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Skip Navigation LinksSimcoe County > Departments > Archives > Donating Records to the Archives

Donating Records to the Archives

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Simcoe County Archives has a mandate to acquire, preserve, and make available the documentary heritage of the County of Simcoe. The Archives' staff is committed to the long-term preservation of the County's social, cultural, intellectual, economic, and political history.​​

The Archives does not purc​hase records. We rely on the ​generosity of our donors to help us preserve our collective past through the gift of records. Please note that donors are required to schedule an appointment if interested in donating records.

We encourage you to read through each of the dropdown links below when considering a donation to the Simcoe County Archives. ​


​New:  Collecting Community Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

​The Archives is looking for the public's assistance in developing a ​Community Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic collection.  Items are not being accepted at this time, but we have created a guide to assist you in ​assembling materials for future donation.  Visit the Collecting Community Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic​ page for more information.​



What Does the Archives Collect?What Does the Archives Collect?<p><span style="font-size:1em;">​We collect a wide variety of material in any format, digital and/or analog, including, but not limited to:</span></p><ul><li>Papers, physical and digital</li><li>Diaries, letters, and emails</li><li>Photographs and digital image files</li><li>Postcards</li><li>Maps</li><li>Art</li><li>Movies and films, including film and digital video files</li><li>Sound recordings, including analog and digital media </li><li>Architectural and technical drawings and plans</li><li>Original research</li><li>Publications about the County, its towns and townships, and its residents, or by noted residents of the County</li><li>Family histories and genealogical material</li></ul><div><p>We accept records from a variety of different sources, including:</p><ul><li>Individuals and families</li><li>Community organizations</li><li>Businesses</li><li>Local governments</li></ul><p>We are particularly interested in original, unpublished materials (diaries, photographs, personal or institutional papers), but secondary sources that cast light on the history of the County will also be considered.</p><p>It is our goal to collect records that show what the past was like – but keep in mind that current events will, before long, be considered as part of the past. Don't assume that we only want old records! </p><p>If you're not sure we will be interested in your records, please <a href="/Archives/Pages/about.aspx" target="_blank">contact us</a>​ to make sure. You never know! </p></div>
What Does the Archives Not Collect?What Does the Archives Not Collect?<p><span style="font-size:1em;">​​​The Archives is eager to expand its collections, but reserves the right to refuse records.  The following records will always be refused:</span></p><ul><li>Records not related to the County of Simcoe, its municipalities, residents, businesses, or organizations</li><li>Contaminated records.  Examples include, but aren't limited to, mouldy records and collections previously infested by rodents or insects</li><li>Records which are in such poor condition that they require extensive conservation and preservation work</li><li>Records of which we already have multiple copies</li><li>Records that are not donated​ outright, either in their original form or as copy loans.​<br></li><li>We do not warehouse records for, or provide records management services to, individuals or organizations, except in the case of Women's Institutes and local municipal governments. We only store records that are donated to us for permanent preservation.</li></ul><p>If you have any questions or are unsure about the condition of your records, we'll be happy to take a look. Please <a href="/Archives/Pages/about.aspx" target="_blank">contact us.</a><br></p>
Does the Archives Collect Digital Records?Does the Archives Collect Digital Records?<p> <strong style="font-size:1em;">​​Yes.</strong></p><p> <strong style="font-size:1em;"></strong> <span style="font-size:1em;">O</span><span style="font-size:1em;">ur personal and business activities increasingly take place online and in digital environments.</span></p><p> <span style="font-size:1em;">I</span><span style="font-size:1em;">n many cases, digital records capture the majority of what goes on in our daily lives, from email and word processing to websites and digital photographs. These records form a part of the County of Simcoe's documentary heritage in much the same way physical records do. Unfortunately due to technological obsolescence and hardware failure, born digital records, which should become the primary sources for future historians, are at risk of loss.</span></p><p> <span style="font-size:1em;"></span> <span style="font-size:1em;">T</span><span style="font-size:1em;">o that end, Simcoe County Archives is in the process of developing a digital preservation strategy that will ensure the on-going preservation of our digital history. While we are still in the early stages of our digital preservation program, </span> <strong style="font-size:1em;">Simcoe County Archives absolutely collects born-digital records.</strong></p><p> <span style="font-size:1em;">Some of the formats we collect include, but are not limited to:​</span></p><ul><li>Microsoft Office suite formats (EXE, .XSL, .CSV, .DOCX)<br></li><li>Photo file formats (.TIFF, .JPEG, .PNG, .RAW)</li><li>Audio file formats (.AVI, .MP3, .WAV)</li><li>Video file formats (.MPEG-4, .AVI, .GIF)</li><li>Design and creative file formats (.AI, .PDS)</li><li>Text files (.PDF)</li></ul><p> ​<span style="font-size:1em;">T</span><span style="font-size:1em;">hi</span><span style="font-size:1em;">s is a small sample of the digital files formats we accept. In addition to digital files, Simcoe County Archives also accepts a wide array of digital media carriers, including CD, DVD, USB, and Hard drives. If you are uncertain whether your records fit within our Collections Policy, please contact us: <a title="Click to send email to Simcoe County Archives" href="mailto:archives@simcoe.ca?Subject=Possible%20Donation" target="_blank">archives@simcoe.ca</a> </span></p>
Why Donate Records?Why Donate Records?<p><span style="font-size:1em;">​W</span><span style="font-size:1em;">e can ensure that your records are preserved as long as physically possible. Digital preservation workflows are actively being developed that will ensure that digital material will be preserved as effectively as physical records.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1em;"></span><span style="font-size:1em;">Records donated to the Archives are available to the public for consultation and will allow:</span></p><ul><li>Genealogists to build family trees</li><li>Historians to investigate our past</li><li>Authors to write books</li><li>Artists to create new cultural works </li><li>Researchers to connect to their shared past</li></ul><p>Records you donate will be available to you upon request in our reading room.​<br></p>
How to Donate RecordsHow to Donate Records<p><span style="font-size:1em;">F</span><span style="font-size:1em;">or municipal records transfers, please</span><a href="/Archives/Pages/about.aspx" style="font-size:1em;"> contact us </a><span style="font-size:1em;">for information.</span><br></p><p>For those interested in donating private records, use the <a href="/_layouts/15/FIXUPREDIRECT.ASPX?WebId=a41fbfa1-82ca-4939-9932-d97b8d6ad3e9&TermSetId=fb933945-005d-43ad-bb62-b84ef1fa9284&TermId=b52ec9c2-4144-4cde-b97f-abc078ea6dad" title="Archives Booking Service">Archives Booking Service​</a> to schedule a donation assessment interview with Archives staff. </p><h3 style="text-align:center;"><a href="https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/SimcoeCountyArchivesCalendar%40simcoecounty.onmicrosoft.com/bookings/s/Nmf0MWhLyEKIloMEIS3BrA2" title="Book a Donation Assessment Interview" target="_blank">Book a Donation Assessment Interview</a><br></h3><p><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-CA">Please note: Donations will not be accepted without first completing a donation assessment interview.</span> <strong>Unscheduled d</strong><strong>rop-offs will not be accepted.</strong><span style="font-size:1em;"> </span> </p><p></p><p><br></p><p>In order to make the donation process as efficient as possible, please ensure that:​​<br></p><ul style="list-style-type:disc;"><li>You have the legal right to donate the records</li><li>The records adhere to our <a href="/Archives/Pages/collections-policy.aspx">Collections Policy</a> and relate to the history of the County, past and present.</li></ul><p>In preparation for a donation assessment interview, please gather as much of the following background information as you can:<br></p><ul style="list-style-type:disc;"><li>Name of creator or creating organization</li><li>Custodial history – who has held the records, and when</li><li>Historical or biographical information about the creator or creating organization</li><li>The nature of the records and the purpose for which they were created and/or used</li><li>Any rearrangement of the records that may have occurred</li><li>Any organizational systems used to arrange the records</li><li>Who holds copyright</li></ul><p>When outright donation is impossible, the Archives is willing to consider copy loans, whereby records are temporarily transferred to the Archives for digitization. The digital copies are then donated to the Archives, while the originals are returned to the owner.</p><p>If your donation does not meet our collections mandate, please contact us. We may be able to refer you to a more appropriate institution.</p><p>​<br><br></p>
How Should I Prepare Records for Transfer?How Should I Prepare Records for Transfer?<p><span style="font-size:1em;">​G</span><span style="font-size:1em;">enerally </span><span style="font-size:1em;">speaking, archivists prefer to acquire records that are in the same state of organization as when they were being used by their creator.  The original order, or filing system, can help to explain the history of the records.  It can answer such questions as:</span></p><ul><li>“For what purpose was a record created or acquired?"  </li><li>“How was it used?"  </li><li>“Why was it kept?"  </li><li>“Does it relate to something else in an adjacent folder?"  <br></li></ul><p>It is important to us, therefore, that donors do not impose their own system of organization on a collection of records.  In instances where there is no discernable system in place, it is best if the records are left as they were and brought to the archives for our staff to review.</p><p><span style="font-size:1em;">Please bring the records to the archives in good quality storage containers.  Whether at home, an office, or an archives, no records should be stored in boxes that are broken, chewed, stained, contain organic or inorganic garbage, or for which the lids are missing.</span></p><p> <span style="font-size:1em;">I</span><span style="font-size:1em;">t is very helpful to us if you provide a list of the records you are donating to the archives.  As much as possible, give the following details for each item, volume or file-folder: </span></p><ul><li>Title, </li><li>start and end dates, </li><li>general description of the contents, including image identification for photographs.  </li></ul><p> <span style="font-size:1em;">The details can be captured on the Archives' </span><em style="font-size:1em;"><a title=".pdf of the Donor Assessment Form." href="/Archives/Documents/SCA_Donation-Assessment-Form_Fillable.pdf">Donor Form</a>​</em><span style="font-size:1em;"> either by using the on-line version or by printing out the form and completing it by hand.​</span></p>
What Happens to Donated Records?What Happens to Donated Records?<p>​​<span style="font-size:1em;">​Records donated to the Simcoe County Archives become the permanent property of the Archives.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1em;">Donated records will be arranged and described (the archival equivalent to library cataloguing) according to accepted Canadian Archival standards, then stored in climate-controlled vaults to ensure they are kept safe for future generations. Where possible and necessary, access copies will be made to safeguard fragile material. Records will be made available to the public in our reading room. A curated selection may also be made available online via our blog and, in due course, through our online database search portal.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1em;">We are not a lending library; material may not be taken out of the Archives.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1em;">Occasionally we determine that donated records do not fit our mandate. In that case, we'll offer the records back to you. If you don't wish to have the donation returned, the Archives will use its discretion as to the disposition of the records. Usually this means looking at options to transfer them to another, more suitable, institution.​​</span></p>
How Will My Records Be Made Available?How Will My Records Be Made Available?<ul><li>​The Simcoe County Archives provides access to its holdings in the Archives' reading room during regular opening hours.  </li><li>Materials may also be used, either in original or copied form, as part of outreach programmes such as the <a title="Link to the Simcoe County Archives Blog Posts" href="/Archives/Pages/Archives-Blog.aspx">Archives' blog.</a></li><li>Descriptions of the archives' processed holdings can be searched in house and on the <a title="How to Search the Simcoe County Archives Collection" href="/_layouts/15/FIXUPREDIRECT.ASPX?WebId=a41fbfa1-82ca-4939-9932-d97b8d6ad3e9&TermSetId=fb933945-005d-43ad-bb62-b84ef1fa9284&TermId=49f386df-e50a-40cd-ae38-cb6749416df6">Archives' website</a>, as well as on the provincial archival information network, <a title="Archeion brings together information about archives held by organizations all over Ontario" href="https://www.archeion.ca/simcoe-county-archives">Archeion</a>.</li><li>You can find descriptions of records that the archives has recently acquired, but which have not yet been fully processed, in the <a title="Ontario Archival Accessions Register" href="https://aao-archivists.ca/page-18289">Ontario Archival Accessions Register (OAAR)</a>. ​The OAAR is updated annually.​<br></li></ul>
What About Copyright?What About Copyright?<p>​​<span style="font-size:1em;">​The purpose of collecting records is to ensure they are available for the widest possible use and access. To that end, we request that any existing copyright or intellectual property rights, where held, be transferred to the Archives. Of course, this is not always possible, as donors/collectors may not be the holders of copyright. Even if copyright is not transferred to the Archives, copies will still be made for researchers in accordance with the fair dealing exemptions as outlined in the <a title="Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42)" href="http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-42/">Canadian Copyright Act. </a></span></p><p>Where copyright is not transferred to the Archives, we request explicit permission to reformat to microfilm and/or digital media, and use the reformatted copies as widely as is allowed under the Act.​​<br></p>
Donating FinanciallyDonating Financially<p>​​As a<span style="font-size:1em;"> registered charity, the Archives also accepts monetary donations to further its goals of preserving our local history. Tax receipts are available upon request for donations in amounts greater than $50.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1em;">Tax receipts for donations of records that are known to have significant monetary value may be issued at the discretion of the Archivist.​​</span></p>