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Accessing and Handling Archival Records

This guide explains how to access and handle the holdings of the Mount Royal University Archives and Special Collections. Follow these rules to help safeguard our collections for future users.

Accessing records

  • The Archives and Special Collections are open to everyone.
  • You may access our holdings in the Reading Room (EL4330A in the Riddell Library and Learning Centre) during our drop in hours.
  • Descriptions (finding aids) of holdings and some digitized records are accessible online via Archives Search.
  • We restrict access to some records because of privacy concerns, fragile physical condition, or the terms of donation. Such restrictions are noted in finding aids. Please speak to archives staff about your access options in such cases.

Reading Room rules

  • Food and drink (including water) are not allowed in the Reading Room.
  • Store all personal belongings except for laptops, phones, and cameras in provided lockers before entering the Reading Room.
  • Only pencils (not pens) are permitted when working with holdings.
  • The Reading Room is a silent study space, and group work isn’t permitted. Seating priority is given to users working with Archives and Special Collections materials.

Handling records

  • Make sure that your hands are clean and dry. Gloves are not required unless you are handling photographic negatives, and are provided by Archives staff.
  • When lifting a box of records, hold it securely underneath.
  • Take one file from a box at a time and mark its position with an acid free bookmark (available from archives staff). When you finish with the file, return it to its original position in the box before taking another.
  • Keep file contents in their original order. Do not rearrange or remove items from files.
  • Handle records carefully, assuming that they could be fragile. Place records flat on the table when viewing them.
  • Do not write on, trace, or mark records.
  • When handling books and bound items, do not force open or put pressure on the binding. Use a book stand (available from archives staff) to support fragile bindings.

Photographing records

  • You may take photographs of archival records for personal research purposes, except in rare cases where there are restrictions on reproduction, which are noted in the finding aid. We do not allow the use of flash.
  • Any use beyond personal research or uses permitted under fair dealing may require the authorization of the copyright owner of the work in question. Please consult the Archives and Special Collections staff for information relating to copyright ownership in such cases.

Digitization requests

  • Digitization services are available on request, at the discretion of the Archivist.
  • While Mount Royal University owns copyright in many of the archival records in the Archives' holdings, there are also many documents for which copyright is owned by a third party.
  • The Archives & Special Collections will make a digital copy of third party copyright-protected materials as permitted under the fair dealing provision of Canada's Copyright Act (section 29). Fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody or satire does not infringe copyright. For criticism, review or news reporting to be considered fair dealing, you must also mention the source and creator of the work.


Contact or 403.440.7046 for more information. These guidelines are subject to change.