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Institute Archives & Special Collections

Conducting Research in the Institute Archives

Planning your visit

  • Always contact the Institute Archives staff in advance of your visit.
  • For the quickest service, we recommend that you contact us using the web form Ask the Archives!
  • Check our hours, location, and contact information.
  • Before you begin your research, we will need to investigate the status of the collection and discuss the following questions with you:
    • Is special permission for access required?
    • How organized is the collection?
      • Are the contents in order?
      • Are the contents accurately described in existing finding aids? (When a collection is unprocessed it may not be available.)
      • Are there restrictions on its use?
    • Have recent Institute policies changed previous access status?

What you should know when requesting material

  • Most of our collections are stored off site and require 24-48 hours to retrieve.
  • Many of our collections are unprocessed, and some are restricted because of donor agreements or MIT access policies.
  • In some cases you may need to write (mail or FAX) to request permission for access to restricted Institute records; while the Archives works hard to secure permission as quickly as possible, it may take several weeks before a decision is made.



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