Using the Collections


Getting Started 

To ensure researchers make the most of a research visit, they should search or browse the Russell Library’s online collections database to discover what relevant materials are available before arriving to conduct research. 

All researchers must register and establish a researcher account to access Russell Library materials. This Aeon account will allow researchers to review and track past and current requests. On-site Researchers must provide photo identification (driver’s license, passport, student ID card, or other government-issued ID) before reviewing archival materials in the research room. 

Researchers may access collections material by searching collection finding aids and requesting materials online. Researchers must view most of Russell Library collections in the research room. Researchers may access most audiovisual materials, digital records, and oral histories online or via links provided by Russell staff. Researchers may consult reference books, periodicals, selected microfilm, and other materials in the research room. Please consult the archivist on duty to locate and use these materials. Most, but not all, oral histories are accessible online via the finding aids.  

For more information about location, hours, parking, and lodging, please consult the Visit page.


Closed, Restricted, or Unprocessed Collections 

Researchers should note that not all collections housed at the Russell Library are searchable online. Some collections are unavailable for research due to agreements with collection donors, specific restrictions, and other access policies. 

Some open collections may be unprocessed. This means Russell Library has received the collection, but its contents have not been fully arranged and described. Researchers can expect to find materials with only basic arrangement and description. Researchers should also be aware that box numbers and folder titles are likely to change once staff has processed the collection.  

Please note that unprocessed collections often require more time to determine their usefulness to ongoing research. Unfortunately, Russell Library staff is unable to provide additional reference services for unprocessed collections. Researchers should email with questions regarding access to closed, restricted, or unprocessed collections.


On-site Research 

Researchers planning a visit to the Russell Library may request materials in advance by searching the Russell Library collections database and clicking the “Request Material” button displayed on the upper left of each collection guide and selecting the desired boxes of material via the check boxes located at the top of each box entry, and by clicking the “Submit Request” button displayed on the upper left of the page. PLEASE NOTE: First-time users will be directed to the registration page to create a new researcher account. 

The Russell Library is open for research Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Final requests for materials must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. The Russell Library is closed for all University of Georgia holidays. 

The research room is situated on the third floor of the Richard B. Russell Building, Special Collections Building located at 300 South Hull Street, Athens, Georgia. Researchers must check in at the main reference desk—also located on the third floor.  

For more information about location, hours, or parking, please consult the Visit page.  


Off-site Research 

Russell Library can provide limited, basic research assistance and orientation to off-site researchers via email or telephone, but staff cannot conduct in-depth research. If off-site researchers are unable to visit the Russell Library, they may order material reproductions or hire a local (proxy) researcher to request and review materials on-site.  

Off-site researchers who have identified and hired a proxy researcher to conduct research on their behalf can browse the Russell Library’s online collections database, select materials, create a researcher account, and submit requests. Off-site researchers should send the name and email account of their proxy researcher to

Proxy researchers working for off-site researchers must also create a researcher account and identify the off-site patron (name and email address) for whom they are working. Russell staff can then link off-site researchers to their proxy and allow off-site researchers to manage any related research transactions. 

PLEASE NOTE: The Russell Library does not endorse proxy researchers or participate in any financial arrangements or transactions made between off-site researchers and proxies. 


Accessing Born Digital Materials 

Some archival materials, such as email, spreadsheets, photographs, and databases, exist only in digital form. These materials are described in collection finding aids along with related papers.  

Researchers may request digital materials from a collection finding aid as they would other materials. Upon receipt of a request, a Russell staff member will share the digital files with the Researcher within two business days via Google Drive. If the researcher does not have a Google account, the staff member will provide instructions for creating one. Requested files will remain in Google Drive for two weeks. Copies of the files may be downloaded for personal or research use only. 


Accessing Audiovisual Materials 

Researchers can locate audiovisual materials via the Russell Library’s online collections database. When user copies are available, researchers may request these items via the finding aid. User copies, when available, must acclimate before use. This process takes at least 24 hours after retrieval from the vault.  

PLEASE NOTE: Many audiovisual materials are available only in their original formats, and a user copy will need to be created before viewing. This process can take approximately four weeks. Russell staff reserves the right to deny access if copying could damage the original material(s). Researchers should email for assistance or questions concerning access to audiovisual materials.  


Requesting Materials for Reproduction 

The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies provides fair use PDF scans of materials for both on-site and off-site researchers (as well as their proxies) for a fee. The Russell Library also provides high-resolution scans or scans for publication for a fee.  

Russell staff fulfills on-site and off-site duplication requests in the order they are received and as part of their broader work activities. Turnaround time for off-site duplication requests is approximately 10 business days from date of payment, or longer depending on the extent of the request. Unless otherwise specified, Russell staff delivers digital scans via electronic download at no additional charge to researchers. If file size exceeds certain thresholds, or if researchers wish to make alternative arrangements for file transfer, Russell staff may apply additional fees.  

The Russell Library will provide digital scans from materials in the collections when such copying meets ALL the following criteria: 

  • Does not damage the material 

  • Does not violate donor agreement(s) 

  • Conforms to all copyright laws 

For more information, including associated costs, please consult the Russell Library Reproduction Request Form


Fair Use Copies by Researchers Using Digital Cameras 

Researchers may make fair use digital copies for personal research use if they agree to the policies and procedures described in the Russell Library Digital Copies and Camera Use Policy and by signing the Russell Library Digital Reproductions Use Agreement

For more information, please consult the Russell Library Reproduction Request Form


Proxy Research Reproduction Guidelines 

Before a proxy researcher may take fair use digital images of materials for an off-site patron, both the local proxy and their off-site patron must complete and submit the Russell Library Digital Reproductions Use Agreement.  


Audiovisual Reproductions/Transfers 

The Russell Library does not charge for “fair use” of audiovisual materials. The Russell Library does not own the intellectual rights for most of the audiovisual items in its collections. Staff can assist researchers in determining copyright and permissions, but the responsibility ultimately rests with the researcher. 

In most cases, streaming files of audiovisual materials can be made available for online access, free of charge. Digital files of some audiovisual materials for which the Russell Library holds copyright are available for $30 each. The Russell Library retains all rights to this content, and the requested material may be used only for personal and research use as outlined under the terms of “fair use.” Some materials are unable to be digitized due to condition or donor restrictions. Please allow two to four weeks for transfer of audiovisual materials. 

PLEASE NOTE: Russell Library staff can only provide licensing for audiovisual materials for which the Russell Library holds copyright. Rights and permissions vary depending on the collection. Please contact with questions regarding licensing of audiovisual material.