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Digital Initiatives: Ordering, Use, & Rights

Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library

Digital Copies

The Digital Initiatives department does not provide print copies of its items on Digital Horizons, nor are items (e.g., town history books) available for purchase in a physical format. Digital copies, however, can be provided. Review the other sections on the page for more information.

Use & Obtaining Copies

The items within the digital collections of the ND State Library can be downloaded directly from the Digital Horizons website at no cost. Visit the Downloading Items from Digital Horizons guide to learn more. It is the responsibility of users to review the copyright status of an item and obtain permissions for its use, if applicable.


If you require a higher resolution image, page from a book, etc. than what is available for download on Digital Horizons, contact Digital Initiatives. However, it is important to note that images printed in books do not always yield good-quality scans. In your message, include certain information about the item(s) you are inquiring about, such as:

  • Title
  • URL where you found the material
  • Identification numbers (e.g., Digital ID)
  • Name of the collection that the item is in

The items within the digital collections of the ND State Library can be downloaded directly from the Digital Horizons website at no cost. Visit the Downloading Items from Digital Horizons guide to learn more. It is the responsibility of users to review the copyright status of an item and obtain permissions for its use, if applicable.

If an item (such as an image) from the ND State Library's digital collections is used for educational purposes (like in a guide, presentation, assignment, etc.), this would likely fall under Fair Use, and permission is not needed. Fair Use allows people to use materials under certain circumstances (one of which is education). So, using an image from the ND State Library's digital collection (including multiple copies for use in the classroom), for example, is not an infringement of copyright. However, the ND State Library requests that any items used from its digital collections have a citation.


If you require a higher resolution image, page from a book, etc. than what is available for download on Digital Horizons, contact Digital Initiatives. However, it is important to note that images printed in books do not always yield good-quality scans. In your message, include certain information about the item(s) you are inquiring about, such as:

  • Title
  • URL where you found the material
  • Identification numbers (e.g., Digital ID)
  • Name of the collection that the item is in

Copyright of the items within the ND State Library's digital collections vary, and they may sometimes depend on the particular collection the item is in or with the item itself.


Publication Information: Individuals or Organizations

If an individual or organization would like to copy, adapt, publish, or otherwise distribute any content found on the ND State Library's digital collections (like in a book or on a website, for example)...

  • It is their responsibility to first evaluate the copyright status of the item (see the "Rights Fields Example" document).
  • Next, the requester will have to contact Digital Initiatives with preliminary information about their request, such as how the item will be used. In your message, also include certain information about the item(s) you are inquiring about, such as:
    • Title
    • URL where you found the material
    • Identification numbers (e.g., Digital ID)
    • Name of the collection that the item is in
  • Upon receiving the email, the Digital Initiatives department will send you a Permission to Publish request form to fill out.
  • Upon completion and submission of the form, Digital Initiatives will evaluate the request.

If an item was contributed to one of the ND State Library's digital collections from a private citizen or organization, permission from the donor /owner will likely need to be obtained (depending on the item's rights status). To respect the privacy of citizens, the ND State Library will act as intermediary and contact the donor/ owner on behalf of the requester.

If the request is approved, there are a few conditions, such as:

  • Digital Initiatives will provide you with a high-quality image
  • Appropriate credit must be given
  • The form only allows for one-time of the item

Additional conditions and information will be outlined in the form.


Publication Information: News/ Media

The items within the digital collections of the ND State Library can be downloaded directly from the Digital Horizons website at no cost. Visit the Downloading Items from Digital Horizons guide to learn more. It is the responsibility of users to review the copyright status of an item and obtain permissions for its use, if applicable.

If an item (such as an image) from the ND State Library's digital collections is used for news reporting purposes this would likely fall under Fair Use, and permission is not needed. Fair Use allows people to use materials under certain circumstances (one of which is news reporting). So, using an image from the ND State Library's digital collection, for example, is not an infringement of copyright.

However, the ND State Library requests that any items used from its digital collections have a citation. If an item will be used in a news story, the ND State Library also requests to be notified before the story airs (contact the Digital Initiatives department).

If you require a higher resolution image, page from a book, etc. than what is available for download on Digital Horizons, contact Digital Initiatives. However, it is important to note that images printed in books do not always yield good-quality scans. In your message, include certain information about the item(s) you are inquiring about, such as:

  • Title
  • URL where you found the material
  • Identification numbers (e.g., Digital ID)
  • Name of the collection that the item is in

Many items within the digital collections of the ND State Library are free to use and reuse. This means the ND State Library believes this content is either in the public domain or has no copyright restrictions, and, therefore, these items can be downloaded and used without obtaining permission.

  • To browse for content by rights (free to use and reuse) in the ND State Library's digital collections, consult the "Browse by Rights" tab of this Digital Collection Guide.
  • There are also many other places where you can find free to use and reuse images online (like from the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, and the Smithsonian). To browse this content, visit this Free and Legal Stock Images page.

Rights Overview

The digital collections of the ND State Library are made available for educational and research use, as well as to share and preserve regional and state history. The ND State Library values open access to North Dakota's cultural heritage and primarily uploads and provides access to content that is in the public domain, covered by Fair Use, has no known copyright restrictions, or has received permission from rights holders when possible.

The ND State Library makes every effort to ensure that it has the appropriate rights permissions to provide access to the content in its digital collections. However, due to the nature of these collections, the ND State Library is not always able to verify this information, and not all the items are without copyright restrictions.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of users to review the copyright status of an item and obtain permissions for its use, if applicable. Items marked as "no copyright" do not need permissions. The ND State Library, to the best of its ability, has inputted the appropriate rights information into the metadata of each item within its digital collections.

On Digital Horizons, users should do the following:

  1. Review the text in the "Rights Statement" field
  2. Click on the link/ URL in the "Rights URI" field to get more detailed information