W&M Digital Archive and W&M ScholarWorks Take-Down Policy and Disclaimer

Take-Down Policy

W&M Libraries' Digital Collections and W&M ScholarWorks are accessible for purposes of education and research. Materials previously deposited into Digital Collections may be removed or restricted at the request of the creator(s), contributor(s), or other individuals holding rights to the material. Upon request, we will remove material from public view while we address a rights issue.


The William & Mary makes digital versions of collections accessible in the following situations:

  • They are in the public domain
  • The rights are owned by William & Mary
  • William & Mary has permission to make them accessible
  • We make them accessible for education and research purposes as a legal fair use
  • There are no known restrictions on use

We have made the best effort to adhere to all known copyright and rights of privacy, publicity, or trademark of material, but due to the nature of archival collections, we are not always able to identify this information. We are eager to hear from any rights owners so that we may obtain accurate information.

To learn more about what your responsibilities are in relation to copyright and using material, visit our guide on copyright and author's rights. We also have a guide with specific information on the types of copyright available for theses and dissertations.

Removal or Restriction of Items

Requests for removal should be directed to the Digital Collections administrator or W&M ScholarWorks administrator and should include:

  • The name and URL of the item or items to be removed
  • The reason for removal
  • An explanation of any claims to rights for the material

The Director of Special Collections will then be notified and, in consultation with the Special Collections staff and other appropriate members of the campus community, will review the request for just cause. Upon determination of just cause, the item or items in question will be removed from public view within the repository until the request is resolved.

The final outcome of the review of a request to remove items from Digital Collections or W&M ScholarWorks may be one of the following:

  • The item is not changed and is returned to public view
  • The item is not changed, but access is restricted for a period of time
  • The item is permanently removed from the W&M Digital Archive
  • Or another outcome

Honors Theses Exception

Take-down requests are not honored for new honors thesis submissions to W&M ScholarWorks. Before submitting honors theses, authors must agree to a non-exclusive distribution license agreement which grants William & Mary the "non-exclusive right to reproduce, and distribute your submission (including the abstract) to the public as well as the right to migrate or convert your submission, without alteration of content, to any medium or format for the purpose of preservation or continued distribution." Authors are given the ability to embargo honors theses upon submission for a specified time period not to exceed 5 years. Embargoes requested after submission will not be honored.  Per W&M Special Collections and Archives policy and pursuant to state agency records retention schedule GS 111 101085 which governs the retention of student theses and dissertations, honors theses produced in partial fulfillment of a degree from W&M are considered permanent college record and are therefore, barring an established term-limited embargo upon submission to W&M ScholarWorks, considered permanent public record.

Review of materials deposited

Materials deposited in Digital Collections or W&M ScholarWorks are subject to review of the administrators for format, content relevance and adherence to established collection policies. After initial deposit of materials to Digital Collections or W&M ScholarWorks, materials may be reviewed and subject to relocation within the repository based on usage statistics, available storage space or other factors.

For more information, please contact the Digital Collections administrator or W&M ScholarWorks administrator.