Photocopies & Low-Resolution Scans (PDFs)


Low-resolution scans (PDFs) 2021-2022

Paper photocopies and low-resolution digital reproductions (PDFs) are provided to our users to support research and scholarship. The RBML provides reproductions from our collections upon request as long as the staff determines that copying will not harm the original document(s) or violate copyright law.

  • Reproduction orders for archival material are limited to a maximum of 250 pages. Reproductions of Oral Histories, Master's Essays or Dissertations are limited to 650 pages.

  • Bound materials other than Oral Histories, Master's Essays and Dissertations cannot usually be reproduced via cannot usually be reproduced via photocopy or low-resolution PDF and must be reproduced via high-resolution digital imaging.

  • Orders which meet our Terms of Service will be processed within 6-8 weeks.

  • Please note that you must agree to the Terms of Service and sign any order forms. Failure to sign forms will delay order processing.

Requests for a complete unit of material, such as an entire box of manuscript material or an entire bound volume, cannot be filled by low-resolution scanning, but may be possible through high-resolution digital imaging, if condition, copyright law, and available staff resources allow. 

Columbia University Libraries (CUL) provides high-resolution digital reproductions and original or archival time-based media conversion services for purposes of supporting teaching, research, and other scholarship.

Terms of Service For 2021-2022

Low-resolution digital scans (PDFs) are provided to our users to support research and scholarship. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) provides reproductions from our collections under the following terms of service and as long as copying will not harm the original document(s) or violate copyright law:

  • Our ability to deliver low-resolution digital scans is dependent on available staff resources.
  • Priority processing will be given to requests in support of teaching and research by affiliates of Columbia University. 
  • Reproduction orders for archival material are limited to a maximum total of 250 pages.
  • Reproductions of Oral Histories, MA Essays or Dissertations are limited to 650 pages.
  • We reserve the right to limit or refuse multiple orders or single requests which exceed our maximum order limits, or to charge fees for accepted orders which we discover to exceed the above maximum order limits.
  • We can accept scan requests for “known items” (e.g. Box 7, Folder 3) but may not be able to fulfill requests which would first require dedicated research. Users may hire a current Columbia student to conduct research on their behalf.
  • Bound materials other than Oral Histories, MA Essays and Dissertations cannot usually be reproduced via photocopy or low-resolution PDF and may need to be reproduced via high-resolution digital imaging.
  • Requests for a complete unit or large amount of material, such as an entire box of manuscript material, cannot be fulfilled by low-resolution scanning. Reproductions may be possible through high-resolution digital imaging, if condition and copyright law allows. RBML staff will contact you if your request cannot be fulfilled by low-resolution digital imaging (PDF).
  • Accepted orders which meet these terms of service can generally be processed within 6-8 weeks.

Scan Request Instructions

If you wish to request scans, read and agree to the above Terms of Service and complete and return the form below to initiate a request. Library staff will review your request. We will contact you if your order cannot be fulfilled. If your order is accepted and can be processed, we will contact you to provide further instructions.

Oral History

The ability of the Oral History Archives to reproduce transcripts for private research varies across the collections on an interview by interview basis. Ability to reproduce and allowable reproduction format is dependent on contractual obligations to narrators and copyright law. Please consult the Oral History Archives FAQ or contact the OH Archives for more information on their reproduction policies and forms.

Columbia University crown

Master's Essays & Dissertations

For information on how to find and order copies of Columbia University Master's essays and dissertations, please check out the University Archives Research Guide.