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USF Stories

Best practices for organizing and saving your USF stories. Guidance from University Archives on how you can shape campus history.

Shaping Campus History

Your records tell a story. The various records you or your organization create document the events and activities that make up your personal or organizational history. Consider what records document the answers to the questions below. These are the records that tell your USF story!

  • What makes your org unique on campus?
  • What impact has your org had on USF and your fellow students?
  • What changes has your org been through over the years?
  • What has your org accomplished this year?

Selecting what records to keep and ultimately donate to the University Archives is your decision, and it's an important one because what you select will ultimately tell the story of your organization as it exists today and shape campus history for the future. So when appraising your records, consider what is necessary to tell your USF story but also know that you can't (and should not) save everything.

Best Practices For Organizing and Saving Your USF Stories

  • Document the activities of your group: keep minutes of meetings, save planning documents for projects and initiatives, take photographs of events, and regularly update your web and social media sites.
  • Development a straightforward filing system, having a strategy for organizing paper and digital records can be as simple as putting things in file folders. 
  • Label your documents and folders with full names, dates, and descriptions of events or circumstances – one day future members will read what you leave behind, avoid filenames such as, "IMAGE0001.JPG".
  • If you have physical documents, make sure to store them away from dampness, dust, direct sunlight, and excessive heat.
  • Keep your records in a centralized location that key people can access. Back-up important files, and maintain account logins.
  • Maintain a transition report between elections to help future officers. Make a point to transfer ownership of organization documents to the next elected person before you leave USF.
  • Develop a routine of transferring inactive records to the University Archives at the end of the semester, year, or term of office.

Be especially aware of

  • Duplicative information (keep only the original copy and annotated copies).
  • Anything that may jeopardize the privacy of your fellow students or members.
  • Notifying people who may be subjects of photographed or filmed events before archiving them.
  • WHEN IN DOUBT, DON'T THROW IT OUT! Please contact University Archives for additional guidance.

What Happens When You Donate Records

Once you donate records, the archives will maintain physical ownership of the records, but you may choose to retain copyrights or restrict access to parts of the collection for an agreed upon time period to protect personal information or privacy. 

When records arrive we house them in acid-free folders and boxes or secure digital storage (depending on format), store them safely in an environment designed to preserve them for a long time, organize them, describe them in an online inventory called a finding aid, and provide access for users once they have been processed. Contact University Archives staff to make arrangements to access the records. 

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