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General Principles

    1. Restricted material will be so labeled and so recorded in HOLLIS/OASIS/VIA. Some restrictions, such as copyright, deposit status, and those imposed by the donor will also be documented in curatorial files.
    2. Requests for access to restricted items must be submitted in writing. Staff/curatorial review of these requests will be done as quickly as possible and may take up to 2 business days. Requests for restricted materials that involve contacting donors or depositors will be referred to the curator. In cases where it will take longer than 2 days, the appropriate curatorial department will contact the researcher. All requests, and their outcomes, should be returned to Public Services for filing and annual review.
    3. Every effort will be made to apply restrictions to all readers equally and to offer an appeal process that will be as transparent and consistent as possible.
    4. Restricted items will be physically marked.
    5. Unprocessed collections will not be restricted unless the curator is aware of privacy or legal issues with the collection. If a restriction is regularly waived, it will be removed.
    6. Restricted items with no appeal process (at the current date), will be physically marked, ideally kept in the vault, and have their "Request" buttons removed from HOLLIS.
    7. There will be mechanisms in place to review restrictions regularly and to add/remove them as needed.

Note: Rather than create a centralized resource for looking up restriction information (as recommended by the task force), all requests involving interpretation of terms or provisions of donor/depositor contact information will be referred to the curator. Curators will provide a list of regularly requested contact information (Wolfe, Eliot, etc.) for Public Services staff use.
Standardize Restriction Location:
If a restriction is required, the note will be placed:

  • in Aleph holdings field 506 1_
  • in EAD <accessrestrict> tag
  • in the access restriction field in OLIVIA

All restrictions notes must use one of the following 10 possibilities:

  1. Restricted: fragile; use surrogate. For access to original consult curatorial staff.
      1. This restriction applies when collection material is at risk of losing textual, graphical or other artifactual information with continued use and a surrogate has been created from Houghton originals or collected by Houghton (additional copy) for this purpose. (Note: thorough use of available surrogates should be enforced; get backup from preservation librarian/curator if necessary.)
      2. When there is no surrogate, #2, #3, or #5 should be used.
      3. Next step: Request For Restricted Materials form (RFRM)* to curatorial staff
  2. Restricted: fragile; consult curatorial staff.
      1. No surrogate available but use will endanger item.
      2. Next step: RFRM to curatorial staff. If time-sensitive situations occur during off-hours and Saturdays when curatorial/preservation staff is unavailable, reference staff can make judgment.
  3. Restricted: special handling required; consult curatorial staff for appointment.
      1. Requires specialized staff retrieval and/or other mediation beyond what public service staff provide (e.g., Richardson, Horblit, HTC set backdrops)
      2. Next step: Refer to appropriate curatorial staff
  4. Restricted: unprocessed; consult curatorial staff.
      1. Fragility, FERPA, HIPAA, other privacy issues. Note: In large collections, some boxes may be restricted while others are not.
      2. Next step: RFRM to curatorial staff
  5. Restricted: limited access; consult curatorial staff.
      1. Iconic or monetary value requires extra protection (e.g., Gutenberg Bible, Bay Psalm Book; vault material)
      2. Next step: RFRM to curatorial staff
  6. Restricted: limited access; use surrogate. For access to original, consult curatorial staff.
      1. Iconic or monetary value requires extra protection
      2. Next step: RFRM to curatorial staff
  7. Restricted: donor/depositor permission required; [collection/series/folder/item] [a) "closed until YYYY MONTH DD" or b) "on deposit"]; consult curatorial staff.
      1. Next step: Ask curatorial staff to be put in contact with donor/depositor
  8. Restricted: closed for cataloging until [YYYY MONTH].
      1. Next step: curatorial staff and Associate Librarian for Technical Services
  9. Restricted: closed for conservation.
      1. Next step: Preservation Librarian
  10. Restricted: for legal or university policy reasons; available [YYYY MONTH].
      1. Harvard rule for administrative records (also can be used for known FERPA, HIPPA issues in the case of collections that are processed but unavailable)
      2. Next step: Consult curatorial staff

For all newly acquired items/collections, the default will be unrestricted. If a restriction is necessary, curators/preservation librarian will indicate which one (from 1-10) above and mark it on the cataloging routing slip or MS accessioning form. Again, partial collection restrictions are an option. If no restriction is indicated, 506 will be marked "Open for research." or will not be included in the record.

IMPORTANT: If only part of collection is restricted, please indicate this on cataloging routing slip/MS accessioning form. Wording should then read "Partially Restricted:---" with details included elsewhere on the record and/or in the finding aid.

*To appeal a restriction, readers can contact the approver directly by email or complete a Request For Restricted Materials form (RFRM). Sample form attached as Appendix A.


Note 1: There is no boilerplate restriction for materials on deposit. If the donor wants these restricted, use #7 and/or #10. If the donor did not request restrictions, use "Open for research.

Note 2: We have removed the restriction for collections that are "staff use only"(circ records, internal use records, etc) – these records will be suppressed in HOLLIS.

Note 3: We also removed the restriction for "special equipment or surrogate required" when items are on media for which we have no playback mechanism. This is not really a "Use restriction" so much as an "Access note"(845) that needs to be added: "Special equipment or surrogate required; consult Houghton staff."

Note 4: We removed the restriction for "No copying …". This is not a "Use restriction" but an "Access note" (845) that needs to be added: "No copying allowed per donor agreement or because originals are held elsewhere; consult curator to contact donor/owner." If there is no Access note restricting copying, copies will be allowed.

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