University of Victoria Special Collections serves as a research and teaching resource for students, faculty, and the community at large. Its mandate is to collect, preserve, and make accessible rare books, manuscripts, architectural plans, photographs, and oral history interviews. Special Collections provides a reference service and allows instructors to deliver classes using material from the collection within the Special Collections classroom.

Access policy

Special Collections and Archives have procedures which must be followed to access the books and archives in the area. Users must complete an item request form, sign and date it. On receipt of the material they must present current photo ID in order to use it. The user's current identification is retained by staff while the material is in use.

Because most of the material is rare and fragile, or unique and irreplaceable, all research use is supervised by staff in the Reading Room. To protect the material, users are requested to use pencils while taking notes.

Academic and administrative offices that have transferred their records to the Archives may borrow files when required.

See our Access Policy.

Copyright policy

While all privileges of copyright to the materials on this web site are retained by the copyright holders noted on the website, all text and images may be freely reproduced, re-used, and/or distributed in their existing or in modified form, without further permission, subject to the following restrictions:

  • The intended use of the material must be non-commercial. If the material is to be used as part of a profit-making venture, a commercial license is required and a fee may be levied. Images of a higher resolution than those published here are available for this purpose.
  • "The entire site, or substantial portions of the site, cannot be republished in any form without permission. Complete copies can be made for personal or academic use, but cannot be published in any form available to the public at large.
  • Quotes of any of the text or use of images in published works must be properly attributed and should have a standard bibliographic reference to this site and its authors. If the work is published on the World Wide Web or in any other form that allows hyperlinks, it should also contain a hyperlink to the home page of this site.

The intent is to freely allow any and all personal and/or academic and/or research use of these materials while retaining the right to share in any profits made from them, and to ensure that proper attribution is made when the materials are used by others.

Copyright restrictions

All text not otherwise attributed is copyright 2004-2009 by University of Victoria, Special Collections.

Web site design and layout, and all HTML, scripting and other code is copyright 2004-2009 by University of Victoria, Special Collections.

All images not stated to be in the public domain, and that do not have copyright statements or attributions of their own, are copyright2004-2009 by University of Victoria, Special Collections.

Loans policy

Materials are not allowed to circulate because of their rare or fragile nature. However, exceptions may be made for the presentation of material for teaching or seminar purposes.

See our Loans Policy.

Photocopying policy

Photocopies may be used only for the purposes of research and private study, and must not be used for any other purpose without the express authorization of the copyright owner. Responsibility regarding questions of copyright that may arise in the use of such copies is assumed by the recipient.

Most of the material in Special Collections may be photocopied after receiving permission from a Special Collections staff member. Many books are vulnerable to damage through photocopying, and permission will be denied if it is thought that their condition might deteriorate if photocopying were allowed. Examples of books which may never be photocopied:

  • Books which are larger than the photocopier platen.
  • Books with brittle or torn pages. The pages will deteriorate further if photocopying is permitted.
  • Books with fold-outs larger than their covers. Pages that extend beyond the edges of a book are especially vulnerable to tearing.
  • Books with historically important or fine bindings.
  • Perfect bound books. Books which are glued rather than sewn, such as paperbacks, cannot take the strain of being opened far enough for photocopying without breaking the spine.
  • Tightly bound books.
  • Very heavy books. Heavy books are difficult to handle and a strain is put on the binding in trying to obtain a copy.

Archival material must be photocopied by Special Collections staff. Some archival collections may not be copied.

Scanning policy

Only some of the material in Special Collections can be scanned on our flatbed scanner. For reasons of copyright restriction or archival preservation some items may not be scanned.

Where material can be reproduced, images will be scanned in 24-bit colour at 400 DPI and saved in TIFF format and delivered on CD unless requested otherwise. The scanner platen maximum size is 12x17 inches for flat, unbound material. For bound material, the scanner platen maximum size is 8x15 inches. Larger pieces will be scanned as overlapping images and delivered to patrons 'as-is' for them to combine.

Digital photography policy

A digital camera may be used to photograph Special Collections material that otherwise may not be reproduced due to conservation concerns. Please ask for permission before photographing any material. Once permission has been given, follow these guidelines:

  • Hold bound materials open using the paperweight provided.
  • Manuscripts, maps and broadsheets must be kept flat on the table.
  • Turn off the flash on the camera.
  • Use light available in the reading room only.

Collection policy

Special Collections collects rare books, archival fonds, maps, architectural plans, photographs and oral history interviews according to the Special Collections collection policy, with an emphasis on Modern English and Anglo-Irish literature, Northwest Coast exploration, Northwest art and archaeology, Canadian military history and Southern Vancouver Island literary culture.

See our Collection Policy.

Gifts policy

Special Collections can be enriched by gifts of appropriate materials and encourages inquiries from prospective donors about contributions of books, diaries, journals, correspondence, subject files, manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks, maps and other material which support the teaching and research needs of the university. For more information, please visit the Gifts for the Libraries page.

See our Gifts Policy.

Research help policy

Special Collections staff are available to assist students, faculty and researchers in locating materials in the collections, and to carry out requests to copy materials. However, we are unable to accept requests to conduct in-depth research for all materials relating to a person or subject area. If you cannot visit Special Collections in person, you might want to hire an independent consultant to conduct research for you.