AJHS-NEA Digital Archives Policies

The American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives, Boston, Massachusetts

Introduction to the Digital Archives

The digital archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives provides digital surrogates to primary and some secondary materials in our archives. These materials include photographs, correspondence, articles from published journals and other published sources, diaries, drawings, financial records and other text documents that are contained within the collections. Due to federal law, medical and education records are restricted and as such, are not available online. Until a researcher is granted access to the digital archives, material is restricted by metadata. Researchers must have access to the digital archives in order to view images.

Copyright Information

As with the physical collection, digitized materials may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) and/or by the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations. In addition, some material may be restricted due to state and federal laws pertaining to educational, medical and employment records. All attempts to restrict this information have been made, but should questions arise concerning a particular digital document, please see the archivist.

Any reproduction, including publication, of materials beyond those allowed by fair use will require written permission by the copyright holder. A patron who wishes to publish material s must assume all responsibility for obtaining reproduction rights as well as any infringement of the United States Code.

Unless the American Jewish Historical Society holds the copyright on a particular item, the archives cannot provide or decline permission to publish or distribute the item in question. However, it remains the patron’s obligation to identify and secure copyright restrictions.
The archivist at the American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives can assist researchers with determining copyright where applicable.

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of the American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information, contact Judi Garner, Director of AJHS New England Archives, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116 or judi.garner@ajhsboston.org.

Fair Use

The definition of what constitutes fair use of copyrighted work is found in Section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act. Section 107 provides four factors to determine whether or not use of an item is considered fair use:

1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
2. The nature of the copyrighted work
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
(from the U.S. Copyright Office, http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html)

Examples of fair use, as determined by the 1961 Report of the Registrar of Copyrights on the General Revision of the Copyright Law, includes:

“quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

(as quoted by the U.S. Copyright Office, http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html)

For More Information

• U.S. Copyright Office: http://www.copyright.gov/
• Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States: http://www.copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm
• The USGenWeb Project: http://www.usgenweb.org/volunteers/copyright.shtml

In addition, most colleges and universities have copyright and fair use policies available on their websites. Faculty, staff and students of a particular school are encouraged to investigate these policies prior to publication or use of archival material.


When citing from collections, please use the following format:

Identification of item, date (if known); Collection Name; Collection Number; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.


Letter from Bernard Gorfinkle to Emanuel Gorfinkle, October 16, 1917; Papers of Col. Bernard Gorfinkle; box 1; folder 3; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.

Take-Down Policy

The American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives, has made every effort to ensure the materials available through our digital archive are under our copyright and/or available for education and research purposes through fair use. This is not always immediately possible due to the nature of archival work; however, if the copyright of materials is unclear, we will not provide access to the material in question. Concerns about particular items in the digital archive should be addressed, in writing, to reference@ajhsboston.org or to The American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116.

In your correspondence, please include a description of the item in question, including the collection name, box number and folder number where the item is located, and the URL for the image. We will remove any item from the digital archive while we address the rights issue.

Updated 7/16/2013 

Download a PDF of our copyright policies.

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