Michigan Conference
United Methodist Archives


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How to conduct research

Researchers are welcome to visit the archives to conduct their own research. Research is by appointment only as the archivist works part-time. Please contact the archives by e-mail to schedule an appointment. For researchers unable to visit the archives in person, the archivist will check the key locations (but not conduct extensive research) and provide a report of findings free of charge. Please allow up to several weeks for a response due to the volume of reference questions received and the other duties associated with the management and operation of the unit. Reference inquiries will be answered in the order in which they are received. Copies of publications and records can be made for a fee.

Online Registration (Adrian only)

To register on-line, please complete this PDF file and save the file as onlinereg_yourlastname.pdf and e-mail it to dcumcarchives@adrian.edu. If you would like to complete registration prior to visiting the archives, but do not want to e-mail your registration packet in, you may print out this PDF and fill it out to give to the archivist on your visit. Otherwise, you will be expected to complete this packet at the beginning of your visit, prior to beginning your research.

Reading Room Policies and Procedures

The archives is open without fee to all researchers.  The archives, as a repository of historical manuscripts, photographs, maps, and printed works on the history of the Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church and its predecessor denominations, serves two main purposes.  First, we collect this documentation to ensure its availability and preservation for generations to come.  Secondly, we encourage its use by people interested in our Methodist past.  Sometimes our commitment to the first purpose limits our capacity to respond to the second.  Therefore, while using our holdings in the reading room, researchers are asked to observe the regulations described below, which have been established to create an atmosphere conducive to research while ensuring the continued preservation of the collections.

  1. Researchers must leave coats, briefcases, book bags, handbags, and other personal belongings in the designated storage area away from the research table.
  2. Laptop computers, digital cameras, note paper, note cards, and pencils may be taken into the reading room.  Personal materials used in the reading room may be searched when the researcher leaves.
  3. Each researcher must fill out a researcher registration form during their first visit and sign the register book at each subsequent visit.  Registration forms establish researcher identity, assist the reference staff by defining research topics, and are valid for one calendar year. Signing the form signifies that the researcher has read the "Guide to Use of the Archives" and agrees to abide by its' policies.
  4. Any person found stealing, defacing, mutilating, or in any way damaging materials will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

To help us provide maximum physical protection for the records, please follow these procedures:

  1. Use materials only at the research table. Materials may not be removed to any other area of the room.
  2. Take notes in pencil.  Laptop computers, cameras, and recording devices are also permitted, provided that their use does not disturb other researches and that such use does not physically damage the collection nor incur copyright infringement.
  3. Make no marks on the materials.  Do not write notes on top of materials or rest books or other objects on the surface of items used.  Do not lean on materials.  Tracing is not permitted.
  4. In handling either photographs or photographic negatives, wear gloves provided by the reference staff and handle them only by the edges.
  5. Only one box may be used at a time.  Remove only one folder from the box at a time.  Use out-cards provided by the reference staff to mark the place of the folder in the box.  Put folders and items back in the same order and facing the same way you received them.

Ordering duplication of materials

Ask the staff for information about the possibility of duplication.  The archives reserves the right to restrict duplication of fragile items.  Use the tabs provided by the staff to mark the items you wish to have copied.  DO NOT REMOVE ITEMS FROM THE COLLECTION.  The staff will endeavor to provide photocopy orders of ten pages or less on the same day.  Larger copy/scanning orders will generally be completed as the staff has time to do so.

Copyright of unpublished materials

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) provides copyright protection for both published materials and unpublished materials.  The holder of the copyright has the right to publish the work, regardless of monetary value, literary merit, or historical significance.  The author or creator of a work, or the heirs or assignees of the creator own the copyright, which can sometimes be separate from the ownership of the physical object.  Copyright is not transferred with the object unless there is a specific transfer of the copyright along with the object.

The current copyright law provides that "fair use" is a limitation on the exclusive rights of the author.  While "fair use" is not defined, guidelines for its interpretation include limited, non-profit use for scholarship (Section 107).  There is some ambiguity in the provisions of the law in regard to photocopying, but it seems clear that the intention is to facilitate private use.  Any person obtaining a copy assumes a liability for any personal or later use exceeding "fair use" (Section 108).  The researcher, by signing the researcher registration form, agrees not to quote, publish, reproduce, or display the copy in whole or in part without permission from the archives.  Copies may not be further duplicated, nor deposited in or given to other institutions without written permission.

Permission to publish should be requested from the archives as owner or custodian of the physical object and also from the copyright owner.  Securing permission to publish is the responsibility of the user.