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MIT SORT - Student Organization Records Toolkit: Student Organization Legacy

The MIT Student Organization Records Toolkit, or MITSORT, is designed to assist student organizations in developing their recordkeeping practices to preserve their group’s history.

Legacy of MIT Student Organizations

Students are the fabric of the MIT community, but while Institute Archives has extensive records of administrative and academic departments, student organizations are underrepresented. To ensure that the history of student life, as seen through the eyes of students and not administrators, faculty, or staff, is sufficiently documented, student organizations are encouraged to donate their inactive records to the Institute Archives. These records are essential to fully documenting and understanding the history of MIT because they tell a story of the Institute that is missing from the official records.

The collections of the Institute Archives detail the activities of MIT and the members of its community, and is a part of the broader Distinctive Collections department that collects, preserves, and fosters the use of unique and rare materials such as tangible and digital archives, manuscripts, ephemera, artists’ books, and more. 

The records of the many student and community organizations make up a growing and important portion of the Institute Archives collections. The organizations include fraternities and sororities, ethnic and cultural associations, and clubs whose members share common interests or hobbies.

Access

No matter where the records are stored, they should be kept together and arranged in a way that works best for your group. It is important to label all files with the full name and date of the topic documented within so that members in the future will know what is in them. For photographs and scrapbooks, good practice includes identifying as many of the people depicted as possible.

It is also beneficial to create an inventory of the records your organization maintains so that you can quickly identify and locate records of interest. And, should your group ever wish to donate its records to the Institute Archives, an inventory will provide a good outline of the collection and means that we can include it in our on-line discovery system.