Tips for organization archiving and maintaining institutional memory
These are all tips and strategies recommended by recent student leaders as great ways to maintain institutional memory for your organization:
- Create event summaries and budgets. Most student organizations hold similar events each year, so write down exactly how you did the event, what worked well (and what didn’t), and include a timeline and checklist of tasks. Creating an accurate budget for the event will also help in the future when applying for funding sources. Be sure to also include what funding sources you applied to, their contact information and how much was granted from each source.
- Maintain a group constitution. A constitution outlines your group's mission as well as elections procedures and other important information. Check out this Sample Student Organization Constitution.doc, provided by the Student Group Recognition Committee.
- Write officer job descriptions. Have each officer be responsible for writing down exactly what that position does and generally how much work is required. This will help new officers get oriented quickly and will also help out during election time when people are deciding what they might like to do.
- Keep a master organization binder to pass down. This binder could have officer job descriptions, important contacts, information on how to maintain your website, event summaries, budgets and more. Try to make the binder as up to date as possible when you pass it along to the next set of officers.
- Maintain your website. Most new and potential members start with your website, so be sure to keep it current. The website is also a great place to post important documents, such as the group constitution or charter, club history and meeting minutes.
- Use your H Drive. Each student organization has 1G of storage space on the Princeton server with the H Drive, which can be accessed on any computer in the Princeton network. Use the H Drive to save electronic versions of the documents you keep in the master binder, plus any photos, videos or music that your group may utilize.
- Use Blackboard. Blackboard is not just a tool for the classroom! Groups can register for space on Blackboard with OIT and use it in all the ways you might for precept – posting and collaborating on documents, hosting discussions and creating calendars.
- New! Sharepoint is a new online collaboration tool developed by Microsoft. ODUS can host Sharepoint sites for student organizations.
- Google. Google Calendars, GoogleDocs and Google Groups are another excellent way to collaborate and maintain electronic archives, as they accessible from any computer with internet. One note of caution with Google: while other University resources such as the H Drive and Blackboard are backed up and can be re-accessed in the event of a lost password or server outage, you risk losing your archives if for some reason the Google information isn’t passed along to new officers.
- Photo archives and other materials. A photo is worth a thousand words, so be sure to photograph your events and take a club photo if you can! If your group produces other materials, such as programs, publications or videos of any kind, be sure to save archive copies of those, and submit an archive copy to the Mudd Archive Library (see below for more information on Mudd and how to transfer records).
- Catalogue past events and brainstorm for the future. A group can learn from its own successes and failures, so try to maintain a catalogue of past events and brainstorm future events and goals to pass along for future group members.
- Personally pass the baton. While paper and electronic archives can be extremely helpful, often it is the personal archive that is the most effective. When transitioning to new officers, make sure that the new and old officers meet and discuss officer responsibilities and the goals of the organization.
Archiving at Mudd Library
Records commonly transferred to the Mudd Archives from student organizations include:
- Constitutions, charters, and by-laws
- Annual reports
- Minutes and reports of meetings and committees
- Membership lists
- Organizational histories
- Publications and publicity material: newsletters, brochures, event programs and booklets
- Officers' files: correspondence and memoranda (incoming and outgoing) and subject files concerning projects, activities, and functions
- Photographs, audio and video recordings
For more information on how to get your records to Mudd, read the Mudd Transfer Guidelines.doc.
For more tips on archiving, read Mudd's Tips for Preserving your Student Organization's history.doc.
Please contact the University Archives staff below with any questions or to transfer records:
Assistant University Archivist