There are several ways of finding archival material at Western Archives. There is some duplication between tools but not all material is listed in any one place.It is recommended that you try more than one tool to find information.
The Archives holdings database provides descriptions of fonds/collections, and their component parts that have been arranged and described in detail since 2010. Unlike the Shared Libraries Catalogue, it includes only archival material. The database also contains separate, but linked, histories of the organizations and individuals that created or accumulated the records. Not all material in the database can be found in the "Browse Archives Finding Aids" section of the webage. For example, the database provides access to detailed item level descriptions (and some digitized images) of the Archives’ large photograph collections, which do not have finding aids. It is generally recommended to use the archives holdings database for discovering content from multiple fonds/collections.
Finding aids describe the content and context of archival fonds and collections held by Western Archives that have been arranged and described to current standards. Most are complete descriptive inventories, which provide details about the history or biography of a creator, and also about the elements that make up the whole fonds (series, files, and /or items). Some archival finding aids are found only on this page but others are also available through the Archives Holdings Database.
The library catalogue includes archival material received before 2000. The descriptions vary in detail and are usually short.
Virtual Exhibits contains links to online exhibits with materials from the holdings. The exhibits are frequently created alongside physical exhibits presented in The John A. Schweitzer Gallery, located at the entrance to the public reading room.
Access to university and government records is subject to the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Private records may be subject to restrictions imposed by the donor or, where necessary to address specific issues such as preservation concerns, by Western Archives. Further information about potential access restrictions will be noted in each finding aid or discription.