Once you have identified the records your organization/club wants to keep, the next step is to determine how to maintain them to ensure that they will be accessible in the future. To best preserve your records follow these ten tips:
- Document the activities of your group: Keep minutes of meetings and membership rosters; save copies of publications, filers, and other promotional materials; take photographs of members, meetings, and events. Don't rely on third-party applications like Facebook group pages to store your photographs and membership information.
- Label your materials with full names, dates, and descriptions of events or circumstances.
- Keep your records together in one central place. Assign a member to be secretary every year and have them pass information to a successor annually.
- Develop a straightforward filing system that works for your organization. There's no one best way to do this.
- Store your records away from dampness, dust, excessive heat, and sun. It can damage your records over-time.
- Avoid using metal paper clips and rubber bands. If you have documents that need to be kept together, use plastic paper clips.
- Develop a routine of transferring inactive records to the College Archive at the end of the semester, year, or your leader's term of office.
- Consider the fate of your non-paper documents. Digital records can pose software and hardware access problems. Save CDs/DVDs, memorabilia, photographs, posters, sound recordings, and video, as well as traditional paper documents. Contact the College Archivist if you have materials on websites or social media pages that we can capture, export, and preserve.
- Get to know the College Archivist and learn more about the College Archive's activities and collections.
- When in doubt, don't throw it out! Contact the College Archivist to arrange a donation or learn more about how to preserve your organization/club's records.
Electronic records, like your photographs and emails, have become a large component of organizations/clubs' files. Much like their paper counterparts, there are steps that you can take to preserve these records and make them accessible to future members.
- DO NOT store electronic records in your College email account. These will be deactivated once you leave Haverford and the records will disappear. Instead, you can maintain an email account specifically to your organization/club or position within teh organization and archive emails and documents there. This email address can be passed down to the new officers each year. Setting up a organizational/club email with Gmail is a great option because it allows document sharing, editing among several users, and cloud storage.
- DO store your electronic records in multiple places. Follow the 3-2-1 rule
No matter where the records are stored, they should be kept together and arranged in a way that works best for your organization/club. It is important to label all files with the full name and date of the topic documented within. For photographs and scrapbooks, this includes identifying as many people depicted as possible.
It is also beneficial to create an inventory of the record that your organization/club maintains and has in your archive so that you can quickly identify and locate records of interest. Also, should your organization/club ever wish to donate the record to the College Archives, an inventory will provide a good outline of this collection.