Collection Use Policies

Policies and Regulations Governing the Use of Manuscripts and Archival Collections

The University of Tulsa's basic policies support freedom of research and the unrestricted dissemination of the results of research. The following policies governing the use of manuscript materials are intended to be as liberal as possible with due consideration given to the needs of all scholars, the restrictions imposed by authors or donors, the laws concerned with literary rights, the nature of the materials, and the physical preservation of the manuscripts.


  1. Any person of good conduct may make written application to the Mabee Legal Information Center (MLIC) Head of Technical Services or Director or designee for permission to examine the manuscripts. Permission, subject to any general restrictions on access imposed by the writer, the donor, or the MLIC, will be granted at the discretion of the MLIC Head of Technical Services or Director or designee to qualified and properly accredited persons whose purposes are acceptable.
  2. Manuscript material may be used only in the appropriate reading areas as designated by the Head of Technical Services or Director or designee. No manuscripts may be taken from these reading areas without specific permission in writing from the Head of Technical Services or Director or designee. Manuscript users are required to conform to the regulations governing handling and note-taking which are specified by the Head of Technical Services or Director or designee.


  1. Manuscripts may not be copied by any process unless the applicant has given, by his/her signature on the Reader's Application, written assurance to the MLIC that no document or substantial portion of a document will be published or reproduced without the permission of the writer or his legal representative and the MLIC.
  2. Requests must be made in writing and must specify exactly the materials and passages to be copied. Requests which require copying a substantial part of a collection are rarely approved.
  3. All photocopying will be done by the MLIC staff. They will determine (a) whether the item is too fragile for photocopying and (b) whether copyright restrictions will allow the filling of your order. Books under copyright can be copied up to 10% of the pages under fair-use law. To request photocopies, please fill out a Published Work Photocopy Request form (for published books), or an Unpublished Works Photocopy Request form (for manuscripts and unpublished books). Please specify on the form the exact nature, number, and location of the items to be photocopied. Copies are $.30 per page, plus a minimum $10.00 handling charge for mailed photocopies.
  4. Photocopies of manuscripts or other materials in the collection are not to be made available to any other person or institution without the written permission of the MLIC.
  5. Permissions. Unpublished items such as letters or writing projects cannot be photocopied without the written permission of the author or the author’s legal representative. To obtain photocopies of any such items, please ask for a Photocopy Permission Request form and send it to the author’s estate. When the completed form is returned to us and approved, we can proceed with the photocopy order. Photocopy orders filled under such circumstances must be either returned or destroyed, and notification given, after your use is completed. Permission to photocopy does not confer permission to publish or reproduce.
  6. Photographic or digital reproductions of items are also handled by the MLIC staff, and are governed by the same permission policies. Scanning and use fees are available upon request.


  1. Permission to examine or to copy a manuscript does not convey the right to publish or to reproduce the material. Publication privileges may be secured only upon the joint authorization of the MLIC and the holder of the literary rights if the MLIC does not have those rights.
  2. Permission to publish is granted on the basis of written application specifying the material to be published and the place of publication. When requested, and when resources permit, the MLIC will check the accuracy of transcription.
  3. Permission to quote from or publish a manuscript will normally be granted by the MLIC provided that: written permission of the specific use intended has been secured from the holder of the literary rights; the applicant appears competent to deal with the materials in question (as attested by the applicant's references or by his/her position); the contemplated research project meets commonly-accepted standards of scholarship; and prior publication rights to the material have not already been reserved by another scholar.
  4. Where permission to publish is granted, the applicant agrees: (a) to indicate in the published work that the original manuscript is located in the Mabee Legal Information Center, The University of Tulsa College of Law; and (b) to assume full and complete responsibility for any infringement of copyright or literary rights that may grow out of use or publication.

Prior Rights

  1. The University of Tulsa claims no exclusive rights to the use or to the publication of manuscripts in its possession, nor will it extend such rights to others. In certain special cases, however, where it would seem to aid and advance research, specified scholars may be granted a limited priority to publish designated manuscripts or portions of manuscripts. The MLIC Head of Technical Services or Director or designee may at his/her discretion, and after consultation with the Dean of the College of Law, grant such a priority right for a reasonable and definitely-stated period, which may be extended, upon written application, at the Head of Technical Services or Director or designee's discretion. When such a priority has been granted, the right of others to consult the designated manuscript shall not be curtailed by such action, but the right to quote or to publish the manuscript will normally be granted to others only with the consent of the person to whom the prior right has been granted.
  2. In giving permission to copy or publish a manuscript, the MLIC does not surrender its own right to publish or to authorize others to publish that manuscript though it would normally refrain from either action until the first-permitted publication has occurred, or the allotted period of time has elapsed. While the MLIC will endeavor to protect and assure scholarly right, it cannot guarantee such protection.