The University of Waterloo Archives (UWA) preserves recorded information of enduring administrative, legal, financial, or historical value related to the University of Waterloo (University). It maintains the institutional memory of the University, ensures public accountability and transparency, and supports academic, administrative, or legal research.
The UWA collects institutional records of all types of media and format that have been identified as having long-term archival value and where the total retention period for the records has expired. This includes, but is not limited to, textual documents such as correspondence, reports, minutes, and administrative files as well as photographs, audio-visual recordings, and artifacts.
The UWA was established by President Dr. Burton (Burt) Matthews in 1977. Acting Vice-President Dr. Paul Cornell was subsequently appointed Honorary Archivist and the UWA temporarily operated out of the Secretariat's office in Needles Hall. In 1985, the administration of the UWA was transferred to the University of Waterloo Library (Library) and is today managed as part of the Special Collections & Archives department at the Library.
For additional information about conducting archival research in the UWA, incorporating University records such as photographs in special projects, or transferring records to the UWA, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can use the University of Waterloo Archives?
Students, faculty, staff, visiting scholars and the public can use the archives.
Can I research archival records online?
At this time, most of the records in the University of Waterloo Archives cannot be accessed online. You will need to submit a research request to email@example.com for assistance.
A selection of publications, speeches, and promotional items pertaining to the history of the University of Waterloo have been digitized and made available on the Waterloo Digital Library. In addition, file-level descriptions for a set of university photographs known as the Graphic Services fonds on the Archives Database are available online.
Can staff in the archives carry out research for me?
Staff can help you identify records of interest but are unable to perform more extensive research services. Patrons must review the records themselves or hire a research assistant.
How do I request to see materials in the University of Waterloo Archives?
Submit an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of your request including the research topic, types of records that are of interest, and any relevant deadlines you are working towards.
Please note that many of the records are located offsite. As a result, it may take up to two weeks to retrieve records.
Are there any restrictions to access or use archival records?
Archival records will be made available in accordance with Policy 46 – Information Management, and its principles and practices as well as the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).
Can I obtain copies of archival materials?
Yes, patrons can take pictures or scans of records in consultation with staff. In addition, staff can provide high-quality scans of records within a reasonable volume. This work is dependent on staff availability and resources.
Before copies can be obtained, patrons will be asked to complete a Researcher Agreement form and/or a Request for Reproduction form.
How do I cite archival materials?
The preferred citation for records in the University of Waterloo Archives is:
University of Waterloo Archives. FONDS/COLLECTION NAME. Reference code.
Staff can assist with more detailed citation formats upon request.
Do I have to make an appointment to visit the University of Waterloo Archives?
Yes. Due to the complex nature of archival research and as the records are stored offsite, appointments are required. This allows staff time to carefully review your request and work with you to ensure the records you wish to consult are ready for your visit. To book an appointment please e-mail email@example.com
Where is Special Collections & Archives located and what are the department’s opening hours?
The department is located on the first floor (basement) of the Dana Porter Library and is open Monday to Friday from:
- 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
For additional details, please consult our Visit Us page.
Can I borrow archival materials for an exhibition?
Where can I find images of the University of Waterloo?
File-level descriptions for a set of university photographs known as the Graphic Services fonds on the Archives Database are available online. In addition, images related to the university may be found in the file-level descriptions of the Kitchener-Waterloo Photographic Negative Collection on the Archives Database. A selection of these images as well as publications, speeches, and promotional items pertaining to the history of the University of Waterloo have been digitized and made available on the Waterloo Digital Library.
To obtain copies of images, submit an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the reference number of the files you are interested in. Please note that it may take several weeks to digitize items. This work is dependent on staff availability and resources.
Can I schedule a meeting with the archivist and myself/my team to discuss the details of a project and what archival resources are available to support the project?
How do I know if a selection of records in my unit can be transferred to the University of Waterloo Archives?
Refer to the University’s records classification and retention schedules to determine if
- The total retention period for the records has expired
- Archival selection is listed as part of the final disposition process
If these criteria are met then please send an email to Nicole Marcogliese so the records may be reviewed and, where appropriate, transferred to the UWA.If staff are unsure, they are encouraged to contact the University Records Manager so that the records can be assessed.
Please do not send records to Special Collections & Archives before receiving e-mail confirmation from Nicole Marcogliese.
Will I receive a file listing of records I transferred to the University of Waterloo Archives once they are processed?
Can my unit refer to or borrow records transferred to the University of Waterloo Archives in the future?
I am a faculty member and would like to donate my papers to the University. Is this possible?
Faculty members' research and teaching materials that fall under the purview of Policy 73: Intellectual Property Rights are not considered institutional records and are not appropriate for deposit in the University of Waterloo Archives. Records of this nature may, however, be considered for acquisition by Special Collections & Archives in accordance with the department’s framework for collecting personal archives of faculty members. For more information, contact Nick Richbell.