ACORN (Arboretum COllections & Resources Nexus) provides online access to the special collections of the Sterling Morton Library and other Arboretum resources like images, videos, and documents. New resources are added to the system on a regular basis as a part of our ongoing cataloguing and digitization efforts.

About the Sterling Morton Library

The Sterling Morton Library supports the work and mission of The Morton Arboretum. Devoted mainly to the literature of botany and horticulture, especially as it relates to trees and shrubs that can be grown in northern Illinois, the collections of this special library are a unique resource in the Chicago area. Open to all, the Library and its collections present scholarly and general interest information resources about plants.

Rights and Reproductions

The Sterling Morton Library at The Morton Arboretum is committed to providing access to our collections through ACORN so that everyone can learn from, use, and share our collections.

The Sterling Morton Library and the ACORN database houses items created by individuals who may have retained the copyright for their work. You are responsible for determining the copyright status of an individual work and securing permissions from the copyright holder to create reproductions or otherwise disseminate the work. The Sterling Morton Library does not guarantee the copyright status of any materials not owned by The Morton Arboretum.

Noncommercial uses of the images for which The Morton Arboretum owns the copyright are encouraged; you may use them as long as you credit us as the source and link back to the originating web page whenever possible. The recommended attribution is [Title], [Creator], Courtesy of The Morton Arboretum.

Images on acorn.mortonarb.org (ACORN) may be used for research, instruction, private study, and some other uses under the provisions of fair use. Fair use is a provision of U.S. Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107) which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Factors to be considered for whether a particular use falls under fair use include: the purpose or character of the use; the nature of the copyrighted work; the amount and substantiality of the work being used; and the effect of the use on the market for and value of the original. Under fair use, you may view, print, photocopy, and download images from ACORN without prior permission, provided that you provide proper attribution of the source on all copies.

If you require higher-resolution images for publication, please contact us with the details of that publication using the Image Use Request Form.

Similarly, if you have a use that might be considered commercial, or if you’re unsure about a particular use, fill out the Image Use Request Form.

Requests typically receive a response within 5 business days, and it may take up to 4 weeks to fulfill your request. Some requests may have a fee associated with them.

Frequently Asked Questions (and their Answers):

How can I use the images I see here?

You can use the digital images in ACORN with proper attribution (see below) for any personal or educational purpose. We make every attempt to ensure that we are abiding by copyright law, but if you use one of these images, you take responsibility for verifying its copyright status.

What if I need an image at a higher resolution?

The Arboretum has high resolution (300 dpi) images for nearly all of the images you see online. If the copyright checks out, we will be able to provide you with a digital file for a fee based on your intended use. Fill out the Image Use Request Form to start this process. Typical turnaround is 2-3 weeks.

What if an ACORN record doesn’t have an image?

If you see a record in ACORN that does not have an image, it likely means that it has not yet been digitized as part of our ongoing efforts to make available more images from our collections. You may call the Library to make an appointment to view the physical collections or contact us to request that the item be prioritized for digitization. A fee for staff time and equipment use may be associated with these requests.

What if I need an image for another purpose, or I’m not sure whether it’s okay to use the image?

Fill out the Image Use Request Form with as many details as you can, and we’ll get back to you.

What is the proper way to attribute these images?

[Title], [Creator], Courtesy of The Morton Arboretum