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Archives and Special Collections

Accessing the Collections FAQ's

What is kind of things do you collect? How can I search your holdings?

Archives & Special Collections (A&SC)  has many rare, fragile, audiovisual and other non-book items, as well as materials that relate to specific research fields. All our books and some of the audiovisual material are in the library catalogue, indicated as either Archives or Special Collections items in the "Location" field.  To browse or search our non-book resources, use our online database, or take a look at our collections descriptions, using the links on the left and contact us by phone or email to make an appointment.

How can you help me with my research?

A&SC staff are here to facilitate research and access to collections for the broader Ryerson community.  Appointments to view items in either the Archives or Special Collections reading rooms can be made via telephone or email. When making an appointment, please include the reference number of the item, or collection or call number of the books you would like to consult.  Books and periodicals can be searched in advance of your visit through the Ryerson Library catalogue. Any of the books or periodicals from the catalogue that are located in the Archives or Special Collections reading rooms will be noted as such in the ‘Location’ area in the record. All other A&SC materials can be searched in advance of your visit through the A&SC database.

What if I need more help?

Please feel free to make an appointment for more in-depth research assistance tailored to your specific research interests by emailing Special Collections ( or the Archives ( with the subject of your research, the collection you would like to access and your preferred time. The A&SC staff will enable you to engage in efficient and productive research by orienting you to the available materials and search tools that are relevant to your research interests.

Is there anything you can’t do?

Unfortunately, we can’t conduct your research for you.  We’re happy to help you locate and access records; navigate our database, catalogue, and paper-based finding aids; digitize material for educational use; access existing digitized material; and refer you to other collections items that are related to your topic. We can’t do things like conduct preliminary searches; research, locate, and digitize the results of subject-based search requests sent in remotely; read through large files in search of items relevant to your research; or clear image reproduction rights with third-party permissions holders.

Conducting Research FAQ's

Can I use images from the collection and how do I attain them?

Researchers can request reproductions of images found in our collections. If your request meets our guidelines (Ryerson, FIPPA, Copyright) we will provide you with watermarked digital reproductions. You can also request high quality digital images of collections objects and we are happy to make these available for uses that fall under Ryerson University’s Fair Dealing guidelines. The collection object images must be accompanied by a credit line citing the Ryerson University Special Collections or Archives in any case where material is reproduced. You may be required to sign a Image use form that clearly outlines the permitted uses of the requested images. Please note that unauthorized reproduction of images (including those contained on the Ryerson University Archives & Special Collections web site), is prohibited.

What is your collecting policy?

Information related to our Collections Development Policy and the process of donating to Archives and Special Collections can be found here.

How do I make an Appointment?  How do I get there?

Both Archives and Special Collections are located in the Ryerson University Library Building (LIB) on the north side of Gould Street just east of Yonge Street, between O'Keefe Lane and Victoria Street. Enter the Library on the 2nd floor of the building. The Archives is located on the 3rd floor in LIB 387. For an appointment you can email, or call (416) 979 5000 ext. 7027.  Special Collections is located on the 4th floor in LIB 492. For an appointment, email Special Collections, or call 416-979-5000 x4996. Please try to be as specific as possible about what you’re looking for so we can help you make the best use of your visit.

What do I need to bring?

Please bring with you pencils (we request you refrain from using pens), and a usb key if you are wishing to scan items.

Can I Borrow Books or Objects? (Access policies)

We care for objects, photographs, rare books and some amazing cultural resources so we don’t let anything out of our sight. You’re welcome to consult books and objects in our reading room and use a camera or cell phone to take pictures though. Photocopying is permitted of some materials. Photocopy cards are available for purchase on the main floor of the library.