In my own research for my dissertation, I visited approximately 60 libraries around the country ranging from the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA, to the Historic New Orleans Collection, to more regional, smaller libraries such as the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society library in Honolulu and the Delaware Historical Society. Every library had a different policy regarding the use of digital media for research purposes, particularly regarding the use of cameras and laptop computers in reading rooms. Most libraries were friendly towards the use of these research materials, but many libraries and/or librarians viewed them with ire and scorn. In almost every instance, those that allowed the use of such materials limited the number of images to be photographed and/or required a signed form specifying that none of these images could be circulated. Although I was grateful for their permission, I have tens of thousands of images and other similar materials that I can neither use for my own publications nor share among my colleagues and other interested parties.
My proposal session consists of two parts: 1) sharing my own experiences and thoughts about digital research, and 2) hearing feedback from others who have done similar research. Finally, we would discuss if or how libraries are dealing with this issue and what is being done (if anything) to bring about a more uniform treatment of digital research.