Skip to Main Content

Share Your Student Organization Records with Duke University Archives


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.

  • Governance records: By-laws, constitutions, charters, annual reports, mission statements, policies and procedures
  • Correspondence: incoming and outgoing communications, letters, emails
  • Administrative files: meeting agendas and minutes, handbooks, rosters, membership lists, registers
  • Publications: newsletters, journals, announcements, petitions
  • Promotional materials: flyers, brochures, posters, event programs, invitations
  • Photographs: digital images, prints, and negatives of events and activities, scrapbooks, photo albums
  • Audiovisual materials: recordings of activities, events, and meetings
  • Online content: we can archive your group's website, blog, or other online content

Are there any types of documents you do not want us to transfer?

Yes, please do not transfer:

  • Routine financial documents, like receipts for small purchases, bank statements, etc.
  • 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 will keep two copies at most)
  • Anything that would be deemed confidential or restricted (student grades, papers, bank accounts, etc.)

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

What if I have loose documentation in hanging file folders or binders? 

We can give you acid-free tabbed file folders for organizing your documents before you pack them.

Do you want framed photos, charters, certificates, etc?

Please remove these items from the frame (unless removing would cause damage to the items) before sending them to the archive. Keep the frames and use them for a cool art project!

I have really large items, like posters and banners - how do I get them to you safely?

Please try to roll these items rather than fold them. Or let us know the approximate size of the item and we can provide you with oversized boxes.

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 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 your group's collection.

I'm ready to donate my group's records. Now what?

That's great! Begin by completing this short online form so we can learn more about what types of materials you wish to donate.

What if I'm not ready to donate our materials?

That's okay! Perhaps you're not ready to donate your materials to University Archives or you want to maintain your own archive. We are here to assist you in how to best store and care for your organization's records while they are in your care.

Services you can request:

  • Workshop on how to properly store paper-based and electronic records
  • Information on how to organize your electronic records including file naming conventions, folder nesting, etc.
  • Acid-free boxes and folders

I still have questions!

No problem, we are here to answer them! Reach out to us and the Assistant University Archivist for Student Engagement will answer any remaining questions you have.