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OSU Disability Archives: Disability History in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center: Contribute to the DisArchives

The OSU DisArchives serve as a resource to share the stories of disabled people with connections to the OSU and Corvallis communities.

Adding Materials to the DisArchives

  • Are you or have you been a member or leader of a disability-related organization in Corvallis?
  • Are you or do you know disabled OSU students, faculty, staff, or alumni interested in sharing their stories?
  • Do you have materials created by disability-related organizations at OSU or in Corvallis? 
  • Do you have ideas for how the archives can document OSU and Corvallis disability histories?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, please contact us! We are actively seeking materials to add to the OSU Disability Archives collection and we would love to hear from you!

There are three primary ways that you can contribute to the DisArchives:

Three simple icons, one of a stack of papers, one of two people talking with speech bubbles over them, and one of a paper with a pencil sitting on it. Below each image is text reading Donating Materials, Participating in Oral Histories and Story Circles, and Giving Feedback.


Contributing Historical Materials

The Special Collections and Archival Research Center (SCARC) is interested in working with students and local community members to gather materials related to disability histories in Corvallis and OSU. For example, SCARC looks for items that document: 

  • The history and development of disability-related groups and organizations in Corvallis and at OSU, including their missions and policies;
  • Disabled community organizing and activism in Corvallis and at OSU;
  • Significant disability-related programs, activities, and events in Corvallis and at OSU;
  • Student and community activism relating to disability issues both on and off campus.

Here is more information about contributing materials to SCARC.

What Kinds of Records Would Qualify for the DisArchives?

Examples of Archival Records

  • Constitutions and bylaws 
  • Member handbooks and policy statements 
  • Meeting minutes and supporting documentation 
  • Reports or key financial documentation 
  • Organizational histories, reference files, or research materials for your group 
  • Websites, blogs, and other social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr) 
  • Newsletters, fliers, brochures, posters, press releases, and other publications 
  • Photographs, scrapbooks, clippings, audio recordings, and video 
  • Correspondence that documents programs, activities, and events 

Examples of non-Archival Records

  • Active records you refer to regularly to conduct your business 
    ​(These should be kept u
    ntil they are no longer active and you are ready to transfer them to us!)
  • Duplicate copies of publications published by your organization 
    (We’ll keep two copies at most)
  • University-wide memos or announcements, unless they relate directly to the group or events in which the groups participated or organized 
  • Artifacts like trophies or award plaques 
  • Routine correspondence like requests and acknowledgments 
  • Routine financial documents like receipts, purchase orders, and canceled checks 
  • Blank forms, letterhead, or other stationery 

Oral Histories and Story Circles

Community members can also contribute to the DisArchives by participating in and/or facilitating oral history interviews and story circles.

Oral history is a way of collecting, preserving, and sharing the stories of individuals and communities. Oral history collection often takes the form of semi-structured, one-on-one interviews. The Oral History Association describes oral history as "an embodied practice: as memory transmitted from one body to another." 

Story circles are a form of collective storytelling in which a group of people gathers to share stories about a particular theme or topic. For instance, a story circle for the DisArchives might focus on sharing stories about disabled identities or activism.

Please see our guide on Oral History Interviewing Methods & Project Management for more detailed information.



Preserving Disability History

  • Document the activities of your disability-related group or organization. This might mean keeping minutes of meetings, saving copies of publications and flyers, and organizing your photographs.
  • Develop a straightforward filing system that works for you. Have a strategy for organizing paper and electronic records. It can be as simple as starting putting things in file folders. 
  • Label your materials/folders with full names, dates, and descriptions of events or circumstances. 
  • Use good naming conventions for electronic records; avoid "IMAGE0001.JPG"
  • Keep records together in one central place. Back-up your files and talk about off-site server storage (such as a cloud service).
  • Keep records safe. Store them away from moisture, dust, excessive heat, and sun.
  • Remember your non-paper documents. Electronic records can pose software and hardware access problems. Save compact discs, memorabilia, photographs, posters, and tapes, as well as traditional paper documents. Contact Natalia for help and advice with maintaining and transferring electronic files.
  • WHEN IN DOUBT, DON'T THROW IT OUT! Natalia can help you decide what to keep and what to toss, so ask for guidance.