Frequently Asked Questions

What does “archiving” a student organization’s records mean?

The Duke University Archives collects “inactive” organizational records — that is, documents and other materials that you consult once a year or less.

By archiving your group’s inactive records at the Duke University Archives, you’ll ensure that future group members have a place to turn when they:

  • have questions about group projects and events
  • want to reach out to group alumni for reunions or fundraising
  • find historical facts or photos to promote the group

What types of materials can I transfer to the Duke University Archives?

The following types of materials — either paper-based or digital — are appropriate for transfer. (Click the links to see examples of each type of documentation.)

And these types of materials are OK to keep in your office or discard:

  • Routine financial documents, like receipts for small purchases
  • Completed membership applications (we want to keep personal student information private!)
  • Artifacts like trophies or award plaques
  • Duplicate copies of publications published by your organization (we’ll keep two copies at most!)

Check with us if you have other documentation that doesn’t match these types. We’ll help you decide whether it belongs at the University Archives.

Can I see some examples of student organization records collections?

Sure! The links below will take you to the online inventories, called collection guides, for several student organization records collections. We’ve tried to choose a representative sample so that you can see the different types of documentation that student groups send to us.

What happens after my organization’s records are archived?

  • We’ll arrange your materials in archival boxes, describe them in a collection guide (see an example), and store them safely in an environment designed to preserve them for a long time.
  • When you need to consult your records, the University Archives staff can help you arrange a research visit to the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s reading room. Your records may be stored off-site at the Library Service Center, so we’ll need two days’ advance notice to prepare for your visit.
  • You’ll have a group of helpful archivists ready to help you with your group history questions. We’ll be available to work with your group to discover your history — what your predecessors were working on 5, 10 or even 50 years ago — both now and once you’ve left Duke. For instance:
      • We can help you find documentation about your group in the records of Duke administrative officers, departments and campus publications.
      • We can help you learn about what student life at Duke was like when your organization formed or celebrated important milestones.
      • We can help you find historical pictures of your group, which might be useful for flyers, videos, and social media content.
      • We may be able to help you locate the names of past group members, who might be sources for advice, funding . . . and maybe even more historical materials for the University Archives!

Your Organizations Live On at the University Archives