Transferring Digital Materials

Many student groups are maintaining documentation solely in a digital format—from meeting minutes kept in a central Google Drive to photos, videos, and more shared on social media. This documentation can be included as part of your group’s archived records. Here’s some background information on how we collect this digital material.

A few introductory things to know about archiving digital materials:

  • Access to these materials is mediated by University Archives staff, as with paper-based/physical documentation. Researchers wishing to look at these digital materials would visit the Rubenstein Library reading room and access them on a secure computer workstation or they would ask us to provide copies for their research use only. The materials would not be made freely available online.
  • Researchers accessing the digital materials in our reading room would not be able to alter the materials in any way or delete them.

Archiving Documents, Spreadsheets, Images, & Other Digital Files

The University Archives frequently uses Google Drive or removable storage media (like a thumb drive or external hard drive) to receive digital material from student groups. We’re happy to talk about other options, based on your group’s documentation-keeping practices.

Google Drive

The University Archives has an account on Google Drive to collect the electronic records and other digital files created by student groups.

  • Uploading the documentation you want to archive directly to the University Archives’ Google Drive means that you won’t have to print anything out or make a plan to deliver your digital files to us on a thumb drive or CD.
  • Using Google Drive will allow multiple members of your student organization to bring files that may be spread out on multiple computers together without passing a thumb drive or hard drive around.

The Process:

    1. If you have digital files to archive, University Archives staff will talk with you about the types of documentation to be transferred to us (e.g., meeting minutes, constitution/bylaws, budget documents, etc.).
    2. University Archives staff will create a folder for you on our Google Drive and invite your designated group members to access it. (The folder will include help documentation, and we’ll be available to help with any questions.)
    3. Group members will then be able to deposit digital files in the appropriate folders. You’ll notify us when all of the files have been uploaded to the Google Drive folder and we’ll officially accession the files into your group’s collection.

Email

We can collect your group’s email—without you needing to print anything out!

Transferring email is dependent on the email platform you and your organization use, so we’ll need to talk through the process with you as part of our larger discussion about archiving your group’s records. But there’s one key thing you can do to ensure your email is ready to transfer!

The Process:

  1. Create a folder (if using a client like Outlook or Apple Mail), or a tag (if using Gmail) to gather together the messages your group wants to transfer to the University Archives.
  2. Talk with University Archives staff about your group’s email set-up, so that we can work with you on a transfer strategy.

Removable Media

Certain digital formats, like uncompressed audio or video files, may be too large for Google Drive. Or you may have files from previous years that have been passed from group leader to group leader on USB thumb drives, external hard drives, CDs, DVDs, or even old floppy diskettes.

In these cases, the University Archives can collect these removable storage media and extract the files for your group’s collection.

The Process:

  1. Let University Archives staff know if you have removable storage media that contains files you’d like to archive. If you can, tell us the total size of the files you’ll be archiving, so that we can make sure we have storage space for them.
  2. You’ll make an appointment with a University Archives staff member to drop off your device at the Rubenstein Library’s reading room.
  3. Once we’ve archived the files on the removable media, we can return the device to you.

Archiving Web or Social Media Content

Static Web Content


The University Archives uses a service called Archive-It to capture most web-based materials. This can include a group website, a blog or Tumblr site, and some Facebook content. Visit our Web Archive Collection to see examples of this archived web content.

The Process:

    1. As part of the discussions about archiving your group’s materials, let us know if there are websites, blogs, or other web content that you’d like us to capture. We’ll ask you to provide us with the URLs for each site.
    2. We’ll talk with you about how frequently we should crawl your site(s). We might crawl infrequently-updated sites once or twice a year; frequently-updated sites, like blogs or Tumblr, might need to be crawled more often.
    3. Archive-It will then crawl and archive your site(s) based on this schedule, with no additional work needed from you!

Once we capture your website(s), we make the archived version available in two places. We will link to it from the collection guide or catalog record for your organization’s records. A link to your archived site(s) will also be added to our collection guide for our Web Archive Collection.

Social Media


With social media, our interest is in archiving only your group’s dedicated social media accounts. We aren’t able to capture individual user accounts that might include content relevant to your organization. (For instance, if a group member uses a personal Twitter account to promote the group, we are unlikely to capture it, as we may inadvertently capture personal content.)

  • Twitter: We can capture your organization’s dedicated account.
  • Instagram: We cannot capture entire accounts, but we can capture keyword or hashtag searches. If your organization is interested in including Instagram photos in its archives, we’ll talk with you to develop an appropriate strategy.
  • Facebook: Facebook can be tricky, as it can contain both public and private/directed content. If your organization wants to archive Facebook content, we’ll talk with you to develop an appropriate strategy.
  • Tumblr: We can capture your organization’s dedicated Tumblr using Archive-It. See the “Static Web Content” section above for more about this process.
  • Snapchat: We aren’t able to capture Snapchat at this time.

We’ll include updates here as our methods for capturing social media change.

The Process:

  1. As part of the discussions about archiving your group’s materials, let us know if your group has dedicated social media accounts that you’d like us to capture.
  2. That’s it! We’ll periodically capture material from these accounts, with no additional work needed from you.

Your Organizations Live On at the University Archives