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Special Collections

Guidelines for Classroom Use by USC Students, Faculty and Staff of Archives, Manuscripts and Special Collections in USC Libraries


USC Libraries acquires, preserves, and makes available archives, manuscripts, and special collections in all formats for the use of University of Southern California community. For the purpose of these guidelines the USC community includes faculty, students, and staff at the University of Southern California.

As a fundamental part of USC Libraries’ mission, we encourage the USC community to use the university’s archives, manuscripts, and special collections for their instruction and classroom assignments. Working with these collections provides students hands-on research experience with primary sources and promotes the university’s special collections across and beyond the University of Southern California.

All users of items in special collections are expected to adhere to all registration and usage guidelines. To facilitate use of these materials in the classroom (including items in digital format), USC Libraries allows students, faculty, and staff to use archival, manuscript, and special collections without requiring a license agreement. This includes the use of these materials for a defined period of time, which typically matches the semester during which the course is taught. Additionally, USC Libraries waives license fees for materials employed within the context of instruction and coursework. This permission does not include the right to publish or distribute these materials outside the boundaries of the course. Permissions to publish or distribute materials outside the framework of the classroom may require a license agreement. (For more information, please contact us at specol@usc.edu).

Following established scholarly practice, students, faculty, and staff using USC Libraries’ collections should include proper citation for individual items, indicating the name of the collection and listing USC Libraries as owner. In addition, the citation should include the USC course number and indicate that the usage is part of a class project. For example, the citation should include the following information:

Box/folder number or Item name, Name of collection, Collection number, USC Libraries, University of Southern California. USC Libraries grants use of these materials during [term and year, e.g. "Spring 2012"] in conjunction with coursework for [course number, eg. "HIST 104g"].