FHDAusing our collections

Using our Collections



Archive Reading Room

You are encouraged to bring and use your own computer or phone/camera for note taking or to take reference photos of most collections. We’ll always let you know if a collection cannot be photographed. (Also, we can sometimes provide digital scans of small amounts of material; ask us if you’re interested.)

You cannot borrow and take home any item in the archives collections, but you can place them on hold for future visits. Talk with us before you leave for the day to let us know if we should keep your materials on hold.

Handling Archive Material

All our researchers help preserve our collections for the future by handling materials gently to prevent accidental damage. Specific ways we ask for your help are:

  • Use only one folder/one box of material or one volume at a time.
  • Always be sure materials are fully resting on your Reading Room table.
  • Use any book weights, cradles, or other book supports we provide (and feel free to ask us for them as well!).
  • When handling photographs, please wear the gloves that we provide. 
  • Do not rearrange or remove materials from folders or boxes (and if you think something is out of place, please tell us right away).
  • Do not mark, take notes on top of, or trace materials.

We may provide additional handling instructions, depending on the materials you are using. 

Privacy Protected and Personally Identifying Material 

  • Collections may contain sensitive or confidential that is protected under federal, state, and/or global "right to privacy" laws, including but not limited to certain educational, medical, financial, criminal, attorney-client, and personnel records; as well as personally identifiable information, including but not limited to Social Security and credit card numbers.  
  • Please alert staff immediately if you find privacy protected or personally identifiable information in any collection.
  • You agree to make no notes or other record of privacy protected or personally identifiable information, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information.
  • Disclosure of privacy protected or personally identifiable information without the consent of those individuals may give rise to legal claims and liability.
  • You assume all responsibility for infringement of right to privacy in your use of the material, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless Foothill-De Anza Community College District, its agents and employees against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses arising out of use of archival collections held by the FHDA Archive.

The FHDA Archive welcomes researchers to make use of personal cameras to augment their research process and gather information. It is the researcher’s responsibility to maintain thorough notes on the identity and location of materials they photograph. Researchers taking photographs must abide by the following terms regarding photography in the Reading Room:


  • Please follow all instructions from staff, who may mediate or limit photography of certain materials based on fragile condition of items.
  • Please maintain the existing order and arrangement of materials and folders when photographing.
  • Materials may not be held up by hand, placed on the floor, folded, forced open or flat, or removed from mats or clear protective sleeves.


  • Personal cameras and camera phones, silenced and with flash disabled, are permitted.
  • No scanners, laptop cameras, video cameras, flash, lights,, extension cords, audio recorders, or stools are allowed.
  • Furniture may not be rearranged and researchers may not stand on chairs or tables.


  • Some materials may not be photographed due to restrictions in donor agreements.
  • Some materials require written permission from the copyright holder before photographing.
  • Researchers are not permitted to take photographs of archive staff, the Reading Room, or other researchers.


  • You are responsible for complying with copyright law.
  • FHDA Archive assumes no responsibility for the determination of copyright status or copyright infringement on the part of our researchers, nor does it prohibit you from making copies for private study, scholarship, or research.