Access Policy

The primary form of access to the holdings of the Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections is on-site study in the department’s reading room during the department’s operating hours. All use of Special Collections resources in the department’s reading room is supervised either by the Head of Special Collections or by a member of the Department Head’s support staff. On being admitted to the reading room, patrons will be asked to sign a registration form and to bring only those implements required for note-taking. Normally, those implements shall be pencil and paper and/or a laptop computer. In those exclusive and limited instances in which permission for same has been granted, a camera may be used in the reading room, but without flash. Application for permission to photograph must be made in writing. Users accessing collections or materials held on deposit will be required to adhere to the use guidelines mandated by the owners of said collections or materials.

The secondary form of access is references and research services provided by the department out of its limited resources to off-site researchers and patrons. The Head of Special Collections reserves the right to determine the extent to which reference or research by proxy will be reasonable in recognition of the department’s limited human resources and concurrent workflow demands.

Service is provided primarily to the community of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester. The department also welcomes use by visiting researchers. Members of the general public may also apply for use of the department’s resources.

On-site access is available to any of the above-cited categories of potential patrons.

Those outside the ESM/UR community are urged to contact the department in advance of an intended research visit.


Many items held within the department are available for purchase by means of copies of existing microforms (either microfilms or microfiche).

Public Domain Digitizing

In keeping with the Library’s mission to digitize its holdings that are demonstrably in the public domain, patrons are welcome to submit requests for the digitization of Special Collections holdings under the auspices of the Public Domain Digitizing Service. Consideration of requests for digitization will be dependent on the conditions named under Duplications, below.


While the department accepts requests for duplications of materials, consideration of those requests is dependent on the following:

  • an item’s physical condition, together with the potential for damage by handling during duplication
  • availability of staff resources
  • availability of access to a non-invasive technology for making the duplication
  • extent of the duplication requested
  • copyright or any other restrictions that may have been imposed

The department reserves the right to decline any duplication request on any of the above grounds. Further information is provided on the page describing Duplication Services.