Restricted collections fall under one of the following categories:
- Closed to research: the entire collection is currently closed. This restriction is typically set by the collection's donor due to the sensitive nature of the material and has a time limit, such as 10 or 25 years. Researchers may be able to obtain written permission from the donor to view certain materials. Some collections are closed at the discretion of the Sophia Smith Collection until they are processed and potentially sensitive materials can be identified.
- Partially restricted: usually means that portions of the collection are closed due to the sensitive nature of the material. In some cases, researchers may view the material after signing an "Access Agreement Form" which stipulates that they will not publish identifying information about individuals represented in the papers. Examples include client files within a social worker's or attorney's papers. It could also mean that there are audiovisual materials that will need to be reformatted before they can be used (see below).
- New and unprocessed collections, even if not specifically restricted, may be stored off-site and so we require 48 hours advance notice to retrieve boxes. Also note that collections that have not been fully processed may be more difficult to use.
- Audiovisual materials: In order to preserve the originals, in-house access to audiovisual materials may be delayed as long as 2-3 weeks to allow time to produce research use copies. There may be additional cost to the researcher for large numbers of items or for formats not supported by the campus media lab that need to be sent off-site for reformatting. Note that copyright law prohibits duplication of certain items. For more information, see Duplication services.
- Closed for processing: access to collections-in-process is at the discretion of the processing archivist and advance notice will be required to retrieve requested materials.
- In general, it's a good idea to contact the Sophia Smith Collection before planning a visit, to be certain that the collection you wish to see is accessible.