Accessing Archives & Special Collections

The Archives is open to all members of the public and the university community. Our holdings have provided primary evidential and informational research material for numerous books and articles.

Researchers can access our collections in the Northway Reading Room, where staff are available to assist. In some instances, it is possible to conduct remote research, for example, by paying for scans of particular files. Material held in the Archives and Special Collections cannot be checked out or leave the premises. 

The Archives also hosts classes and groups for tours, archival research workshops, and other learning opportunities. If you are a course instructor who will be sending your students to the Archives for an assignment, please get in touch to ensure we are prepared to support your students' research.

Make an Appointment

Our holdings are available for research purposes in the Archives Reading Room. Appointments are strongly encouraged, so we can retrieve materials and ensure someone is available to assist you. Please consult our hours and book an appointment by emailing and we will confirm. We can help best if you tell us what you are looking for, as well as the purpose/scope of your research (ex: is it for a book? for an undergraduate essay? for a film) to help you identify appropriate resources.

View hours for Archives & Special Collections and other TULA departments.

Coming to the Archives

Trent University Archives is located on the first floor of the Bata Library, in room 117. The Bata Library is on the West Bank of Trent’s Peterborough campus. The address is 1600 W Bank Dr, Peterborough, ON K9L 0G2. 


Paid parking is available in Lot I, outside the Bata Library. During busy times, you may need to park further away. You can read more about visitor parking on the Trent Parking website and visit the Trent Interactive Parking Map to locate the closest lots. 

If you are coming to deliver materials, contact us and we can arrange for you to come to the loading dock. 

Walking from Parking Lot I or the Bus Stop

  • Cross at the pedestrian cross walk. 
  • Go up either the ramp or the first set of steps and turn right. Do not go up the entire flight of stairs. 
  • Pass the black book deposit box marked “Library and Archives” and go through the automatic doors. 
  • Keep to the right and continue down the hallway and through two sets of doors. 
  • When you see a space with computers on the left, turn right (away from the computers). 
  • The Archives is the first door you will see (Room 117). It is right across from the elevators. 

This route avoids all stairs and is accessible, with the exception that one door does not have a button to open it. We are happy to come and assist with the door. 

If you enter from the main entrance of the Bata Library, or are already in the building, you can take the stairs or elevator down to the first floor and come to room 117. 

You may find the Interactive Campus Map helpful.

If you need assistance when you get here, call 705-748-1011 ext 7413. 


If you are a member of the Trent University community (student, staff, students, alumni), please bring your Trent card with you. If you are a member of the public, we will ask you to register for a Community Borrower card. This card will also allow you to sign out print books from the library.

We will help you fill out a request form for the materials you want to see. The request form will ask you to sign, acknowledging that you have read and agree to our reading room rules. These rules help us ensure that future generations can continue to access and use our material for generations to come.

Reading Room Rules

  • Store your bags, coats, hats, etc., at our coat rack during your visit. Food and drink should be placed on top of the coat rack. These items are not allowed at the reading room tables.
  • Electronic devices are welcome. Please let staff know if you require access to an outlet.
  • Pencils are available for you at the tables. Pens and markers should not be used in the reading room.
  • Please handle one box at a time and one file at a time. Do not remove material from its existing order. Please bring any misfiled or damaged materials to the attention of staff.
  • Please handle records or books carefully! Ensure materials are supported fully by the table. Do not lean hands and elbows on any part of archival material. Archival material must not be marked, annotated, torn, or folded. Refold documents and letters exactly as they were.
  • Wear cotton or nitrile gloves only when handling photographs or negatives.

Copying Records

  • Copies can be made for your private research and study. Documents cannot be published without the permission of the University Archivist and the copyright holder.
  • Researchers are typically allowed to take photographs of our materials using their own device. Please ask staff for a permission to copy form, which must be filled out.
  • Staff may do a reasonable amount of copying/scanning for researchers, at the current cost per page. Occasionally, copies cannot be made due to copyright or preservation concerns.
  • Please keep careful notes to ensure citations are accurate.
  • Please see below for copying procedures and costs.

Requesting Copies

Researchers who cannot travel to the Archives can pay for scans of material, so long as copyright laws and the material’s condition permit it. Read about reproductions and copyright below.

Help With Research

If you need help identifying relevant records (ex: finding an ancestor’s name within a collection or finding a newspaper article on a topic), we can do a bit of digging for you. We can typically conduct searches for records for up to an hour, but due to staffing limitations, we cannot conduct significant research on your behalf. In these cases, we suggest hiring a researcher who can come to the Archives. For genealogical research, contacts are listed through the Archives of Ontario (Genealogical Researchers) and the Ontario Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Digital Collections

Explore our Guide to Digital Resources to see if we have what you need online.

University Records Restrictions

Trent Staff Access

Access to Trent University’s administrative records is often restricted and requires permission of the University Archivist. Generally, these restricted records are made available to members of the Board of Governors, the President, the Chair or Head of the creating administrative unit and any delegated and authorized Trent University employee requiring access to fulfill their responsibilities. Notification of authorization for these delegated persons to access the institutional records must be forwarded to the University Archivist. Once such authorization has been received, access to the records identified in the authorization will be given. 

Public Access

Access to Trent University's non-current historical records by all other researchers is through the University's Access and Privacy Office. A written application is required citing records required, purpose of research, and giving a commitment to confidentiality. Once the application is approved and given to the University Archivist, individuals will have access to the records outlined in the approval. 

Private Records Restrictions

In most cases, archival collections donated by individuals and organizations are open to access. Sometimes, donors place restrictions on accessing or reproducing particular records, which will be noted in the finding aid (in the Archives Database). In some cases, records are restricted until a particular date. Other times, access requires permission from the University Archivist or another delegated person.


Copies for Personal Use

We can, under the fair dealing provisions of copyright law, provide one copy of a document for research purposes or private study, unless the donor or copyright holder has expressly forbidden such copying. Researchers must complete our "Request for Reproduction of Works..." form and send it to us before any copying can be done. For researchers working on site in the Archives, the form is provided in the Reading Room. We keep a record of every request for photocopying.

Copies for Publication

All questions of copyright are ultimately the responsibility of the researcher. While Trent University owns copyright to many collections in its care, in some cases, copyright resides with the donor or his/her estate. Permission to publish any materials in our holdings or make any use of them beyond private study (for example on a website) must be requested in writing and may also require the authorization of the copyright owner. The for proper citation for Trent University Archives must be given (see below for citation guidance).

In general terms:

  • All works, whether published or not, are protected under copyright law for the life of the author/creator plus 70 years from the end of the calendar year that the author/creator died.
  • Photographers and artists have the same authorship rights as other creators (with the exception that photographs taken before January 1, 1949 are in the public domain.
  • "Copying" means the reproduction of something in any format, including photographing something with a camera.
  • The Archives, like the Library and the University, follows Fair Dealing guidelines.

The Canadian Copyright Act is available online and includes a Frequently Asked Questions section. TULA has posted copyright guidelines as well.

Self-Serve Copying

Archives staff can give permission for visitors to our reading room to use their phones or devices (without a flash) to take images of material, providing there are no concerns regarding copyright, donor restrictions, or conservation. Visitors must complete our "Request for Reproduction of Works" form. There is no charge for self-serve copying. There is no public access to our photocopy machine.

Digitization on Demand

Researchers (both on-site and remote) can request that Archives staff copy material for them. Archives staff reserve the right to determine whether the material can be copied, in accordance with copyright law, any restrictions placed on the material, and any preservation concerns.

Material can be either scanned and emailed, or photocopied for mailing/pickup.

Fee Schedule

  • Unimproved basic scan or photocopy: 50 cents per page
  • Scanned image for publication: $10 per image
  • Digitizing a sound recording or film/video: Please inquire. Special reproduction services may be contracted out to a commercial firm and charges are levied on a case-by-case basis.

Researchers will be charged postage for material mailed through the post.

When quoting, summarizing, or reproducing an image from an archival source, it is important to provide a full citation. If writing an academic paper, follow your chosen style guide's instructions for archival citations.

Unlike citing published works, archival citations also include the location of the material. This information is necessary in order for a reader to consult and/or verify your sources. Regardless of the style guide you use (ex: APA, MLA, Chicago), your citation should include the following information:

  1. Title or description of the document, including the author and date, where known.
    • Ex: Letter from Eric Fowlds to Helen Fowlds, March 27, 1915
  2. Name of the fonds or collection it is from.
    • Ex: Helen Marryat fonds
  3. Reference code or container (accession-box-file numbers)
    • ex: 69-001/002(35)
  4. Repository and its location.
    • Ex: Trent University Archives

For example:

Letter from Eric Fowlds to Helen Fowlds, March 27, 1915. Helen Marryat fonds, 69-001/002(35). Trent University Archives, Peterborough, Ontario.

Remember to follow your chosen citation style guide to ensure these elements are presented in the right order, with proper punctuation. Dalhousie University has a guide outlining archival citation guidelines for MLA, Chicago, and APA.

If you are unsure how to cite or credit material from the Trent University Archives, please get in touch.

The Trent University Archives and Special Collections can provide opportunities for students to work directly with rare books, historical documents, photographs, maps, and other primary sources. Our vast collections support many subject areas, and we can help course instructors engage students with hands-on, critical thinking about course themes.

Archives staff are available to partner with course instructors to ensure students are supported and feel comfortable using the Archives’ resources. The Archives supports student learning at all levels, from first year undergraduate courses to advanced graduate programs. We are available to provide the following:

  1. Help identifying collections that support your course themes.
  2. Advice on best practices for designing archival assignments that meet your course’s learning objectives.
  3. A class field trip to the Archives. This can involve a tour, session on archival research, and/or hands-on activities to get students engaged with primary resources.
  4. A guest lecture by the University Archivist.
  5. Support for your students throughout their research journeys. 

If you’d like to integrate the archives into your courses, or want to organize a group visit, please get in touch at