Library & Archives

Camera Use FAQ

May I use my camera, phone or other device to photograph archival materials in the Library and Archives?

No. The use of personal cameras, flatbed or hand-held scanners, laptop cameras, tripods, and video cameras are not allowed in the Reading Room; however, patrons can use the Library & Archives' handheld devices to capture images of collection materials.

Patrons who wish to use this service must first submit a Patron Registration form to obtain a library card and agree to observe the conditions of this service by completing a Camera Use Agreement for each visit.

What materials may I copy?

Patrons may capture images of any materials made available in the Reading Room, unless there are photo restrictions on the collection, or such handling is likely to result in damage to the item. Staff reserve the right to deny photography when deemed necessary. 

Photo restrictions will be listed in the finding aid for the collection.

Preservation takes precedence over photography needs. Materials must remain flat on the research table, in their respective folders, protective sleeves or mats, in the order in which they were received. Multiple items cannot be removed from folders to photograph in a single shot. Patrons cannot stand on chairs or rearrange furniture in the Reading Room.

If the format or condition of an item makes it difficult to photograph, do not attempt to flatten or dismantle it. Please consult the staff member on duty, who can advise on alternatives, such as a photocopy or scan made by staff. The usual fees will apply for reproductions that need to be created by staff. Do not ask (or expect) staff to assist you in photographing materials by holding files or volumes open. Staff will assist when and if fasteners (staples, paper clips) need to be removed for photography purposes. 

Photography is intended to reduce the need for photocopies and scans and to supplement notes, not to create a complete personal copy. No more than 20% of any given collection or publication may be photographed. No more than 150 images may be captured by an individual in one day.

Is there a fee for photography?

Yes. The fee is $5 per day. If a researcher works all week in the Reading Room and takes images every day, he/she will owe $25 at the end of the week, regardless of how many photos are taken.

What is the procedure for photography?

After completing the Archives Orientation, patrons are issued a handheld device and may begin capturing images. Time limits may be necessary if other researchers are waiting to use the equipment.

The patron must complete and sign the Camera Use Agreement, listing the requested collection and item information for each image captured. Upon completion, return the form and device to the Library staff member on duty.

Digital images will be watermarked, converted to a single PDF file, and shared with the patron via email or Dropbox within 48 hours of your visit.

It is recommended that you photograph your completed Camera Use Agreement as a record for legal and citation purposes. Library staff will not be able to supply citation information at a later date for items photographed.

What are my responsibilities under the United States Copyright Act when making my own copies?

‚ÄčThe Library assumes no responsibility for the determination of copyright status or copyright infringement on the part of its patrons, nor does it prohibit patrons from taking photographs for private study, scholarship, or research.

Patrons are responsible for complying with copyright law.

Can I publish the copies I make?

You may not make further reproductions or publish photographs of archival materials without further completing the Rock Hall's Application for Permission to Publish and seeking permission of the copyright owner. If you intend to publish any materials you have photographed from Rock Hall collections, contact us at 216.515.1956 or Please provide the collection information on the materials you wish to publish.

Do I need to cite the source of the information I have photographed?

Yes. It is important to keep accurate records of the collections in which you found the materials you have photographed. Citing the documents correctly allows others to look at the context of the materials. Finding aids for each collection are available in the online catalog and provide information on the correct citation for materials held in the Library's collections using the Chicago Manual of Style.

Be sure to photograph your completed Camera Use Agreement at the end of your visit to ensure you can later identify which items you photographed are from which collections.

Can my permission to photograph be revoked?

Yes. Violation of the Rock Hall's policies or procedures, or refusing to comply with a reasonable request from staff, may result in revoking your camera use and possibly the permanent suspension of your research privileges.

Photography of other patrons or Rock Hall staff without their permission is prohibited.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum | Library and Archives
2809 Woodland Avenue | Cleveland, OH 44115 | 216.515.1956 |