The Waterloo Digital Library (WDL) is an online repository used for sharing select items from the special and archival collections held by the University of Waterloo Library (Library). Items available on the site have been shared to improve access for reference and research purposes to on- and off-site researchers.

Site details

The WDL runs on Islandora and is maintained by members of the Library’s Digital Initiatives (DI) and Special Collections & Archives (SCA) departments.

Inspiration for the collection carousel on the WDL home page was drawn from the Cambridge Digital Library, and the collage-based carousel banners were designed by Alice Zhao and Katie Turriff, former University of Waterloo co-operative education students.

The WDL team is indebted to members of the Islandora community for their advice and willingness to share their experience. Questions or comments regarding the site are very much welcome.


Digital surrogates have been created using Epson Expression 11000XL, Epson Perfection V850 PRO and Epson Perfection V750 PRO scanners running and SilverFast or Epson Scan software. The bulk of the digitization work has been completed by SCA staff and student interns without whom the WDL would not be possible and we thank them for their scanning service.


The Library does not hold copyright for all of its special and archival collections, but has made every effort to accurately reflect the relevant copyright and usage permissions for material shared on the WDL. Each item has been assigned a Creative Commons (CC) license to facilitate (re)use of the material and it is your responsibility to respect the assigned license. Unless otherwise noted, the commercial use of material not currently in the Public Domain is prohibited. Permission to use material in a manner not identified by the applied CC license must be obtained by the copyright holder.

We thank you for using the preferred citations that have been included with each item. Crediting material, even when in the public domain, allows others to locate the institution where the original item is held and can motivate other academic or cultural organizations with unique holdings to make them available online.

Please contact us with any questions regarding the use or citation of material in the WDL.


The Library is committed to providing everyone with information and services in a manner that reflects their need and aligns with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Information about accessibility services offered by the Library is available on the Library Accessibility Services website.

AODA implications for special collections and archival materials

Special and archival collections present a unique set of accessibility challenges because of their condition, format and extent. This type of material has been granted an exemption within Section 18 of the Guide to the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation: Part 2 - Information and Communications. Despite the exemption, the accessibility of WDL material by researchers of all abilities is a priority and proactive efforts by the Library are being made to address these challenges. They include the generation of full-text transcriptions and enhanced metadata for photographic materials. This work represents an on-going effort to improve and develop more accessible content as technological and administrative resources become available.

Please contact us for assistance with obtaining alternative formats.

Takedown requests

The Library takes ownership, intellectual property rights and personal privacy seriously. All material available on the WDL has been shared for research purposes only and has been assigned permissions that reflect known usage restrictions.

You are invited to contact us if you believe that any of the material shared on the WDL represents an infringement of copyright, privacy or other legal right. Please include a link to the material in question, along with information about the nature and reason for your request.

Language of its time

Material made available on the WDL is historical in nature and contains language or depictions of people representative of its time. This includes wording, cultural references and stereotypes that are no longer used or appropriate today. Historical language has been maintained in its original form, in keeping with archival practice, to preserve the context in which the associated records were created. This approach, while potentially upsetting, allows for the critical assessment and questioning of historical material by contemporary researchers.

The views expressed in the material shared on the WDL should be taken as a product of the era in which it was produced and in no way reflects the current opinion, goals or ethics of the Library or the University of Waterloo as a whole.

Other digitized resources

A variety of publications and photos related to the University of Waterloo have been digitized and made available online in platforms other than the WDL. They include: