Why donate student organization records?
Students are an important part of Hopkins, but while University 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 should donate their inactive records to University Archives. These records are essential to fully documenting and understanding the history of Johns Hopkins because they tell a story of the university that is missing from the official records.
University Archives will preserve these records and make them accessible to future generations. Physical material (papers, photo prints, etc.) will be housed in acid-free folders and boxes and stored in proper environmental conditions. Digital records will be transferred to and preserved on secure Library servers. Once the records are donated, they become the property of University Archives and can be viewed in the Special Collections reading room, located in the Brody Learning Commons. Copies of materials will also be made available to patrons by request. We are happy to provide reference services, including copying of materials, for current members of student organizations who need to refer to records that their organization has transferred to University Archives.
Tips for preserving student organization history
Document the activities of your group: Keep minutes of meetings and membership rosters; save copies of publications, fliers, and other promotional material; take photographs of members, meetings, and events. Don’t rely on third-party applications like Facebook group pages to store your photographs and membership information.
- Label your materials with full names, dates, and descriptions of events or circumstances.
- Keep your records together in one central place. Assign a member to be secretary every year and have them pass information to a successor annually.
- Develop a straightforward filing system that works for your organization. There’s no one best way to do this.
- Store your physical records away from dampness, dust, excessive heat, and sun.
- Develop a routine of transferring inactive records to University Archives at the end of the semester, year, or your leader’s term of office.
- Consider the fate of your non-paper documents. Digital records can pose software and hardware access problems. Save CDs/DVDs, memorabilia, photographs, posters, sound recordings, and videos, as well as traditional paper documents. Contact University Archives if you have materials on websites or social media pages that we can export and preserve.
- Get to know the staff of University Archives and learn more about our activities and collections.
- When in doubt, don’tthrow it out! Contact University Archives to arrange a donation or learn more about how to preserve your organization’s records.