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Using MIT ArchivesSpace: Requesting materials

A Web interface for MIT ArchivesSpace, the archives collections management system used by the Libraries' Distinctive Collections and the Aga Khan Documentation Center.

Submitting a request

Users can submit requests for material described in MIT ArchivesSpace directly through the MIT ArchivesSpace site. Navigate to the material you wish to request and click on the Request button in the upper right corner



A new tab will open, prompting you to sign in to the Distinctive Collections Request System or register for an account if you are a first-time user. More information on submitting and tracking your requests can be found on the Distinctive Collections website.

Distinctive Collections Request System login page

Place your request for the specific folder or item you wish to view on-site or have copied (see “Viewing a folder or item record” in the Navigating MIT ArchivesSpace section).

If you see the Select item to request message instead of the request button, navigate further down in the finding aid to the specific folder or item that you wish you request. Requests cannot be placed for entire collections or series. Contact Distinctive Collections if you need assistance with narrowing down your request.

How far in advance should I make a request?

In most cases, our collections are stored off-site and require advance notice for retrieval; please plan to request materials at least 4 business days in advance of your visit. 

If you see the text below displayed in MIT ArchivesSpace and are planning an on-site visit, please submit your request through the Distinctive Collections Research System at least 10 business days prior to your arrival to allow time for the material to be reviewed. You will be notified via email if your requested material is restricted.

Access note: This collection must be reviewed to identify any restricted material before access can be granted. Please submit your requests at least ten business days before your desired visit to allow time for this review. An archivist will respond within five business days to let you know whether your requested material is open. For complete information on this policy, see our Statement on Accessing Institute Records.

Questions? Comments?

Please contact Ask Distinctive Collections! for help finding collection material and to make appointments to access material.

To suggest corrections or report errors, email us at

We respond to questions Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.