Research Services

Columbia Archives offers limited research service for those unable to visit the facility. A simple question that requires minimal research is free of charge. If your question requires a more in-depth investigation, the staff can conduct limited research. Fees for research are $20 per half hour or portion thereof. Fees will be added for photocopies or scans, if applicable.

Rules for Using the Archives

Many of the materials are original and not replaceable. We ask all researchers to please observe the following rules while using items in the collection.

  1. No food or drink.
  2. Researchers without appointments are subject to staff constraints.
  3. Materials are non-circulating and cannot be removed from the premises. Photocopies may be made in accordance with the Copyright Law of the United States. Please allow one business day to fulfill photocopy requests. Fees are 20 cents per copy.
  4. Only pencils are allowed while using the materials; they will be provided if you need one.
  5. Researchers may only review one box at a time and must not write upon, mark, lean on or otherwise mishandle research materials.
  6. Staff may request special care procedures for fragile materials (e.g. wearing gloves when handling photographs).
  7. Post-it notes are harmful to books and manuscripts. Acid-free bookmarks are available.
  8. Researchers must preserve the existing order of all unbound materials. Please report any disarrangement and/or conservation problems to the staff.
  9. Please do not make phone calls in the room, so as not to disturb others.
  10. Laptops are allowed and digital cameras (without flash) may be used with the permission of staff. Scanners are prohibited.
  11. If your research results in a formal paper or publication, we ask that you donate a copy for Columbia Archives’ collection. Columbia Archives should be cited among your sources. See Rights and Responsibilities for citation requirements when using research materials in your publication or production.

Rights and Responsibilities

Columbia Archives provides access to items in our collections for educational and research purposes. The user assumes all responsibility for determining what uses are lawful under current copyright law and to obtain any required permissions and pay any required fee.

Copyright Law

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproduction of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “Fair Use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Columbia Archives reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Citation and Credit Requirements


A brief credit line should appear adjacent to all of our images when used in a publication or website. Full citation must appear in the footnotes or credits of your publication or production for each image used from our collection. The following form should be used: Brief credit line to appear adjacent to image: Courtesy of Columbia Archives, image title, collection title, image number, Columbia Archives, Columbia, MD.


James W. RouseCourtesy of Columbia Archives, James W. Rouse giving speech at U.S. Business Hall of Fame Induction,James W. Rouse Papers,.PC-I-0434,Columbia Archives, Columbia, MD


Other Research Materials

The Columbia Archives requires that the following details should be included within the citation: item title, collection title, Columbia Archives, Columbia, MD. However, the full citations style should be identified by the publisher/researcher (i.e. Turabian, APA, MLA, Chicago Manual, styles) and appear in the footnotes or bibliography.

Fees and Services

  • Photocopies
    • Photocopies are 20 cents per copy.
    • Up to 10 photocopies will be produced for same-day service when requests are made on-site. However requests made off site — or any requests beyond 10 copies — require a minimum of two business days for completion of service.
  • Digitized Materials from the Collection
  • Publication of Images
    • Download a copy of our Permission to Publish Form. See Rights and Responsibilities for citation requirements when using images in your publication or production.