Once you have identified the records your organization wants to keep, the next step is determining how to maintain them. To best preserve your records, be sure to keep them in a dry, cool place. Moisture, excessive heat, and light can damage paper and audiovisual records. Also, when possible, avoid using rubber bands, staples, paperclips, tape, etc., which can damage paper when not stored in an ideal environment. When possible, store the records on steel shelving or cabinets rather than wood, which emits a gas that, over time, can be harmful to your documents.
Luckily, several student groups have an office or storage space where they can keep their records; however, if your organization lacks such a space, then you should consider donating the records to the University Archives as an alternative to passing down the records from member to member each year.
No matter where the records are stored, they should be kept together and arranged in a way that works best for your group. 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 of the people depicted as possible.
It is also beneficial to create an inventory of the records your organization maintains so that you can quickly identify and locate records of interest. Also, should your group ever wish to donate its records to the University Archives, an inventory will provide a good outline of the collection.
Electronic records, like email, photographs, etc., have become a large component of organizations’ files. Much like their paper counterparts, though, there are steps you can take to preserve these records and make them accessible to future members.