About Saint Mary's Archives

General Information - Policy/Costs/Donations

The Saint Mary's University Archives is the official memory of the University and keeper of its records. The collection includes manuscript material, printed material, photographs, and artefacts.

In addition to items in the Archival Collection, the Archives holds other material in Books and the Records Centre. Please see the appropriate pages for information on those collections. A list of University publications is also available.

Collections Policy

The Archives collects material in the following areas:

  • The official papers of University Departments. This includes all materials that show the decisions and decision-making processes of the departments; all University publications; and other material that is historically relevant. Note that a distinction is made between University material in the Archives and material in the Records Centre.
  • The papers of University faculty members. Material in this section documents the history of research and teaching at the University. It may include on-campus research done by non-faculty members (e.g. graduate students, etc.)
  • The papers of associated groups or agencies. This includes all groups that are not officially part of the University's administrative structure but are related to its activities. Examples of groups would include student associations, "friends of Saint Mary's"-type groups, etc.
  • Non-Saint Mary's papers that are directly related to and supporting on-going research being conducted at the University. This is a discretionary category, and this type of material is generally only collected after extensive consultation with the appropriate faculty member or researcher to ensure the material's relevance.
  • Individual pieces of printed material, photos, memorabilia, etc. associated with the University. This could include such items as photos of the University from a former student's collection, printed material, etc.

Items are collected in a variety of formats, and currently our collections include bound documents, unbound manuscript material, photographs, computer discs, data tapes, artefacts, and architectural plans.


Material in the Archival Collection is generally available to be viewed in the Archives reading room on the third floor of the Library during our open hours. Access to certain material may be restricted by either the donor or the Archives due to various reasons, including but no limited to: private or privileged information in a collection, easy accessibility of the material from another source, or the fragility of the documents.

Archival material is non-circulating and may not be removed from the Archives reading room. Note that items in our Books section (but not the Archival collection) can be accessed during evenings and weekends through the Library's circulation desk.

Citing Archival Material

Any references to material in the collection should include the name of the institution, as well as the full title and the archival accession number for the particular item. For example: Austin Willis fonds, 2005.10.1, Saint Mary’s University Archives, Patrick Power Library. You can refer to MemoryNS for information on the identifying information, or contact us directly. If you are citing specific items, you should also include the box number, series name, and file name as appropriate.

Information on citing archival material using various citation standards can be found in the library’s Style Guides and Citations page.

Copying of material

Certain material in which the Archives or University owns copyright may be copied for patrons by Archives staff for research purposes.

  • If copyright in the material is not owned by Saint Mary's (for example, most of the books in Books) then limited copies can be made for research purposes.
  • If Saint Mary's University owns copyright in the material (for example, most of the Archival Collection), the amount of copying done for research purposes is at the discretion of Archives staff. Restricted material cannot be accessed or copied. Fragile material may not be copied, or copies may only be available in certain formats.
  • If material is being copied for non-research purposes (e.g. publication), permission of the copyright holder must be obtained. It is the responsibility of the patron to clear all copyright permissions. Please note that material reproduced in a University thesis is considered publishing for copyright purposes.
  • Photocopies are generally available in one business day and can be picked up and paid for at the Library's services plus desk. Scans can generally be done in one business day. Colour printing of scans will take one week. Larger jobs (10+ items) may take longer.
  • At the patron's request, photocopies (or scans on a disc or CD) can be mailed to them, along with a copy of an invoice. Large jobs or international jobs may require pre-payment.
  • Oversize material (larger than 8 ½ x 11) may have additional reproduction costs.


  • Photocopies - 15 cents/page
  • Scans - $5 for the first scanned item (one page or photo), $1 for each subsequent item.
  • Colour printing - $1 per item (one page or photo). This includes printing on near-photographic quality paper (11pt glossy).
  • Each floppy disk or burned CD - $1
  • Photo reproduction - This is done in arrangement with an off-campus photographic dealer on a case-by-case basis. In general, the Archives will supply the material to the photographer and payment will be arranged between the photographer and the patron.
  • Additional services may be available through the on-campus Xerox Document Source service or through off-campus providers on a case-by-case basis.


For all donations, please contact the University Archivist to discuss your donations before dropping off their material. University Departments and Faculty Members can have their material appraised before it is transferred or donated to the Archives. Former students, staff members, members of the general public or others with in possession of items related to Saint Mary's they wish to donate should contact us as well.

All donated items become the property of the Archives, subject to any restrictions or other terms agreed upon at the time of donation. At the archivist's discretion items can be loaned rather than donated. This will generally only be done if an item is to be copied for the archival collection, or if it is being used for a display or temporary research.