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Distinctive Collections comprises a number of collecting units within the MIT Libraries. Unified by uniqueness or rarity, these materials range across disciplines and time periods and take a number of different forms.

Collection strengths include materials which document MIT’s history and the people who have been a part of that history. Official records of the Institute, selected personal and professional papers of MIT faculty, staff, and students, and oral histories comprise the core of this collecting area. The department also collects MIT publications and the record copies of MIT theses. Please consult our research guide for help with research on MIT students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

We collect broadly on modern science and technology and their impacts on society, with particular attention to materials which document the role of scientists and engineers in the formation of science policy.

Our evolving work in building and stewarding other collections of interest for the MIT community includes a particular emphasis on innovative artistic, architectural, computational, and scientific work, especially that which explores social justice and diverse experience.