Our Services

Research and information services

The University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services (UTARMS) provides research and information services to all members of the University of Toronto community as well as to visiting scholars and the general public.

Staff are available to discuss research enquiries and help to locate available sources. Researchers are encouraged to contact us prior to their visit if they would like guidance in using the Archives. To explore our collections, please visit the Research Tools page for finding aids and databases specific to the University of Toronto Archives or browse Our Holdings.


Visiting the Archives

Visiting the Reading Room does not require an appointment. However, researchers are encouraged to contact us prior to their visit. This allows staff to evaluate each researcher’s needs and ensure that the requested material is available for when the researcher arrives.

Registration

Researchers using the Reading Room are required to complete a registration form.  Personal identification, preferably with a photograph, will be necessary for registration.  A reader's card will then be issued.  This card will be valid for a year and is required on the daily sign-in sheet and to request records.

Retrievals

Records are non-circulating and must be consulted in our reading room.  An attendant is always on duty to assist you in finding sources and requesting materials. Retrievals are on demand and the last retrieval is at 4:15 p.m.  Some records are stored off-site and may take 1-2 days to retrieve. Listening to sound recordings or viewing film or video requires specialized equipment.  An appointment may be needed to consult these records.


Access and use of records

While we aim to support research by providing access to records, please note that some archival material is restricted.

University records: Most University records (‘A’ Accessions) are restricted and subject to review under the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). However, the Act does not apply to published information such as reports, newsletters, handbooks, and calendars. Additionally, unpublished theses, most photographs, moving image records, architectural drawings, and works of art are also open. For requesting material that is restricted under FIPPA, please visit the Requesting access page

Private records: Access is open to most private records (‘B’ Accessions). However, there may be restrictions according to the wishes of the donor. Further, personal health information (i.e. patient files) in medical practitioners’ B accessions are now subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Details of these restrictions are detailed in the Finding Aids.

Special media: Most special media records (ie. photographs, slides, architectural drawings and sound recordings) are open but some may be restricted for conservation reasons. Access to film and video is by appointment only. Please contact Special Media Archivist, Marnee Gamble.

Use of records

Archival records are unique and irreplaceable and therefore must be handled with care.

  • Gloves are provided for when handling photographs, drawings, and other fragile records.
  • Only pencils can be used for note taking. These are made readily available at the reference desk.
  • Food and drinks are not permitted in the Reading Room.
  • Laptops and other portable computers are permitted provided they are not placed in physical contact with archival materials.
  • The use of a digital camera or camera enabled device (e.g., tablet or smart phone) is allowed at the discretion of Archives staff and in accordance with the following guidelines:
    • Photographs must be for the purpose of research or private study only.
    • Researchers must complete a Request for Reproduction form.
    • The use of flash or personal scanners is prohibited.
    • Material must be handled properly and with care.
    • Photographing staff or other researchers is prohibited.
    • Researchers are responsible for keeping complete citations for all material photographed.
      Archives staff reserve the right to deny or revoke permission to use digital cameras at any time.

How to cite University Archives material

Basic credit should include: University of Toronto Archives ( thereafter, UTA), full title of accession, and accession number (including box number, folder number and item number, where applicable).

The same information should be provided for publications and for theses:

  • University of Toronto Archives. Torontonensis, 9 (1907), p. 2, P78-0178.(05)
  • University of Toronto Archives. John A. Artin Smith, "Canadian Books", unpublished Ph.D. thesis, 1980, T80-0018.(32)

Reproductions and copies

Self-serve copying

You can use your own digital camera, phone or iPad to copy records in the reading room such as photographs and documents. There is also a book scanner available to make digital copies that you can save to your own USB flash drive. You cannot bring in and use your own scanning equipment. There are terms of conditions to copying records and there are limitations to how much you can scan. The archivist on reference will walk you through the steps. Please read the terms and conditions under which you are allowed to scan before you visit the archives. You’ll be asked to sign a form that says that you agree to these terms.

Photocopying and digital scanning services

Upon request, we provide copying service in the form of hard copy photocopies and scans as PDF files. Photocopies can be picked up in the reading room or mailed. Scanned documents will be e-mailed or placed on a file hosting site for download from a link we will provide. The fee structure is below and you will need a valid credit card (Visa or MC) to prepay for scans.

Paper size Cost
Legal / letter $0.28 per page
Ledger $0.43 per page
Tabloid (11"x17") size $1.08 per page

Scanned theses

The Archives holds Masters theses from 1897 to 1989 and Doctoral theses from 1900 to 1985. These theses can be scanned upon request, provided there are no copyright restrictions. The cost per page is the same as the fees set out in the table above. Please contact us for further information.

High-resolution digital scans

Online ordering: Images already scanned and available on the Archives Imagebank or Lansdale Collection can be ordered directly from these sites at a cost of $25/image. Please see Ordering Information and Forms.

New scans: We provide a scanning/digital photography service for photographs and documents that have not already been scanned. The standard specifications for these scans are TIFF files at 600 ppi RGB, 8x10 print size but can be adjusted as needed. Please contact us for further information.

Payment and fees: Cost is $25.00+HST/image and orders are prepaid with a valid credit card. We currently have no on-line payment method however, so once we receive your order, an archivist will be in contact for your payment information.

Copyright and permissions: The University Archives may not be the copyright holder of images or documents in its collection. For this reason, responsibility for infringement of copyright or other rights is assumed by the user, who is fully responsible for obtaining permission for use from the copyright holder. The University of Toronto Archives must be credited for any images used in publication, exhibition, film, video or TV broadcast, or on any website.


Classes and tours

The University of Toronto has a wealth of archival resources available to your graduate and undergraduate students.  The U of T Archives is here to help you encourage your students to make use of these one-of-a-kind collections.

Give your students the opportunity to

  • do original, hands-on research with primary sources in an archives
  • learn about how to interpret original primary sources
  • interact with historical documents, photographs, maps and architectural drawings
  • discover that not everything is online!

What we can do

  • Help you design assignments that involve archival research
  • Visit your class to talk about archival research (we can tailor our lecture to a particular subject area or assignment)
  • Offer ongoing reference services and guidance to you and your students

Archival research isn’t just for history students! We’ve had students visit us for research in architecture, engineering, political science, anthropology, and many more disciplines.

Contact us to see how we can support your teaching.