Using the Collection
Using the Digital Collection
Every collection submitted to the Veterans History Project (VHP) that meets our requirements has a descriptive record online. Each descriptive record lists the biographical and military service provided by the veteran and information about the contents of their collection.
Some collections also include digitized content (such as an oral history interview) that is available online.
In order to make the collections more accessible, VHP has an ongoing digitization program. This process creates digital copies of collection materials while still retaining and preserving the physical collection per current archival standards. This digital content is added to the already existing biographical and service history for the veteran, and made available online in the Veterans History Project Collection. At this time, not all VHP collections contain digital content that can be viewed online. For more information about VHP materials available online, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.
Collections not fully viewable online can be viewed by the general public in the American Folklife Center Reading Room at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The Onsite Research information includes details on using VHP collections at the Library of Congress.
Make an appointment
In order to review collections onsite at the Library of Congress, you will need to make an appointment. We are unable to serve collections on-demand, as many collections are stored off-site, and advance notice is required to retrieve and prepare the material.
Please contact us at least 10 working days in advance of your arrival to allow staff time to retrieve and prepare the requested materials. Call us at (202) 707-4916 or submit a request through the Ask-A-Librarian system to make an appointment. Please note that you will not be able to review materials without an appointment.
In order to use any reading room at the Library of Congress, you must first obtain a Reader Identification Card in room LJ-139 (Thomas Jefferson Building, First Floor). Reader ID Cards are free and can be obtained by completing a registration process and presenting a valid driver's license, state-issued identification card, or passport. Researchers must be at least 16 years old at the time of registration.
The American Folklife Center Reading Room
The physical space where you will review Veterans History Project (VHP) collections is the American Folklife Center (AFC) Reading Room. It is located in room LJ-G31, on the ground (street-level) floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building.
The AFC Reading Room is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, ET (except federal holidays).
For family members and donors
If you are a veteran or donor interested in seeing your donated collection or the collection of a family member, please remember it may take at least 9 to 12 months from the time of donation for your materials to be fully processed and made accessible.
Making copies of collections in the Reading Room
All proposed reproduction processes must be approved in advance by VHP staff. Copying may be prohibited due to factors such as fragility of the item, privacy and copyright law, donor restrictions, etc. In general, copying is permissible for personal use, research, or other uses permissible by copyright law.
You may bring a digital camera into the Reading Room with you to photograph images as a “visual notetaking” aid to research. These photographs may only be used for personal reference. They cannot be reproduced or used in publication or exhibition unless you have obtained the permission of the veteran whose materials have been photographed. Please review our Rights & Access page for more information.
You cannot record any audio/video oral history interviews or recordings (including taking still photographs of the recording as it plays).
For more information on ordering high-quality reproductions of VHP material, please contact VHP.