Policies & Use Guidelines

Learn more about the Moakley Archive and Institute's policies and guidelines related to access, use, and collection development in the sections below.

Access to Collections

In general, access restrictions may be imposed on an entire collection or a portion of a collection depending on the specific circumstance. Access restrictions typically limit what researchers can view for a specified amount of time, and may be placed on materials due to fragile condition, privacy concerns, institutional policies, or donor stipulations.

In the case of University records, certain categories of records are closed to research for 50 years from the date of creation, and records containing personal information, such as student records, are closed to research for 80 years. To access restricted records, researchers are responsible for contacting the originating office to obtain permission. These restrictions do not apply to public records which are defined as University records that were intended for public use at the time of creation such as University publications, newsletters, pamphlets, catalogs and student publications, and certain other classes of materials.

Use and Copyright

The Moakley Archive & Institute welcomes you to use materials in our collections that are in the public domain and to make fair use of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law.

Although Suffolk University claims physical ownership of all the materials held by the Archive, Suffolk University does not own the copyright to many of these materials (with some exceptions), and therefore cannot grant or deny permission to use them. You are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of materials and obtaining permission to use material from the copyright holder.

The Archive strictly adheres to the United States copyright law (Title 17, US Code) which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. When requested, libraries and archives can provide a photocopy or other form of reproduction of collection materials as authorized by copyright law. The reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If the recipient uses a reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. In addition, these reproductions may not be made for, or donated to, other repositories or further reproduced without written permission from the Suffolk University.

Apart from material protected by copyright law, collections may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations (such as Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 214, § 1B). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which Suffolk University assumes no responsibility.

The Archives seeks to provide an environment for patrons that is conducive to research while at the same time protects the records for future use.

Reading Room Use & Registration

General Guidelines:

  • Patrons must read the Reading Room Policy and complete a Registration Form(PDF)
  • Materials in the collections do not circulate.
  • No food or drinks allowed while using the collections.
  • Pens and loose-leaf paper are NOT allowed near collection materials. For note-taking, patrons may use laptops, pencils, and notebooks (bound or spiral). Staff can provide notebooks and pencils if needed.
  • Please use only one folder at a time, and take care to retain the order of the documents within a folder, as well as the folders within a box. You may request “place holders” to help you keep track of folder order within a box.
  • Handle materials with care; do not exert pressure on the materials, such as leaning on, tracing, or writing on them.
  • Please wash your hands before handling any archival material or supplies and after any food breaks.
  • Cell phones must be silenced; please refrain from making any calls in the Reading Room.
  • Personal digital cameras may be used to photograph materials at no charge. Patrons must review and sign our Digital camera use policy (PDF).
  • Photocopies or digital scans may be available upon request, depending upon the condition of the materials and staffing levels. Generally, requests for up to 20 copies or scans can be accommodated; fees may apply for larger requests. There is no self-service photocopying or scanning; to order copies or scans patrons must complete a Reproduction request form (PDF).
  • Suffolk University does not own the copyright to most of the material held in the Moakley Archive & Institute (with some exceptions). Researchers wishing to reproduce or use collection materials in publications are responsible for determining copyright status and perusing any necessary permissions.
  • Please be aware that retrieval for off-site material may take 2-3 days.
  • For wi-fi access, please call the University Help Desk at (617) 557-2000, or request access via the Sponsored Visitor Wireless Access request form.

Requesting Reproductions and Permissions to Publish

The Archive provides patrons with reproductions of materials from its holdings when time permits and if there are no restrictions on the materials. Reproduction services are restricted to items owned by the Archive, and are subject to review by staff before the request is processed.

In obtaining a reproduction from the Archive, you assume all responsibility for determining whether any permissions relating to copyright, privacy, publicity, trademark, or any other rights are necessary for your intended use, and for obtaining all required permissions. Written permission from the copyright holders and/or other rights holders is required for publication, distribution, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use.

General Guidelines:

  • Personal digital camera use is allowed in the Reading Room at no charge; patrons must review and sign our Digital camera use policy (PDF).
  • Photocopies or digital scans may be available upon request, depending upon the condition of the materials and staffing levels. Generally, requests for up to 20 copies or scans can be accommodated; fees may apply for larger requests. There is no self-service photocopying or scanning; to order copies or scans patrons must complete a Reproduction request form [PDF]. 
  • Applications for Permission to publish (PDF) are required to reproduce collection materials in print or electronic format.
  • Same day service is not guaranteed.

Guide to Citing Collection Materials

The Archive has created this general guide to citing our collection materials. Please note that researchers may need to consult other sources for instruction on specific citation styles. Citation guide (pdf)

Collection Development Policy

The John Joseph Moakley Archive and Institute collects and preserves archival collections that are relevant to Suffolk University and its research interests, mission statement, and core values, including Suffolk University’s institutional records as well as manuscript collections and oral history interviews. The Archive’s staff will review all proposed acquisitions based on this policy, the needs of the University, the collection’s overall research value, and the availability of resources to care for a collection. The Archive will consider acquiring research materials from the following categories:

1.Suffolk University records that:

  • Describe and represent the history of the institution and its accomplishments since its founding in 1906;
  • Are identified by the University’s record retention schedule as having enduring, permanent value and considered vital University records, regardless of format; including: executive records, photographs and audiovisual materials, university publications, trustee records, committee reports, student organization records, theses and dissertations, artifacts, administrative records, and promotional materials.

2. Faculty papers: On a case-by-case basis, the Archive will consider the donation of the personal papers of tenured faculty, or those who have spent a substantial portion of their career at Suffolk University, that illustrate significant contributions made to their field of research, their profession, or to Suffolk University. Please consult the Guidelines for Faculty Donors [PDF] for more specific information.

3.Alumni papers: On a case-by-case basis, the Archive will consider the donation of the personal papers of an alumnus or alumna that illustrate significant contributions made to their field of research, their profession, or to Suffolk University.

4.Collections with topical foci that complement subject strengths in our current collections, especially:

  • John Joseph Moakley, his family, political career, or public policy issues relevant to his tenure in the US Congress
  • Modern political history in Massachusetts, Boston, and the Massachusetts 9th Congressional District, including Moakley’s predecessors and successors, opponents, and political campaigns
  • The history of Suffolk University

In general, the Archive cannot accept the following materials:

  • Items that do not fall into the categories described above in the collection development policy;
  • Donations without a transfer of title, or for which the donor does not have clear title;
  • Collections that are restricted indefinitely, or for which the restriction cannot be enforced consistently or with reasonable effort;
  • Materials readily available through other sources such as books and reprints of articles;
  • Formats that the University cannot properly care for.

Wireless Internet Access

For wifi access, please call the University Help Desk at (617) 557-2000, or request access via the Sponsored Visitor Wireless Access request form.