How to donate your records - individuals

Individuals (Students, Staff, Alumni, and General Public)

If you think you might want to donate records to SFU Archives, you can help us determine whether your records would be a good fit in our repository by preparing some background information about your potential donation.

Following Steps 1-10 below will provide valuable context to your records and aid in our assessment. Don't worry if you cannot provide answers to all of these steps. Just do your best to supply the details that you know. You can download our Donation Assessment Form as a convenient way to record these details.

Alternatively, contact the Acquistions and Outreach Archivist to make arrangements for a site visit so that s/he can inspect the records and, with your help, collect the details described below. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate site visits outside British Columbia's Lower Mainland.


* Donation Assessment Form.pdf
Donation Assessment Form
* Donating Digital Files.pdf
Information about how to organize and prepare your electronic records for donation to the Archives.

Step 1

Describe the subject areas to which your records might relate. See the subject headings we use to index our holdings for an overview of our collecting strengths. If you are interested in browsing our holdings, see our online catalogue, SFU Atom.

Step 2

Describe the research audiences that might be interested in your records. You know your records better than we do and we value your insights.

Step 3

Prepare a description of the records to be donated. For example:

  • File list (pdf)
  • Descriptive narrative (e.g. records include reports, correspondence, minutes, diaries, family photo albums, manuscripts, etc.)

Step 4

Describe the approximate size of the donation:

  • How many boxes of records?
  • How many GB of data on electronic storage media?
  • How many photographs or films?
  • How many sound recordings?

Step 5

Identify the outside dates of the records (earliest and latest dates of the records as a whole).

Step 6

Describe whether the records are unique and original:

  • Does the proposed donation consist entirely of originals or copies or some mixture of both?
  • Are the records unique or might other individuals, organizations, libraries or archives hold the same records?
  • Does the proposed donation include publications?

Step 7

List the types of records included in the proposed donation. For example:

  • Textual records
  • Architectural drawings
  • Maps
  • Photographs
  • Films and videos
  • Sound recordings
  • Electronic records

Step 8

Confirm ownership:

  • Are the records your property?
  • Do the records belong to another individual (e.g. family member, work colleague)?
  • Do the records belong to an organization on whose behalf you are acting (e.g. university, company, society)?

Step 9

Describe any prior transfers of ownership or custody and control of the records:

  • Did someone else own the records previously (e.g. family members, friends, work colleagues, etc.)?
  • Were the records stored in multiple locations over time (e.g. offices, residences, storage facilities, etc.)?

Step 10

Are the records fairly complete and representative of the life and career of the individual they document? If there are significant gaps, describe them. For example:

  • Diaries and personal correspondence were destroyed
  • Records from early career donated to another institution
  • Electronic records lost due to a computer crash

Step 11

The Staff Archivist will decide whether the records fall within our acquisition mandate. If SFU Archives decides to acquire your records, you can help us by making arrangements for their delivery. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to pick up large donations.

Step 12

The donation process concludes with the signing of a Donation Agreement. The Agreement legally transfers ownership of your records to Simon Fraser University. The particulars of the Agreement are negotiated between you and SFU Archives. Some things for you to consider:

  • Do you want to place time-limited, public access restrictions on some of the records because they contain sensitive personal information? If yes, please flag those records before sending them to SFU Archives.
  • Do you want to retain copyright in the records you authored or would you like to assign copyright ownership to SFU Archives?
  • Do you want to gift the records to SFU Archives (i.e. donate them without receiving any financial consideration) or do you want a tax receipt in return for your donation? SFU Archives does not purchase records.
  • Do you want any material we decide not to preserve permanently returned to you or confidentially destroyed? If the former, we ask that you make arrangements to pick up the materials we decide not to keep.
  • Do you want to make additional donations over time? If yes, how frequently (e.g. once every 5 years)?