Last week, we talked about using your phone or iPad camera along with a scanning app to document your research findings when visiting a local archive. In response to this article, one reader asked if doing this was permitted at most locations in Delaware. To find out, we conducted a number of visits and made phone calls to find out.
We spoke with all the local archives this week and found that most have a liberal use policy in place. Information can be reproduced for free in most research rooms using handheld devices. All Delaware repositories have their own rules about using handheld devices to reproduce anything in their collections. Since these policies change from time to time, we suggest that you ask the staff about their current policy. In addition, the policy may be different based on the object you want to document. Polite requests to use your phone or tablet likely will help you get a positive response if the research room is in flux with their photo policy.
No Strings Attached
The majority of locations allow use of handheld tablets, phones and cameras to capture images of their holdings. These include the Hagley Museum and Library, the Family History Center in Wilmington (we received no response from the Newark and Dover locations), the Morris Library at the University of Delaware, the Wilmington Public Library, and the Winterthur Museum.
Available at a Cost
The Delaware Historical Society allows use of tablets, phones and cameras at a daily rate of $7 for non-members and $5 for members.
Changes on the Way
Delaware Public Archives currently does not allow their holdings to be copied in any form. However, our DPA contact told us that there have been discussions about loosening this policy. Although DPA is not ready to formally announce this change, it looks like we will be able to use digital imaging to document DPA records in the near future.
A few other notes: If you want to use a table tripod, be sure to ask first. If you plan to publish anything you copy, you will want to speak with the archivist about their reproduction policies, charges and any attributions to the repository that might be needed.
Let us know in the comments if you have any questions, or would like us to investigate the policies at another organization.