MIT Libraries

Archives Home


MIT libraries MIT Libraries

Institute Archives & Special Collections

What Is the Institute Archives and Special Collections?

The Institute Archives and Special Collections serves as the "memory" of MIT, collecting and preserving records that document MIT's history and the people who have been a part of that history. The collections chronicle the founding and growth of MIT and provide insight into the development and current issues of the Institute as well as MIT's involvement in the world beyond the Cambridge campus. The nature of education and research at the Institute is such that the Archives' collections document numerous aspects of the evolution of modern science and technology and its impact on society. In particular, the collections document the role of scientists and engineers in the formation of science policy.

The Archives works to build collections of primary sources such as the official records of the Institute and selected personal and professional papers of MIT faculty, staff, and students. The department also collects MIT publications and the record copy of MIT theses, and maintains MIT's rare book collections. Occasionally the Archives accepts collections of records of non-MIT persons and organizations whose activities complement the Archives' holdings. In addition, staff members at both the Institute Archives and the MIT Museum have worked with MIT faculty to create a list of available oral histories. Researchers may want to contact the MIT Museum for information on other materials about MIT.

The goal of the Institute Archives is to support the administration, research, and teaching of the MIT community as well as encourage the use of its collections by researchers outside the Institute. The Institute Archives also administers MIT's Records Management Program, advising administrative and academic offices on records-keeping practices for non-permanent records.

Researchers from as close as Cambridge and as far away as Sweden or Japan use our collections regularly. We ask all researchers to notify us when they produce works using our collections. The list of such works that we have compiled includes books, articles, reports, dissertations, television programs, and exhibits created by an international roster of scholars, including members of the MIT community.

Recommended Reading:  "The Archivist's Perspective: Knowledge and Values" from Understanding Archives & Manuscripts, James M. O'Toole & Richard J. Cox, 2006. 



MIT MIT mithistory@mit.eduMIT Libraries