(This is the first in an occasional series of introductory guides to UBC Archives’ collections and services)

The core of the holdings of the University of British Columbia Archives are textual records. Produced by organizations or individuals in the course of their activities, they document the history of the University and its community. These records and manuscripts are acquired by the Archives from the University and its constituent offices (faculties, schools, departments, and institutes); independent student, alumni, and employee organizations; and prominent faculty and alumni.

With a few exceptions, these materials have not been digitized. Access to them is provided through inventories.  Researchers peruse these inventories, and when they find something likely to be of interest, they cite the fonds/collection title and box number for retrieval. The records may then be examined in the RBSC/Archives reading room. Photocopying and scanning services are provided for a nominal fee.

Access to institutional records (that is, records created or maintained by University offices) is governed by Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) legislation. Requests for institutional records are subject to review, and may need to be vetted by the University’s Access and Privacy Manager.  Completion of a Research Agreement is also required required.  Non-institutional records and private archives remain open, subject to donor-imposed limitations.

Time spent waiting for retrieval of archival materials can be reduced by calling or e-mailing the Archives in advance. This gives our staff time to pull the requested material from storage and have it ready upon the researcher’s arrival.

Image of snake charmers

In the this issue of LibFOCUS we celebrate the Lunar New Year and explore UBC Library’s Chinese-Canadian resources in the fascinating 25,000-piece Chung Collection, with “Celebrating the Chung Collection.”

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