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Guidelines & Access

Dodge Library's Circulation Desk, 1950.

General Guidelines

The Archives and Special Collections Department is open to all researchers. When visiting, we request that a few policies be followed:

  • Researchers are encouraged to contact Archives staff in advance of their visit to schedule an appointment.
  • All material must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room (92 Snell Library).
  • The public access terminals and public scanning station in the Reading Room are reserved for researchers conducting historical research in the Archives.
  • Researchers are required to show a picture identification card when entering Snell Library and again to use the resources of the Archives and Special Collections Department.
  • Researchers are responsible for safeguarding material made available to them in the Reading Room. Pencils and loose paper must be used when taking notes, and researchers should not lean on, write on, fold, trace, or handle the books or manuscripts in any way likely to damage them.
  • Researchers must also place backpacks, briefcases, purses, and notebooks in one of the Archives' lockers while working in the Reading Room.

Access to University Records

Northeastern University's archival records--other than widely distributed records, such as open meeting minutes, University publications, and publicity photographs--will normally remain closed for 25 years from the date of their creation. Access to record series spanning several years will be granted 25 years from the most recent date in the series.

The following are exceptions to the above policy and are closed for a longer time period:

  • Northeastern University Corporation records, including the records of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Overseers, are closed for 50 years.
  • Student records are closed for 75 years.
  • Faculty and staff personnel records are closed for 75 years.

During the period of restriction, records will be available only to current staff of the President's Office, the office of origin, and the University Archives and Special Collections Department. Consideration will be given for access by others when a written request is presented to the University Archivist and written approval has been obtained from the appropriate individual in the office of origin or the appropriate individual now responsible for the function performed by the defunct office of origin.

Records will be made available in accordance with the rules and regulations of the University Libraries, and federal and state regulations governing access to student and other records.

Access to Special Collections

Access to special collections varies according to the donor's wishes. For details on individual collection restrictions, view the finding aids for Special Collections or Boston History Collections.