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MIT SORT - Student Organization Records Toolkit: What to SORT?

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.

Evaluating Your Records

When evaluating your organization's records, it is important to consider the following questions:

  • Does this record impact the understanding of your organization, its work, and its role within the MIT community?

  • Would this record be of interest to future organization members, students or researchers? 

  • Does this record relate to other documents your organization knows it will maintain? 

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then it should be considered for retention. As you are reviewing your organization's records, remember: When in doubt, don't throw it out! Keep the record and contact the Institute Archivist for guidance on identifying records that should be retained for historical or organizational value. 

Records of Value

These are types of records and materials that your student organization might create which would be great to preserve. 

  • certificates of recognition
  • publications produced by the student organization
  • promotional materials
  • photographs of the group, members, meetings, and events
  • membership lists/rosters
  • sound recordings or videos of group events
  • summary financial data, such as final budget statements or annual financial reports
  • newsletters
  • scrapbooks (physical or online)
  • event planning files
  • charters and by-laws
  • resolution files
  • mission statements
  • founding documents
  • histories and historical sketches 
  • meeting minutes and minute books
  • meeting or activity agendas
  • correspondence and 

Digital Records

The Institute Archives is interested in acquiring not only your organization’s paper records but also your organization’s digital records. These records might include email, listserv archives, spreadsheets, databases, PDFs, Word processing files. Records may also include publicly available web presences such as websites, photographs, sound recordings, and video. (NOTE: The Institute Archives can collect password-protected sites if provided the password.)

Websites and Social Media

The Institute Archives collects materials related to the activities of MIT, and to that end, we selectively add web and social media content to our collections that will appear in the general records schedule and that fit into collecting policies. Social media may include services such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The following general principles guide our collecting decisions.

  • Following the retention outlined in the general records schedule, and using Archive-It, web and social media will be added related to groups and individuals whose records we collect in the Institute Archives. This is done in consultation with the donor/transferring office to determine the scope of the social media collection.  
  • We will occasionally collect materials not through an account but through shared hashtags, in order to preserve conversations on topics of importance to university history.
  • We collect social media in compliance with the terms of service of the individual platforms.
  • We respect the privacy of individuals who have contributed to social media accounts or used hashtags but did not expect their contributions to be collected and shared by an archival repository. To that end, we will make attempts to anonymize contributors or restrict access to collections where we believe privacy may be a concern of contributors.
  • Individuals who have concerns about the collection of social media or websites for the Institute Archives at distinctive-collections@mit.edu