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Northern BC Archives: Giving

Why donate to the Northern BC Archives & Special Collections (NBCA)?

The history of Northern British Columbia is made up of the fascinating stories of the people who have lived and worked in this vast region of the province. Donating to the Northern BC Archives adds important stories to our history and helps us all understand our past. Your historical records will be accessible to the public and will be preserved in a environmentally controlled vault so they can continue to be shared for generations.

What does the NBCA collect?

Regional map of Northern BCWe collect materials related to the history and culture of Northern and Central BC including records from individuals, families, businesses, organizations, communities, societies, and clubs.

We also collect materials on the institutional history of UNBC including administrative records, professorial records, affiliated associations/institutes, and student societies.

Our geographic focus is:

  • North, up to and including the BC border with Yukon territory
  • South, up to and including the Cariboo/Chilcotin
  • East, up to and including the BC border with Alberta
  • West, up to and including Haida Gwaii

What types of materials does the NBCA accept?

We collect original documents, photographs, maps, architectural plans, technical drawings, sound recordings, films and videos, pamphlets and reports, postcards, art, etc. We also collect publications such as privately published local books, local newsletters and magazines, and publications on the history or culture of Northern BC communities. We accept these types of materials in both print and electronic formats.

How does the donation process work?

There is no one-size-fits-all donation procedure. Once you contact us regarding your donation, we will ask you for details regarding:

  • The subject matter of the materials to determine if it meets our mandate
  • The extent or size of the materials (i.e. the number of boxes of records)
  • The format of the materials (i.e. mostly papers; a mix of papers, maps, and photographs; digital file formats)
  • The age and condition of the materials (Is there any water damage or damage from pests? Is the material very fragile?)
  • Any personal information that may need to be restricted
  • Ownership (Does this material belong to you or a family member? Did you find it or receive it from someone else?)
  • Any terms or conditions you may have on the access or use of the materials

Through this discussion we can both decide if your donation will be an appropriate fit in the Northern BC Archives & Special Collections or if it would serve a better need at a different archives. Once the donation is accepted we will send you a Gift Agreement for your signature; this is a legal agreement between the University of Northern British Columbia and the legal owner of the donated records. It deals with the transfer of ownership, copyright, access, and the tax receipting process.

How long will it take for my donated materials to become available to the public?

This depends on the extent, format, and condition of the materials. All archives have an extensive backlog of donated materials that need to be processed (rehoused, arranged, described, and in some cases digitized). Providing a monetary donation with your material donation will help the archives hire extra staff to process your materials more quickly.

Will the NBCA keep my donated materials forever?

We cannot always keep everything that is donated. If Northern BC Archives determines that some of the donated material will not be selected for permanent retention, we will first try to return the items to the donor. If the donor does not want the materials back, we may decide to offer the unselected material to another archival institution that is a more appropriate fit for those select items.

Will my donated materials be digitized and available online?

If you are the copyright holder and have given us permission to digitize your materials and make them fully available online, then we will make some or all of it available online (depending on extent and format). The digitization process can be slow and depend on our existing backlog. Providing a monetary donation with your material donation will help the archives hire extra staff to digitize your materials more quickly.

Can the archives make reproductions of my materials for me to keep?

Yes, if you wish, we will make reproductions of any part of your donated material for you. However, digitization is a time-consuming and expensive process, so depending on your exact request further discussion may be required at the time of your donation.

What about my copyright?

Copyright is an essential consideration for archives when making archival material publicly available online. When the archives digitizes an archival record (a photograph, a report, an oral history, etc.) and uploads it online, the archives makes it publicly available--conceivably "publishing" it. In order to have the right to do that, the archives needs to either 1) hold copyright for the archival record, 2) have a license to distribute it, or 3) determine that the copyright for the item is expired (public domain).

You have several options regarding copyright when you donate to us:

  • GRANT COPYRIGHT - You can transfer any copyright you control in the donated materials by assigning it to the University of Northern British Columbia. This option is our preferred choice for simplicity and accessibility.
  • GRANT DISTRIBUTION LICENSE - You can retain your copyright, but give licence to the University of Northern British Columbia to make digital copies of the material publicly available online. You can place limitations on your copyright conveyance if required. This option is most likely to appeal to donors who wish to make a profit from their copyright in the future.
  • GRANT NO RIGHTS - You can choose not to transfer or grant license to the copyright for the material you donate to us. This limits how we are able to use the donated material; in some cases, it will impact our decision to accept your donation. At minimum, we do require permission to make copies of the material for research and private study. If you opt for this choice, we can only digitize for preservation or access purposes. We cannot make reproductions publicly available online.

As part of the donation process, Northern BC Archives will request you complete our Copyright Form. We've created a flowchart (provided at left) to help you with decision-making regarding copyright for your archival donation. If you have any copyright questions regarding your donation, please contact us. If you have copyright concerns, we recommend contacting a lawyer.

Can I get a tax receipt?

Some donations to the Northern BC Archives & Special Collections may be eligible for a charitable tax receipt from UNBC. If an income tax receipt is requested, this should be indicated at the beginning of the donation process. Only items retained by the Archives will be evaluated for eligibility.

An official valuation of the property is required in order for donations to be eligible for a charitable tax receipt. Canada Revenue Agency requires external appraisals from a qualified appraiser for items or collections deemed to be worth more than $1000.

Where there is a cost for this valuation, the donor may be required to assume responsibility for this expense. For more information, see the Monetary Appraisal section of the Archives & Special Collections Development Guidelines document.

Do you accept monetary donations?

Yes, monetary donations enable the Northern BC Archives & Special Collections ability to broaden and enhance access to its unique holdings and continue to build a robust collection for teaching and research purposes. These donations may be directed towards the processing of specific back-logged collections, utilized to create on-line digital access to unique materials that otherwise would only be accessible for on-site researchers, or directed towards the purchase of rare materials, such as Northern BC rare print publications available for purchase from antiquarian dealers. For more information on projects initiated through monetary donations, see News section on the Archives homepage.


Archival Donations

Phone: 250-960-6603

Library Donations

Phone: 250-960-6468

Monetary Donations

Phone: 250-960-5750

Donor Recognition

The Office of University Advancement is responsible for receipting of donations and for donor recognition