Frequently Asked Questions

How do I report a problem?
Please send us an e-mail at
How do I request a copy of the images in the Digital Collections?
All items are freely available for download via the “Download” icon at the bottom of the image. As part of our mission to make our collections available for research and outreach, the Science History Institute provides free downloads of its Digital Collections material for scholarly and general use. However, patrons are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of any materials they wish to use, investigating the ownership of the copyright, and obtaining permission for the intended use.
I want to use the image I downloaded from the Digital Collections for a specific purpose (i.e., future publication or commercial product). Can you give me a rights license to do this?
Possession of a digital reproduction of the Science History Institute's collection materials does not constitute permission to publish, exhibit, or distribute. In most instances the Institute does not hold the copyright to its materials and cannot grant or deny permission to use them. Science History Institute staff makes every effort to inform patrons of copyrights and other restrictions that may apply to the works by providing a link to or Creative Commons in the Rights field in the object’s metadata record. Additional information about the Rights Statement is provided by clicking on the link in the Rights field in an object’s metadata record. If you have a question not answered by the information provided with the image, feel free to e-mail us at
How do I cite an image?
Please use “Courtesy of Science History Institute” in your credit line. When possible, we ask that you also include the title of the image or name of the collection.
The item I want isn’t in the Digital Collections. How do I request a new reproduction? How long will it take to process?
More information about our Digital Reproduction Services can be found here.
I want to see other items in your library or museum that were not digitized.
For more information on how to access the full holdings in our physical collections, see the Science History Institute’s Collections page. From there you will be able to search our library catalog and the oral-history catalog, and make an appointment to schedule a research visit.
I believe I own the copyright to an image, but I’m not credited. How do I tell a staff member and/or request that the item be taken down?
The Science History Institute makes its collections available for education and research and makes reasonable efforts to present accurate and reliable information about copyright. If you believe you hold the copyright to an item and/or want to request that an item be taken down, please e-mail us at, and we will consider your request. Please include the URL or the full title of the image.
Can I make recommendations to improve the metadata based on my personal experience with the objects or people represented in the image?
Yes! Please send an e-mail to You should include the URL or the full title of the image.
How do you decide what gets included in the Digital Collections?
We add new material on a daily basis, but only a small portion of the Science History Institute’s physical collections are represented here. Selection for digitization is guided by the Science History Institute’s Digital Collections Policy.
Can I freely download or extract your metadata?
We strive to make our linked open data freely available, and it can currently be accessed in JSON and RDF. Please note that our data are formatted for internal use and have not been cleaned up for distribution. In addition, our data model and API are currently undocumented. If you wish to use the data in their current form, you can get the RDF data via Turtle by adding “.ttl” to the end of a record’s URL. You can get the JSON data by adding “.json” to the end of a record’s URL. You can do the same for search results: just make sure to add “.ttl” or “.json” to the end of the URL before the query string. In general the RDF results give more complete data: more metadata fields are returned with search results, and better item membership information is returned with record results.