Donating to the Archives

The Archives collects records of people and organizations representing the history of the University and of Northwestern Ontario. Most of our records are acquired by donation.

If you have papers, photographs, or other materials you would like to donate, please contact the Archivist, Sara Janes, at or (807) 343-8272. If the records are not suitable for the Lakehead University Archives, the Archivist will help you to locate a more appropriate repository.

Acquisition Strategy

Archival records will be acquired regularly by transfer from University bodies, or by donation, in accordance with this Acquisition Plan. All final acquisition decisions will be made by the University Archivist.

University Records:

In the absence of a formal records management program, the Archives will serve as the repository for University records of enduring value. Records will be identified as eligible for transfer by their originating bodies, and must be approved by the University Archivist. University records have enduring value particularly when they document the governance, administration, and operations of the University and its Faculties, Offices, and Departments.

Private Records:

The Archives will acquire the records of people, families, and corporate bodies, where those records are of historic or cultural significance, reflect the history of the university or the Region, and/or support the educational and research needs of faculty and students. New acquisitions should strengthen the existing collection by contributing to areas of existing strength or filling identified gaps.

In particular, the Archives acquires records in the following areas:

  • Faculty research and teaching
  • Student life and the university experience
  • Finns and Finnish-Canadians in the region
  • Natural history, ecology, geology, forestry, and resource industries of Northwestern Ontario
  • Politics and activism
  • Art, performance, and writing


In recognition that the majority of records acquired by the Archives represent a limited segment of this region’s people, every effort will be made to collect and preserve the records of women, Indigenous people, people of colour, disabled people, and LGBTQ people.


This acquisition plan recognizes the role of other archives and cultural heritage institutions in the region, and the work of the Archives Association of Ontario in developing a Provincial Acquisition Strategy for Ontario. All offers of donation will be considered with respect to the acquisition mandates and existing holdings of other institutions, and donors will be advised of other institutions that may be a more appropriate repository for the records.


The archives collects records so that they can be accessed and used by faculty, students, and community members. However, access to some records may need to be restricted for an appropriate time because of privacy or similar concerns. It is less likely that the archives will agree to acquire a collection for which there will be significant, ongoing restrictions on access.


Access to records is affected by the copyright status of the records. Records can be more readily accessed when digital surrogates are available online or on request. When relevant, the archives asks that donors will assign to the archives any copyright they hold in the records. It is less likely that the archives will agree to acquire a collection where copyright issues will significantly restrict use of or access to the records.


Records in the archives are selected for their enduring value, and will be preserved indefinitely. The archives has limited funds for conservation or remediation actions. Records that will require expensive treatments to be preserved, are in such poor condition they cannot be safely accessed, or are contaminated with mould or other pests, are usually not suitable for acquisition.


Private records are acquired by donation. The Archives does not purchase records, and does not perform monetary appraisals of donations. A tax receipt may be available if the donor provides an independent monetary appraisal.

Priorities for Arrangement and Description:

Every effort will be made to have all collections described at a minimal level, and available for research as quickly as possible. Further processing of the records will be prioritized based on:

  • Preservation risk: in particular, digital or multimedia collections that may be at risk of loss or damage
  • Anticipated use: records that are reasonably expected to be of research interest to faculty, students, and community members
  • Donor expectations: donors or family members may have an interest in seeing records processed and available, and the creation of finding aids or digital collections may have been a term of the donation agreement
  • Strengthening the collection: records that fit the acquisition plan as described above, particularly where they fit in multiple categories

Return of Materials:

Upon acquisition, a deed of gift will be signed, and all records become the property of the archives, and will not be returned to the donor.

During processing, some material may be found to not have archival value. In these cases, items may be offered to the Lakehead University Library, returned to the donor, or destroyed, depending on the conditions of the deed of gift.