The depth and breadth of the collections results in the vast majority of Botany Libraries material being either in the public domain or under copyrights not controlled by the Botany Libraries or Harvard University Herbaria.


Permission to Photograph materials

Researchers may photograph unrestricted materials for research purposes using a hand held camera or mobile phone. Flash photography, hand held scanners, and tripods are not permitted. Photography or recordings of moving images or audio is not permitted.  Archives, rare books, and fragile materials may not be photocopied or scanned. 


Permission to Quote

The Botany Libraries does not require that researchers request permission to quote from our collection's material unless Harvard holds the copyright, nor do we charge permission or use fees. Permission, however, may be needed from non-Harvard copyright holders.  Researchers are responsible for investigating and following all applicable copyright rules and regulations.


Permission to Publish

The Botany Libraries encourage the use of our public domain digital images in scholarly and general publications without charge as a means of broadening accessibility to researchers and the general public. Permission is not needed to reproduce our public domain images but we request that researchers cite the source.

To inquire about using non-public domain images or placing a digitization order please email first. Library staff will let you know if you need to place a Hollis Special Request order and/or complete the Permission to reproduce and publish images form.  

Please note that the use of images acquired from the Botany Libraries for display on websites, DVD, CD-ROM, television broadcast, or other electronic media may require the Multi-Media Licensing Agreement which can be requested by emailing

For material protected by copyright, certain uses (including but not limited to quoting, publishing, and reproducing) may require permission from the copyright holder. When permission is required, it’s the researcher’s responsibility to obtain such permissions.

The following resources may be helpful in this regard: