Archives Policy

Fanshawe Library Learning Commons / Archives / Archives Policy


The purpose of this policy is to ensure that materials of enduring value to Fanshawe College are collected and preserved (physically and digitally) and made accessible through the Fanshawe College Archives.


2.1 Mandate

The Fanshawe College Archives illustrates the history, growth and development of Fanshawe College through the collection and protection of the College’s documentary history. They make available, and promote the use of those College records which are of enduring historical, legal, fiscal and administrative value.

2.2 Goals

  • To preserve the College’s institutional memory by identifying, acquiring and protecting its permanently valuable records.
  • To digitize the entirety of the collection and build a searchable digital database – Access to Memory.
  • To provide suitable facilities for the storage, preservation, retrieval and use of archival records.
  • To provide access to the archival records for the purposes of reference and research to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community, and to encourage teaching using archival records.
  • To promote awareness of Fanshawe College’s record-keeping obligations, and of the Archives’ role in the preservation of the College’s documentary heritage.

2.3 Principles

  • The Fanshawe College Archives is the designated repository for all permanently valued records of Fanshawe College which contain information about its history, organization, structure and functions.
  • Under the direction of the Director, Library Learning Commons, the Archivist is responsible for the maintenance, management, digitization, and security of records held by the Fanshawe College Archives.
  • Material is deemed to be archival in nature when it falls under either or both of the following conditions:
    • It must be retained according to provincial/federal legislation.
    • It is of significant legal, historical, fiscal, evidential or cultural value to Fanshawe College.

2.4 Acquisition

The Fanshawe College Archives collect records which document the history, organization, structure, programs and functions of the College. To supplement these records, Fanshawe College Archives may also acquire the records of affiliated institutions and campus organizations, the personal papers of individuals, and collections of material from other sources that document the life and reflect the history of the College community.

  • The following material is considered a priority for collection by the Fanshawe College Archives.
    • Administrative and operational records created, received and maintained by the Office of the President, Vice-Presidents, Deans, Departments, Directors/Managers and other offices and positions of comparable significance.
    • Minutes, reports and correspondence of the Board of Governors and all other College Committees.
    • College publications, past and future works of a similar nature
    • Promotional materials such as brochures, newsletters, posters, postcards, recruitment materials and the like created by the academic and administrative departments within the College.
    • Audio-visual/multimedia records (negatives, prints, film, video, digital files) including those, taken by professionals hired by or under contract with the College (All material created Post-November 2012: ownership & copyright must be stated as a clause in contract between Fanshawe College and Contractor. All material previous to that date remains property of Fanshawe College).
    • Select College building plans and contracts, campus maps and guides.
    • Course calendars.
    • Convocation programs and yearbooks.
    • College telephone books and directories.
  • Material will be primarily acquired by the Fanshawe College Archives through internal transfer. Transfer forms MUST accompany all archival material and can be found on the archival services web page Archival Material Transfer Form – Fanshawe Library Learning Commons. Material must also fall under the Fanshawe College archival mandate and be archival in nature.
    • Items that are ‘dropped off’ with no appropriate documentation attached will be accessioned into the archives or disposed of at the sole discretion of the archivist.
  • In order to be transferred, material must, at minimum, be past the time period which governs its semi-active life span in accordance with Fanshawe College Policy 1-I-03.
  • Materials transferred to the Fanshawe College Archives will be accessioned and become property of the Archives.
  • Active, semi-active and inactive material should be identified and managed, or transferred to the Archives according to a formal Records Management program.
  • The acquisition of material through donation, loan or purchase will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Fanshawe College Archives.

2.5 Disposal

  • Material that has been acquired and is damaged to the point of being illegible or unrecognizable, a hazard to physical health (mouldy, infested with pests), or those that are unable to be conserved, will not be accessioned and it will be disposed of.

2.6 Location and Access

  • Materials need to be stored in a centralized Archives on campus that ensures their long-term viability.
  • Access to physical materials is by appointment only and subject to the availability of the Archivist.
  • All digitally archived material can be accessed 24/7 in the Fanshawe College Archival Collection, Access to Memory database – Welcome – Fanshawe College Archives
  • Access to certain archival material may be restricted as required by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and Fanshawe College Policy 1-I-18: Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy and Policy 1I-03 Retention of Records and Correspondence.
  • Restrictions to the access of materials will also be applied according to departmental specifications, condition of materials and restrictions agreed to by the Archivist during negotiations with the original institution/creator and/or donor of the records.

2.7 Digitization and Original/Physical Copies

  • All materials that are acquired by the archives will be digitized and accessible through the Fanshawe College archives database, Access to Memory (AtoM).
  • Material that suffers from obsolescence (technical, digital or functional) will be kept in digital format only.
    • Examples are: slide photographs, vhs/beta tapes, reel to reel audio and visual etc…
  • Items deemed historically significant, and those that are of enduring value to Fanshawe College will be kept in original physical format as well as digital format.
  • Maximum one original copy and one digital copy of an item will be kept.
    • If original departments would like their material back, only a digital copy will be kept in the archives.
    • Original department will be notified if the archives is only able to store their item(s) digitally – if they do not wish to retain the original physical copy, it is at the archivist’s discretion whether or not to keep the original physical item.

2.8 Deaccessioning*

  • Material deemed to be no longer suitable for retention may be permanently removed from the Fanshawe College Archives at the discretion of the Archivist and the Senior Manager of the Library Learning Commons.
  • Material that is damaged to the point of being illegible or unrecognizable, a hazard to physical health (mouldy, infested with pests), or those that are unable to be conserved, will be deaccessioned and disposed of.

*Digitizing is not deaccessioning. When an item is digitized and the physical object is disposed of, the item is still an accession in the collection. The format and access to its information has changed, not the content. If the format of an item limits access to its content, the use of it for research is much less likely.

2.9 Photocopying and Duplication

  • If no restrictions are present, all reasonable photocopying and duplication requests will be undertaken by the Archivist under section 30.21 of the Copyright Act.
  • It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine copyright and permission to publish with regards to any information gathered from the Fanshawe College Archives.
  • Material will not be duplicated if the copyright holder cannot be determined.
  • Due to condition or copyright restrictions, certain material may be unavailable for photocopying or duplication.

2.10 Conservation

  • All treatment and preventive conservation will be undertaken by the Archivist.
  • The Archivist will perform and provide recommendations to any department or staff member on proper storage environments, techniques and enclosures in order to ensure the safekeeping of records and archival material.


  • Accessioning: The process under which material is officially assigned to, and becomes property of, the Fanshawe College Archives.
  • Accession Register: A permanent document, whether on paper or in digital form, that is the official record of all accessioned material within the Fanshawe College Archives.
  • Active Life:  According to Fanshawe College Policy 1-I-03, this is the three-year lifespan after creation in which material is considered an essential file and must be retained by the originator and/or the originator’s department. Material is considered active when it still can and does serve an operational or administrative purpose to its department of origin, or when it is accessed more than once per month, per linear foot. The active lifespan of material which is legal or fiscal in nature may supersede this tbd year time period.
  • Deaccessioning: The process under which material deemed no longer suitable for the Fanshawe College Archives can be officially removed. See Appendix A for deaccessioning policy.
  • Finding aid: A tool that facilitates discovery of information within a collection of records. In some cases, only preliminary inventories that provide description to the fonds or series level are available. 
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA): A law which enables an enquiring party the right of access to requested information and the protection of privacy in regard to the collection of personal information.
  • Inactive life: The time period after material has completed its active life and semi-active life and is now available for transfer to the Fanshawe College Archives. Material is considered inactive when it no longer serves an administrative or operational purpose to the originator and/or the originator’s department and is accessed less than once per year, per five linear feet. 
  • Material: Any information, however recorded, in the original format. These formats can include: manuscript, printed, mechanical, electronic, or artifact. Where the original format does not exist, one copy can be retained.
  • Original Order: The order in which archival materials were originally accumulated or kept by their creator. Maintaining the order preserves the context, original intent and inherent value of the filing system as originally determined by the creator.
  • Records Retention Schedule: A schedule which provides specific guidelines for both the retention and disposition of materials before they can be accessioned into the Archives
  • Semi-Active Life: Material that has completed its active life, but must be retained as it still serves an administrative or operational purpose to the originator and/or the originator’s department. Material is considered semi-active when it is accessed less than once per month, per linear foot. This time period may vary and is typically governed by a material-specific records retention schedule.
  • Technical obsolescence: Occurs when a new product or technology supersedes the old one, and it is preferred to use the new technology instead.
  • Digital obsolescence: Obsolescence of data formats along with their supporting hardware and software can lead to loss of critical information.
  • Functional obsolescence: Items become functionally obsolete when they can no longer adequately perform the function for which they were created. Manufacturers and repair companies will typically cease support for products once they become obsolete as keeping production lines in place and parts in storage for a shrinking user base becomes unprofitable. This causes scarcity of spare parts and skilled technicians for repairs and thus escalates maintenance costs for obsolete products. This ultimately leads to prohibitive expense in keeping old technology functioning.
  • Legacy system: An old or out-of-date system, technology or software application that continues to be used by an organization.


College Policy:

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