Using the Archives

Archives are collected and organized based on the concept of a 'record,' which can be a document, photograph, map, film, video or sound recording, an electronic diskette, documentary art or an architectural drawing. Collecting records differentiates an archives from a library, which collects published items, like books, or a museum, which collects artefacts like clothing, medals, statues or other objects. 

Archival holdings are arranged according to principles of provenance, original order and respect des fonds, which seek to preserve the context in which records were made or received by their creator over time. They are not organized by subject contents but rather by the person or organization that accumulated them. Finding Aids and Research Guides can aid users in navigating the themes and subjects contained in the archival collections. 

Photo identification must be presented and registration is required prior to accessing materials in the archives, museum and Holocaust testimony collections. No food, drink, pens or indelible pencils are permitted when accessing collections materials. Researchers may be required to wear non-latex or cotton gloves when handling artefacts or fragile documents. Paper and pencils are available on site. Researchers wishing to use digital cameras (or camera equipped mobile phones) are asked to consult the collections staff on duty prior to use. Digital copies of materials may be available. Staff will be available to answer research questions and to help users navigate the cross-collection database.

Users wishing to publish or license content from the archives must evaluate the intellectual rights (e.g. copyright) attached to the materials. Users must cite the VHEC as a source with an appropriate credit line and, if a particular item is copyrighted, must clear permission with the rights holder and comply with all other terms or restrictions that may apply to the material. Permission to examine physical records, born-digital materials, printed copies or digitized items is not an authorization to publish. If the content in question is under copyright, permission to publish should be sought from the owners of the rights, typically the creator or heir to the creator's estate.

Contact the archivist by phoning 604-264-0499 or by emailing at should information about archival holdings not be available on this website, or if you are the copyright owner and believe your work has not been properly attributed. 

Learn more about using archives in the classroom here: Archives in the Classroom.

Find more information about Planning a Research Visit and the Use and Licensing of materials in the collection. 

Archival sources should be cited whether they are quoted directly, paraphrased or used as an illustration. The following is a recommended citation for archival items in the VHEC's collections. This should be consulted in concert with whichever style manual being is being used (e.g. APA, MLA, Chicago/Turbian). See the basic template below for guidance: 

Title of item, date. [Copyright information, if known.] Name of fonds or collection, Item number (Identifier). Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. url/permalink. Reproduced with permission.

Example: [Gottfried family portrait], [193-]. Gottfried family collection, Item RA001-05-00-01-0002. Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. Reproduced with permission.

Example: Dummy on a torture rack, April 1945. Photograph by Tom Perry Sr. Tom Perry collection, item 93.08.0101. Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. Reproduced with permission.