Archive of Recorded Sound: Rules of use

The Archive of Recorded Sound at Stanford University Libraries is open to the public. We ask researchers to help us preserve our materials for future use by following some special handling requirements. The use of the Archive is conditional upon agreement and adherence to the following rules.

Reading Room

  • Researchers are responsible for safeguarding any archival materials made available for their use and must follow guidance provided by Archive staff as to the proper handling and treatment of collection materials.
  • Researchers must register to use the Archive. Photo identification is required (Stanford ID, driver’s license, passport, or other photo ID).
  • Please arrive with clean hands, washed only with soap and water.
  • Eating, drinking, and smoking are not permitted.
  • Ink pens and markers of all kinds are not permitted.
  • “Sticky notes” (Post-It or similar) are not permitted.
  • To protect archival materials, all personal belongings except those necessary for research (such as single sheets of paper, pencils, cell phones, and laptop computers), must be placed in the storage space provided. Pens, coats, purses, backpacks, binders, spiral bound notebooks, laptop cases, pencil cases, and other personal materials must be stowed.
  • Neither the Archive of Recorded Sound nor Stanford University is responsible for lost or stolen personal items.
  • Archive staff will supply researchers with one box at a time. Researchers may remove and use one folder at a time from the box. Please keep folders, as well as the documents in each folder, in their original order. 
  • Manuscript and archival materials must lie flat on the tables, or rest on supports provided by Archive staff. Do not rest objects on or take notes on top of materials. Do not lean on, write on, or fold archival materials or handle them in any way that may damage them.
  • When handling sensitive materials such as photographs or negatives, researchers must wear gloves provided by Archive staff.
  • Cameras and personal recording equipment are forbidden unless approved in advance by Archive staff.
  • Researchers may not remove archival materials from the reading room for any purpose.
  • Upon leaving the reading room, researchers‘ belongings are subject to inspection by Archive staff.
  • Some archival materials may be inaccessible due to condition or privacy restrictions. In some cases, researchers may be required to use reproductions of archival materials rather than the originals.
  • Specific materials may be subject to additional rules of use.


Audio Room

  • Researchers may not handle audio materials or attempt to operate the Archive’s audio equipment.
  • Any attempt to copy digital files from the audio room computer or to record playback from any device in any way will be treated as a breach of both copyright law and the Archive’s Rules of Use. Offending patrons will receive an instantaneous lifetime ban from the Archive and will be reported to Stanford University Libraries.
  • Archive staff will not play back a recording when they determine that doing so could further damage or degrade an at-risk item.


Permission to reproduce

  • Researchers may not create digital scans or copies of archival materials that may be damaged by such use.
  • Researchers are responsible for obtaining any relevant copyright permissions pertaining.
  • Researchers assume sole responsibility for any issues or questions pertaining to invasion of privacy.


Permission to publish or broadcast

  • Permission to examine, reproduce, or audition materials is not an authorization to publish or broadcast.
  • Prior to publication or broadcast of any material obtained from the Archive, patrons must supply the Archive with written permission from the copyright holder and must also receive written permission from the Archive.
  • Any materials from the Archive used in a publication or broadcast must be cited as follows: [Name of collection, Collection catalog number]. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, CA.
  • One copy of any publication or broadcast that relies heavily on Archive materials must be presented at no cost to the Archive as soon as the work is published or broadcast.
Last updated May 2, 2024