Regulations for Use of Archival Materials

Because the vast majority of our materials are unique, rare, or fragile, we ask patrons to observe the following regulations in order to create an atmosphere conducive to research and help us preserve these materials for future scholars.

 General Rules

  • Archival materials are non-circulating. They may be used in the reading room only.
  • Stack areas are closed to researchers.
  • Food and drink are not permitted in the reading room.
  • All personal belongings, except those necessary for research, should be placed in the reading room lockers. This includes coats, bags, briefcases, and laptop cases. Archives staff reserves the right to inspect any bags or containers brought into the reading room.
  • Laptops are permitted within the reading room. Use of other devices (scanners, cameras, and tape recorders) must be approved by Archives staff.
  • Use of certain University, Medical Center, and student and personnel records is regulated. Consult Archives staff for particulars of the access policy.

 Use & Handling of Materials

  • Only one box of materials may be used at a time. Remove only one folder at a time, using an “Out Card” to mark its place within the box.
  • Maintain the exact order of folders in a box and items within a folder. If an item appears to be damaged or misfiled, please notify Archives staff.
  • Handle materials carefully. Mutilation, destruction, and theft of materials are subject to prosecution.
  • Archival materials must lie flat on the tables; do not place items in your lap or hold them up. Do not rest objects on them or take notes on top of materials.
  • Use a pencil when working with materials. Pens, highlighters, and similar implements are not allowed.


  • Copies of unpublished materials are for research only, and may not be forwarded to another party, reproduced, or deposited in another repository. There are restrictions on copying records covered by University policies on access, unprocessed administrative records, fragile materials, and personal papers restricted by a donor.
  • Permission to photocopy or examine does not constitute permission to publish. Consult Archives staff for paperwork to begin this process.


  • The patron assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel and literary property rights that may be involved in the use of any document preserved in the Archives.
  • Published work created using Duke University Medical Center Archives materials should include a proper acknowledgement. The suggested citation format for use in a bibliography is “Duke University Medical Center Archives,” followed by the name of the collection.