Imaging Services and Open-Access Policy


While the Library considers its extraordinary collection of books, maps, and prints an inalienable resource that has been cared for and curated for nearly two centuries, it also understands the value these collections have for all the inhabitants of the Americas – and, indeed, the world – and is committed to making its materials available not only to academic scholars, independent researchers, and creative artists, but to all potential audiences throughout the world. The digital revolution has made access to the collection less onerous than ever before, and we have now unveiled – effective June 1, 2015 – an open-access policy that will help us bring our materials more directly to those who are interested in using them. We have now instructed our primary digital repositories – LUNA Imaging  and Internet Archive – to provide high-quality, downloadable images for scholarly and personal use. Images may be reproduced or transmitted, but cannot be employed for commercial use. For commercial use or commercial re-publication, send an e-mail to our Imaging Department.

The materials available through our website are made available under a Creative Commons License (click here for that policy). By downloading any images from our site, you agree to the terms of that license. We expect anyone who uses our material to credit the Library and its collection by including the following attribution: "Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University." Finally, even though we are thrilled to provide open access to our collections, we would very much look forward to hearing from you if and when you use materials from the Library for non-commercial publications. Consider it your way of "re-paying" us for making these materials available and letting us know you appreciate our new policy! E-mail us here.

For our book digitization policy, please click here.

For materials that are not yet available through our website, and need to be digitized, please contact our Imaging Department directly. They will inform you of the costs associated with digitizing new material. The Library reserves the right to refuse to scan items we deem too fragile. Requests are generally filled in order of receipt. Normal turnaround time is three to four weeks, depending on workload and the size of the order. Every effort will be made to honor deadlines. Rush service is sometimes possible, on request, for an additional fee.

We also ask that all orders be paid in full before they are shipped. You will be contacted with a dollar amount owed and information on how to process your payment. After payment is determined, all orders will be shipped with a paid invoice. If you elect to pay online, this link will take you to a secure Brown University-authorized site where you may enter the dollar amount and invoice number. You will then be prompted to enter your credit card information. You may also pay with a check mailed to the John Carter Brown Library. All sales are final. Fees and charges are subject to change without notice.

ATTENTION: Payment for all international orders will only be accepted through our ecommerce portal (i.e., credit/debit card).

The library uses a Cruse Synchron (CS 130/220SL) large-format table scanner featuring cold-cathode illumination. The digital files which result from the scans are at least 300 dpi and, depending on the original size of the image scanned, may be up to 825 dpi.