Skip to main content

Archiving OSU's student groups

Best practices guide for student organizations

Why save your stories?

By archiving your group's records, you'll ensure that future group members have a resource when they have questions about past events, want to reach out to group alumni for reunions or fundraising, or need historical pictures. 

We can also work with your group now to uncover your history. Want to know about what student life at OSU was like when your organization formed or celebrated important milestones? We have that. Want to find documentation about your group in the records of OSU administrative officers, departments, and campus publications? We probably have that too. 

Archiving the records of your work is also good for future researchers who want to know more about student groups and student life on campus.

What's in an archive?

In the course of daily life, individuals and organizations create and keep information about their personal and professional activities. Archives are places where records of all types and formats are kept and made accessible for research and other purposes. They house the historical records, the stories, the firsthand information about the past. Those records get you as close as you can be to the actual event or experience!

In general, archives consist of records that have been selected for permanent or long-term preservation on grounds of their enduring cultural, historical, or evidentiary value. Archival records are normally unpublished and almost always unique, unlike books or magazines for which many identical copies exist. This means that archives (the places) are quite distinct from libraries with regard to their functions and organization, although archival collections can often be found within library buildings. (from "Archive," from Wikipedia)

Archives in universities exist to preserve and celebrate the history of their school and academic community. In an academic archive you'll find things like the administrative records of the institution, papers of former professors or presidents, memorabilia related to school organizations and activities, yearbooks and scrapbooks kept by students, and items the academic library wants to keep in a closed-stack setting, such as rare books or copies of a thesis (from "Archive," from Wikipedia). 

  • Remember that archival materials aren't just the dusty boxes in your closets... They can be paper-based or electronic, new or old, pictures or text! 
  • Remember that an archive may be a part of a library, but that archives and libraries are very different places... You can read more on the Society of American Archivist's page What Are Archives and How Do They Differ from Libraries?