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Introduction to Archival Research: Archival Research at MIT

Where can I find archival resources at MIT?

MIT Libraries Department of Distinctive Collections

DDC includes the Aga Khan Documentation Center, archival and manuscript collections that document the history of the Institute and people involved with it, as well as visual collections, rare books, and a teaching collection.
MIT ArchivesSpace
ArchivesSpace holds the descriptions of materials in the Department of Distinctive Collections, particularly archival and manuscript collections in various formats.
Dome is an online repository for a variety of digitized materials from the Department of Distinctive Collections.
DSpace is the digital place to go for research at MIT — including articles, technical reports, MIT Theses, and more.

How to Search a Topic

There is more than one way to go about finding materials on your research topic in MIT's collections.

Think broadly — searching for the name of a person or department is a good start, but expanding your scope will get you more results.

Say you're looking for the history of a particular department. You could search for:

  • Records of that department
  • People who worked in that department
  • Deans of that department
  • Other Departments, Labs, and Centers (DLCs) that the department worked with
  • Projects and research from that department
  • Students and alumni from that department


Visit Us!

Our reading room is generally open:

Monday 10 AM PM
Tuesday 10 AM PM
Wednesday 10 AM PM
Thursday 10 AM PM

Occasionally the reading room is closed for Institute holidays, or for classes and events held in the reading room. See MIT Libraries Hours for changes and exceptions to these hours.

The reading room is located in building 14N, room 118 at 160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge. See our Reading Room Policies for more information about what to expect during your visit.

Please see Requesting Materials for information about our current service availability, as well as how to use the Distinctive Collections Request System to request materials for reading room use and to order copies.

Our Collection Descriptions at MIT

Please note that most of our collections do not include item-level descriptions in ArchivesSpace. This means that there will often be a title of a file or item as a part of its folder or box, but there will rarely be additional information about the specific item in the finding aid.

Archival Research on Students, Faculty, and Staff

If you are researching former students, alumni, faculty, or staff at MIT, see the MIT People LibGuide for sources of interest and commonly-consulted collections.