Copyright Records Reading Room


The Copyright Office is an office of public record for copyright registration and related documentation. The Copyright Catalog Reading Room oversees approximately 35 million items. The collection is the most complete and accurate collection of copyright records of ownership in the world.


Note to Researcher

Before Visiting the Copyright Records Reading Room: All researchers are advised to write or telephone the Copyright Records Reading Room prior to visiting. Many collections are stored off-site, and advance notice is needed to retrieve these items for research use.

Researchers are advised that no more than 50 items can be retrieved a day without special permission. Also, if a request is made after 2:30 p.m. for records (including books,) the order will not be fulfilled until the next day.


Using the Collection

Pre-1978 Records

Copyright registrations and renewals covering the period 1870 through 1977 are accessible through a physical card catalog housed in the Copyright Office and also through a virtual set of volumes titled the “Catalog of Copyright Entries” (CCEs), which cover 1891 to 1977.

Catalog of Copyright Entries Catalog of Copyright Entries Tutorial

Post-1978 Records

The Copyright Office is an office of public record for copyright registrations and related documentation. Copyright registrations for all works dating from January 1, 1978, to the present, as well as renewals and recorded documents, are accessible through the Copyright Office online records catalog.

Copyright Office Online Records Catalog

Conditions of Use

The collection may be consulted by any adult engaged in serious research who presents a valid Library of Congress issued reader card and agrees to adhere to the division's rules for the use of rare materials. Minors are not admitted to the Manuscript Reading Room.


All researchers are advised to e-mail or telephone the Copyright Records Reading Room prior to visiting. Some collections are stored off-site, and advance notice is needed to retrieve these items for research use.


Registered readers may request materials for use within the Copyright Records Reading Room; however, these materials may not be removed from the premises. Becoming a registered reader is simple and anyone, ages 16 and up, may apply for an official Reader Identification Card. Materials may only be borrowed by Congress, designated official partners, and certain government agency libraries.


Collections Stored Off-Site

Readers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to write or telephone the Copyright Records Reading Room at (202) 707-5063 before visiting. Many collections are stored in other locations, and advance notice is needed to retrieve these items for research use.


Processed collections which are stored off-site are listed below. To obtain access to them, please contact the Manuscript Reading Room several days in advance of your visit to assure that the containers you wish to consult will be available when you arrive.


Although the list of off-site collections is updated periodically, the storage location of collections can change at any time. You are urged to contact the Manuscript Reading Room in advance of your visit, even if the collection you wish to use does not appear on this list.


Closed Stack System

In a closed stack library, researchers must request most materials they wish to consult. Materials retrieved for the use of readers may be used only in assigned reading rooms or research facilities. Readers may not remove collection items from the reading room in which they were requested. Under certain conditions, authorized Library staff may transfer materials between reading rooms at the request of a researcher. Those desiring such a service should inquire about the possibility with the reading room staff.


Readers who violate established conditions and/or procedures for using materials from the collections are subject to penalties, including denial of further access to the collections. Repeated violations may result in denial of further access to the premises and denial of further use of the Library's facilities. Mutilation or theft of Library property also may result in criminal prosecution, as set forth in 18 U.S.C. 641, 1361, and 2071; and 22 D.C. Code 3306.


If materials are not available, researchers in many cases are able to initiate special searches. Materials may not be available for a variety of reasons. They may be: on loan to other libraries or for exhibitions; in use by Members of Congress and congressional staff; in use by other researchers or staff; or undergoing preservation treatment. For special search services, consult with the staff in that location.


Use of the Reference Collections

All of the Library of Congress public reading rooms also maintain open-stack collections of reference materials (encyclopedias, periodical indexes, biographical guides, etc.) that relate to their subject, topic, language, or area study expertise. These reference collections may be consulted directly without submitting a request slip.