Archives and Library staff are ready to help seasoned researchers, students or those just starting out. As the premier research library for Indiana history and the Old Northwest, we know it can be overwhelming. If you’re visiting us in the William H. Smith Memorial Library, our staff can help guide you to the right resources from our collections or on our on-site databases.
The library provides free on-site access to several online databases such as Newspaper Archive, AncestryLibrary, HeritageQuest Online and American Civil War Database. Other Indiana records can be found online.
We are always collecting Indiana’s past! If you are interested in making a donation to our collections or offering an item for sale, review our Collections and Development Acquisitions Policy.
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The Indiana Historical Society provides reference assistance to researchers who visit the William Henry Smith Memorial Library and to customers who contact IHS by telephone, letter, fax or email. Inquiries must include the requester’s name and address.
Please allow two to three weeks for a response to any written inquiry. Requests are answered in order of receipt. If a prompt reply is needed, please call Library Reference at (317) 234-0321.
Fees apply for making and/or using copies or reproductions, and an hourly rate applies for any noninstructional research or other assistance by IHS requiring more than 15 minutes. For more information about what constitutes noninstructional research, please contact the library via email or phone prior to filling out a research request form. As a courtesy, IHS provides names of professional researchers if a project is beyond the scope of usual IHS services. All arrangements between requester and a private researcher are the requester’s responsibilities.
Paper copies and/or photographic or digital image reproductions can be made of most of the material in the IHS collections. IHS provides copies of items in its collections as a service to researchers, and fees reflect the cost for providing this service. IHS reserves the right to refuse a request for copies if the Archives and Library staff believes that copying would risk damage to the item(s) being copied.
Prior to making a request for copies of IHS collections material, researchers are expected to read the photocopying policies. All requests must include a Photocopy Request Form. All photocopying for researchers is done by IHS Archives and Library staff. Requests for copies will be completed as timely as possible within IHS resource limitations on equipment and staff time. Copies will be mailed if it is not possible to provide them to a visiting researcher at the time of the request. Photocopy scan and fax requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on staff time and resources available. Download our Fee Schedule here.
A completed Photocopy Request Form should be mailed to:
Indiana Historical Society
William Henry Smith Memorial Library
450 W. Ohio Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3269
For Manuscript materials, copying is ordinarily limited to 50 exposures per collection, but exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. For preservation reasons, some items cannot be copied on office copiers. Copies of manuscript material are made for private study, scholarship or research use only; exact images of them (or parts thereof) may not be published or reproduced in any fashion without contacting IHS.
For Printed items, IHS will make only one photocopy of the material. If an item’s condition is not an issue, it will be photocopied according to “fair use” provisions of U.S. Copyright Law. Copies of printed materials are made for private study, scholarship or research use only; except for “fair use,” they may not be published or reproduced in any fashion without prior written permission for the copyright holder.
For Visual collections, photographic or digital image reproductions can be requested of material in IHS collections by contacting the Coordinator, Visual Reference Services.
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U. S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research.” If a customer makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement action and will hold IHS harmless.
IHS reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order that, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order may involve violation of the copyright law.
The Indiana Historical Society assumes no responsibility for resolving patron copyright questions.
Prices for copies and reproductions reflect IHS policy to recover costs of making copies and reproductions, as well as modest consideration for conservation, preservation and access to the collections. “Use fees” are additionally assessed according to the manner(s) in which the image(s) are to be used. Download the Fee Schedule here.
Use contracts are also required for image requests. A copy of the use contract can be requested from our Coordinator, Visual Reference Services. Other copies or reproductions not outlined in the above chart may be authorized on a case-by-case basis and may include any outside commercial fees necessary for IHS to fulfill such requests, in addition to internal IHS costs.
Images from our digital image collection may be printed or downloaded by individuals, schools or libraries for personal use, study, research or classroom teaching without permission.
1. A $3.00 postage charge applies to researchers who visit the IHS Library and request that paper copies of materials be mailed to them
2. Service charges of $3.00 for one to five paper copies and $10.00 for six or more paper copies apply to remote requests (includes postage).
3. International requests incur additional fees dependent upon payment and delivery method.
4. A service charge of $5.00 for photocopy scans apply to requests up to 50 pages, with additional fees dependent upon the final number.
5. Service charges for shipping and handling for a visual reproduction or digital image(s) on removable media format are $5.00 per order to send via UPS within the United States.
6. Digital images are sent via an online file sharing service or copied onto a removable media format (determined by IHS) and sent to the requester. For security reasons, IHS cannot make copies on media provided by patrons.
7. Researchers are responsible for the cost of any insurance and/or sending completed orders by express or local messenger service.
8. Service charges for shipping and handling for select manuscript microfilms for interlibrary loan are $5.00 per reel.
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