An archive, or archives, is a place where historic records are kept. Often these archives are buildings or places in buildings, like the Archives of the different Provinces and the National Library and the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa. This site is, in effect, a virtual archive, containing the documents that we believe bear directly on the key question of “who discovered Klondike gold?” as well as some related issues, such as the history of gold rushes and the relations between Canadians and Americans in the north. The documents, including images, all appear in two locations on the website, organized by theme in the various sections that are listed on the left-hand side of the page, and organized by document type here in the archives.

As complex as it may seem, this site is a very simple archive. In order to research the past, and in order to create this archives which allows you to do so, researchers must search through masses of documents in physical archival buildings in order to locate, select and transcribe documents that seem relevant before they can begin the process you are engaged in.

This virtual archive is organized by the type of source. This is similar to the standard form of archival organization, where records are grouped by “provenance,” i.e., by their original location (for example, by government department, by particular individual or family, or by company) and in the order in which they were originally created and organized. The citations will tell you in which archives, newspaper or report the original may be found, and the “About this source” files linked to each document will give more details on why and how historians use these sources.

References to secondary sources and websites can be found through the "Beyond this Site" link in the "Context" section.