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University Libraries

Charles B. Sears Law Library University at Buffalo School of Law

Archives and Special Collections Policies and Rules


Rules for Using Special Collections

The collections are available by appointment only. To make an appointment to access the collection, please email asklaw@buffalo.edu or phone 716-645-2047.

Researchers seeking access to the collections must sign in with his/her name, institution, and research interest and provide a current photo identification (e.g. driver's license, campus ID, passport).

Records of which boxes, folders, or volumes the researcher requests will be kept on file.

No collections may be accessed without the researcher reading, understanding, and signing the "Archives and Special Collections Policies and Rules" agreement form.

Only one folder or title will be retrieved at a time. Items must be returned to the collection before another request is filled.

All materials will be viewed in a supervised location.

No food, beverage, or candy is permitted to be near the collections at any time.

All notes must be taken in pencil. No other writing implements are allowed to be anywhere near the collections. Personal computers are permitted, but no personal scanning devices may be used.

Only notebooks, notepads, pencils, and personal computers may be on the table when viewing the collections. Everything else must be stowed beneath the chair or table.

The materials must be kept flat on the table at all times unless there are specific instructions to use a cradle or other viewing aid. Patrons may be required to wear gloves when handling certain materials.

Do not make any marks on any of the materials. Do not fold, tear, or otherwise adjust any of the materials. No marking, erasing, tracing or rubbing is permitted.

The exact order and arrangement of manuscript materials must be kept intact. If any mistakes in arrangement are discovered, please call it to the attention of the librarian.

Permission to photocopy must be obtained by the librarian. Only the librarian may make the photocopies. Fragile items will not be available for photocopying.

Patrons wishing to make digital photographs (with cell phone, camera, tablet, or other devices) must complete all necessary permission forms. Further permission from copyright holder may be necessary. Flash is prohibited.

Researchers agree to indemnify and hold harmless the University at Buffalo and its officers, employees, and agents from and against all suits, claims, actions, and expenses arising out of use of archival collections held by the University at Buffalo.

Before leaving, the researcher may be asked to submit his/her briefcase, bag, notebook, computer, jacket, or other personal objects to inspection.

Failure to comply with these policies will result in revocation of access.

Note: additional restrictions may be in place for some closed collections, designated for in-house use only. Please see a librarian for more information.


On publication of Special Collections material:

Special Collections material cannot be re-copied for private use or publication without regard for the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) and the laws of libel.

Responsibility for obtaining permission to publish rests with the researcher and his/her publishers. The reproduction of Special Collections material for private study, scholarship, or research does not constitute permission to publish. The University at Buffalo makes no representations of the exclusive rights of copyright ownership unless such rights have been given to the University.

The proper citation for Special Collections material is:

"[Item], Box/Folder, Law Spec. Coll. #, Name of Collection or Record Group, Charles B. Sears Law Library, University at Buffalo."


Privacy and Personally Identifiable Information

Manuscript collections that include twentieth and twenty-first century archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state "right to privacy" laws, including but not limited to certain educational, medical, financial, criminal, attorney-client, and personnel records. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal cause for action if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person.

Staff has taken care to identify and, in some cases, remove Personally Identifiable Information found within its archival collections when undertaking archival processing work. However, privacy protected information may be revealed during use of the archival collections, particularly in those collections that are unprocessed or have been minimally processed.

Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections.


Revised 7/25/2017