Digital reserves in the RetroSeasons Sports Library are texts from our print collection that have been converted to electronic format and made available at  

Users can borrow and read digital copies for two hours with a real-time waitlist, if necessary. In line with best practices for controlled digital lending, there are no download or print privileges available, and the print text copy is securely stored on-site and is not allowed to circulate.  

All of the publications in the RetroSeasons Sports Library were published in the United States and fall under U.S. copyright laws. Details on the different stages of copyright and access to digital copies of the publications are described below.

A baseball publication from 1910, an example of a public domain content

1927 and earlier: Public Domain

Generally speaking, copyright on publications lasts for 95 years. As such, as of the year 2023, books and other periodicals published before January 1928 are now in the public domain. They are free to view and use without restriction in our sports library.

Details on copyright terms and the public domain are available at the Cornell Law Library.

A football publication from 1936, an example of a content with potential expired copyright

1928-1963: Expired?

Content published after 1923, but before 1964, needed to be manually renewed every 28 years to avoid copyright expiration. If the copyright expired, the publication was released to the Public Domain and may be viewed in our sports library without restriction. Publications that renewed their copyright have certain restrictions but are often available to view digitally in our sports library by way of Controlled Digital Lending.

More information on this expiration period is discussed at the New York Public Library.

A basketball publication from 1976, an example of a copyrighted content

1964 and later: Copyrighted

All publications released after January 1st, 1964 automatically have copyright applied for 95 years. If we have a physical copy of one of these publications in our sports library, you may view it digitally, with certain restrictions, by way of Controlled Digital Lending.

Publication copyright details are available at The University of Pennsylvania Library and U.S. Copyright Office.