Houghton Library

Photography and Film Policies

Houghton Library limits photography and filming to preserve its collections and maintain an environment conducive to study and research. Please consult the guidelines for appropriate use, below.

For full information on photography and filming within the Harvard College Library system, please visit hcl.harvard.edu/info/policies/#photos.

Digital Camera Use Policy

Patrons are welcomed to use digital cameras subject to the following:

Use of digital cameras is subject to the following conditions:

  • Materials must always be handled properly and with great care. Bound materials must remain in cradles and loose materials should remain in folders and flat.
  • Patrons may not use tripods, scanners, camera flashes, or special lighting.
  • Audible features on the camera must be disabled when possible. If sound cannot be disabled, reading room staff may limit photography.
  • No pictures may be taken of the room itself, other patrons, or the staff.
  • Collections may be subject to donor stipulations that limit or prohibit photography.
  • Patrons are responsible for keeping complete and accurate citations (call number, item numbers, and/or page numbers) for all items photographed. Requests for permission to quote (when applicable) and subsequent orders for digital images require this information.
  • The library reserves the right to deny requests or revoke permission for any reason.

Houghton Library makes materials available for research and scholarship. Patrons should note that in most cases, the Library does not own the copyright to content in its collections. The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

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Filming and Recording for Public Use

The Houghton Library's mission is to support and promote research, teaching, and learning, while at the same time preserving our rare and unique collections. Filming and recording on site may be accommodated when:

  1. A Harvard faculty member requests filming as part of their teaching program;
  2. The University or Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Administration requests filming to promote education and/or teaching with the Harvard collections; or
  3. A request from outside Harvard is for an educational project in which Houghton collections are integral.

Houghton is not available as a background setting for non-educational, non-collection-related projects/promotions.

Space is limited, and the safety and security of Houghton collections are our primary consideration. If filming or audio is approved:

  • All collection material must be handled by Houghton staff, or their designee.
  • The maximum number of cameras is two. (one stationary, one mobile)
  • Additional lighting is not normally allowed on collection material. If additional lighting is approved, the number of people permitted in the room will be reduced.
  • The production team should be limited to four.
  • Classes being filmed can have no more than 10 students.
  • The total number in the group can be no larger than 16.

All requests for filming access should be made at least two weeks in advance. Requests should be directed to Naomi Handler (naomi_handler@harvard.edu).

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