book bag, jacket, purse, etc.) on the designated cart. Researchers may use a personal laptop or paper will be provided for note taking.
  • Our materials do not circulate and must be consulted in the Reading Room.

Care and Handling of Rare Books and Archival Materials

Please help us preserve our materials for everyone to be able to use. We ask you:

  • To use pencil only (Avoid pens, markers, highlighters, whiteout, and indelible pencils which we cannot remove from materials without damaging them)
  • Not to use sticky notes or write on top of any item even if using a notepad
  • To not trace an image of an item
  • To not write in or damage any book, manuscript, or any other Special Collections item
  • To let a Special Collections and College Archives team member know if you see a defect on any item
  • To handle materials with proper equipment. Our staff is here to help advise.
Updated 8/26/2022