Skip to Main Content

Special Collections Research & Access

Quick guide for WashU students, faculty and staff, as well as community researchers

Documenting your research

A phone, tablet or digital camera can help you capture the information during your visit.

  • This is the fastest way to get a copy of items from Special Collections
  • Hint: Take a photo of the container (box, folder, etc) along with the page you are interested -- this helps with citations later!
Always check with reading room staff before making scans/ using your camera at any archive.

Consider an app to help organize your images

Not able to visit and want a copy?

  • Items may be digitized, but not yet linked and online.  
    • Email and ask us if we have a digital copy -- if we do, we can email it to you (usually at not cost)!
  • Or, you can put in a request for digitization
    • If its a few pages, usually fees are waived
    • For larger amounts, there can be a small charge.
    • Requests can take a few weeks, but we will give you an estimate. 

Requesting Digital Copies

1. Fill out forms and send them to us by email 

2. Special Collection staff will reply with estimated price and time-frame to send you the scans.

3. If more than 100 pages are requested, we may need to break your order into batches.

Scanned items
  • Most paper items are scanned and sent as PDFs.
  • Photographs, negatives or slides are usually sent as jpg images.
  • If you need higher resolution files for publishing or duplication, please indicate with your request 
    • additional fees and/or paperwork may be needed