Use Policies & Services

ORDERS & SERVICES for the 2021-2022

All services are contingent upon available staff resources. Turnaround times may be longer. We appreciate your patience and flexibility. See the RBML's Orders & Services page for additional details.


The University Archives provides reproductions of images and documents from our collections upon request as long as the staff determines that copying will not harm the original document(s) or violate current copyright law

  • Reproduction orders for archival material (not including Master's essays and dissertaitions) are limited to a maximum of 250 pages. 
  • Bound materials cannot usually be photocopied and must be serviced via low-resolution PDF.
  • Orders may be submitted in-person or remotely.
  • All orders are processed in order of receipt—usually within three to four weeks.
  • All reproduction orders must be prepaid; we accept cash, checks, Visa and MasterCard.
  • Please note that the copyright statement must be signed; failure to sign the form will delay processing of your order.
  • Users can request low-resolution digital copies (PDFs) or photocopies. The UA can also generate high-resolution digital reproductions or image scans provided at 600 dpi as tiff or jpeg files. Default delivery method for all digital files is either via WeTransfer, Drop Box or Google Drive. Fees for the two kinds of images are listed below.

Master's Essays & Dissertations

Full text copies of dissertations published since 1997 (and some earlier dates) are available to Columbia UNI holders via ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database.  Non-Columbia patrons may order copies via ProQuest Dissertation Express. Various formats & fees apply.

Master's essays can be found by searching CLIO, our online library catalogue, with call numbers starting with COA. School of the Arts Writing Division MFA Essays require the permission of the author in order to be reproduced. Researchers should request permission via the School of the Arts Writing Division Office (Phone: (212) 854-4391; Once permission is received, the reproduction order can be processed. 

There is a $30.00 flat rate for PDF copy of master's essay or dissertation up to 650 pages in length, or $15.00 for previously scanned works. For information on how to find and order copies of Columbia University Master's essays and dissertations, please check out our Research Guide.

Reproduction Order Forms

If you wish to place an order, please print out the form below and fill it out as completely as possible.

Onsite User Fees
  • PDF or paper photocopies: $0.25 per page
  • PDF copies of Master's Essays or Dissertations: $30.00 for up to 650 pages.
  • High resolution (600 dpi) TIFF or JPEG digital reproductions (UA)
    • $20.00/$10.00 new scan (non-CU/CU Patron)
    • No fee for copy of existing scan
  • Domestic Postage
    $6.00 for the first 100 pages
    $5.00 for each additional increment of 100 pages, up to 500 pages
  • International Postage
    Calculated on an individual basis.
Remote User Fees
  • PDF or paper photocopies:
    • $30.00 minimum charge for up to 75 pages (includes domestic postage)
    • $12.00 for each additional increment of 25 pages (includes domestic postage)
  • PDF copies of Master's Essays or Dissertations: $30.00 for up to 650 pages
  • High resolution (TIFF or JPEG) digital reproductions (UA)
    • $20.00/$10.00 new scan (non-CU/CU Patron)
    • No fee for copy of existing scan
  • International Postage
    Calculated on an individual basis.

Payment Methods

  • Cash is accepted at the RBML reference desk only. Please do not send cash by mail.
  • Checks made payable to "Columbia University" drawn on a United States bank, in United States Dollars.
  • Credit card: MasterCard or Visa only. Please provide the card number, the name as it appears on the card, the expiration date, and the security code (a three-digit code located on the signature line on the back of the card). To ensure your security, the RBML will only accept credit card numbers in person or via telephone. Do not email or fax your credit card information.

Publication Policy, Citation Format & Copyright

General Policy

In most cases, the University Archives (RBML) owns only the physical object and therefore does not assume any responsibility for literary property, copyright, or any other legal issues involved in the publication and reproduction of items in its collections. It is the responsibility of the user to secure permission from the appropriate copyright holder. Any copyright infringement which may occur through the use of our material is the responsibility of the patron. The University Archives does not charge for the physical use of its items, but we do request that you use the following credit line:

"University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries".

If there is a known photographer or artist associated with an image you wish to publish we recommend attribution as good scholarly practice.

Citation Format

If you are citing a specific document, please use the following citation format:

Manuscript Citation: identification of specific item, date [if known], name of collection (Box #, Folder #), University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

Book Citation: Title, Call #, University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.


For more additional information on copyright and fair use issues, please visit the web site of the Columbia University Libraries Copyright Advisory Office.  

For more information on publication policies for the Libraries in general, please see: Columbia University Libraries Publication and Digital Reproduction Policy and Procedures.

You may also want to consult WATCH, a database containing the names and addresses of copyright holders or contact persons for authors and artists whose archives are housed, in whole or in part, in libraries and archives in North America and the United Kingdom. WATCH is a joint project of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Reading Library, Reading, England.


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.