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American Archivist (Vol. 63, No.2 / Fall 2000)

Abstracts and Author Bios


The SAA as Sisyphus: Education Since the 1960s

Fredric M. Miller


Approximately thirty years ago, the SAA embarked on an effort to standardize and possibly accredit archival education at the graduate level. American archivists and manuscripts curators have traditionally had extensive graduate training in history. In terms of what archival education should be, however, there was simply no consensus on basic matters. Moreover, such consensus was essential to any national education program. Miller's address examined the various options through 1983 and concluded that in the end, the Society lacked both the will and the resources to accredit graduate programs. Using Camus' Myth of Sisyphus as a metaphor of the Society of American Archivists' efforts to standardize the educational process, Miller's article suggests that the Society examine such alternative means of formalizing the graduate-level education. While not suggesting any particular changes, Miller urged the Society to consider the existence of other possibilities.

Author Bio

Fredric M. Miller (1947-1998), archivist, historian, and author, was the curator at Temple University from 1973 to 1989. From 1989 to 1998 he served as a program officer for the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was the author of Arranging and Describing Archives and Manuscripts, published by the Society of American Archivists in 1990, as well as many articles on archival practice. He earned a Ph.D. in History and an M.L.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


The Society of American Archivists and Graduate Archival Education: A Sneak Preview of Future Directions

Luciana Duranti


Luciana Duranti, as 54th SAA President, gives the welcoming wishes of the society to the participants in the Archival Educators Conference. After a brief excursus of the role taken by the SAA in graduate archival education since its inception as a professional association, Duranti shows how a fundamental change in attitude has taken place in the past few years by providing a preview of the section of the new strategic plan that regards graduate archival education.

Author Bio

Luciana Duranti is a Professor in the Master of Archival Studies Program (MAS) at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies of the University of British Columbia, Canada, where she has taught since 1987 and has occupied the position of Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Arts. She has been the 54th President of the Society of American Archivists for the year 1998-99. Her research has aimed at testing the validity of traditional archival and diplomatic concepts, principles, and methods for acquiring and maintaining control of electronic records. She is Project-Director of InterPARES, a multinational, interdisciplinary research project on the long-term preservation of authentic electronic records involving 15 countries.


Archival Research: the University of British Columbia Experience

Terry Eastwood


This paper will explore the role of research in a professional, graduate archival education program by assessing the experience of Master of Archival Studies (MAS) program in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The School began in 1961. It also offers the Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree. The MAS program, which was established in 1981, aims to provide students with a comprehensive professional formation such that they can perform competently in professional positions in the archives and records field. At the time, it was the first master's degree of its kind in any university in Canada or the United States. To obtain the degree today, a student must complete forty-eight credits of graduate work. In the current academic year, the program offers eighteen three-credit courses in archival studies. The titles of those courses are listed in Appendix 1. Students may also take individualized courses, including Directed Research Project, Directed Study, Internship, Professional Experience, and Thesis. A student taking four three-credit courses of thirteen weeks duration in each of four terms, for a total of sixteen courses, can complete the program in two academic years.


Archival Research: A "New" Issue for Graduate Education

Anne Gilliland-Swetland


To date, debate over graduate archival education has centered on the need for, and the nature of, the professional knowledge base to be imparted through masters' education. A new emphasis on the acquisition of research skills and the conduct of research within graduate archival education at masters' and doctoral levels significantly extends this debate. Drawing on the experiences of the Archives and Preservation Management specialization at UCLA, this paper discusses issues associated with integrating research requirements and opportunities at master's and doctoral levels in graduate archival education. The paper concludes with a discussion of the need for increased pluralism in archival education.

Author Bio

Anne Gilliland-Swetland is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Studies of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA where she teaches in the graduate specialization in Archives and Preservation Management. She has published widely in the areas of electronic records administration, development and evaluation of digital archival information systems, and archival education. She is currently co-director of the US-InterPARES Project.


Research and Reality Checks: Change and Continuity in NYU's Archival Management Program

Peter J. Wosh


Research occupies a central place in any graduate program and needs to be integrated across the archival curriculum, from the earliest courses through completion of the degree. This article traces the origins and development of New York University's Program in Archival Management and Historical Editing in order to explore its changing conceptualizations of research, and to examine the ways in which all archival educators can strengthen this programmatic component. As one of the oldest and most successful graduate training programs in North America, NYU's history-based curriculum provides an important case study and offers some significant lessons for archival educators.

Author Bio

Peter J. Wosh is Director of the Program in Archival Management and Historical Editing in the History Department at New York University, where he also teaches courses concerning American religious history and American social institutions. He previously served as Director of Archives and Library Services at the American Bible Society in New York and as archivist for Seton Hall University and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. He currently has several ongoing research projects, including an examination of religious resorts and recreation in America.


REPORT: Survey of Archives and Records Management Graduate Students At Ten Universities in the United States and Canada

David A. Wallace


This paper reports the results of a survey culled from 152 anonymous graduate students in ten different archives and records management (ARM) programs across the United States and Canada. The survey was developed and distributed in anticipation of a working meeting of graduate archival educators to be held in August 1999 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The survey's purpose is to develop some understanding of the collective body ARM graduate students across the United States and Canada by examining: their degree backgrounds; prior ARM work experiences; how they discovered the ARM profession; how they found out about their specific ARM program and why they chose to enroll in it; their employment goals in terms of job title, sector, and salary expectations; their willingness to relocate; and, their potential interest in pursuing ARM Ph.D. studies.


The Future of the Past: A Survey of Graduates of Master's-Level Graduate Archival Education Programs in the United States

Elizabeth Yakel


The face of graduate archival education in the United States has changed greatly over the past decade. This article reports the results of a survey of graduates of archival education programs in the United States. The goal was to profile the next generation of archivists by focusing on a variety of demographic, economic, and professional issues. Findings indicate that the new generation of archivists is younger, predominantly female, and slightly better compensated than previous generations. Furthermore, interesting contrasts and comparisons can be made between graduates of history- and library and / or information science-based programs as well as between men and women in terms of employment sectors, salaries, and the length of the graduate programs. Understanding career trajectories is important in building a stronger archival profession in the United States as well as in fostering professionalization among the younger generation. If the record of the past is to have a future, our students are literally the future of our past.

Author Bio

Elizabeth Yakel is currently an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. Previously, she taught at the University of Pittsburgh and has over 15 years experience in archives and records management. Her positions have included Director of Archives for the Maryknoll Missioners and Archivist/Records Manager for the Archdiocese of Detroit. Her primary research areas are social informatics and evaluation of user needs. She is the author of Starting an Archives, a contributor to Vatican Archives: An Inventory and Guide to the Historical Documentation of the Holy See. She was made a fellow of the Society of American Archivists in 1999.


Archivistics Research Saving the Profession

Eric Ketelaar


The archivist has to understand the way people create and maintain records and archives. In all stages of records and archives management and archival usage, the socially and culturally determined software of the mind plays a role. That challenges archivistics to be comparative and multidisciplinary. Fundamental and applied research in archival science is the instrument for experimenting, inventing, changing, and improving the profession and the education of new professionals. In an appendix the author summarizes and comments on the current archivistics research interests of the participants in the 1999 Pittsburgh Working Meeting of Graduate Archival Educators.

Author Bio

Eric Ketelaar (1944) is Professor of Archivistics in the History Department of Leiden University (since 1992) and in the Department of Book-, Archives and Information Studies of the University of Amsterdam (since 1997). In 2000-2001, he will be the The Netherlands Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan.


Archival Training in a Changing World

Angelika Menne-Haritz


Archives are the memories of a nation or a people. Archival theory accepts the distinction between past and present and even creates it through archival functions. Archival work consists of the management of access and closure, of preservation of materials in unchanged shape as the basis for constantly changing memories. The archival training at the Marburg Archives School approaches education as a holistic enterprise. It consists of pre-occupational training, post-graduate continuing education, and research in archival sciences. Training in archival science is complemented by instruction in preservation management and in the legal implications of archival and administrative law. The Marburg Archives School also maintains an active publications program. Based on a well-grounded professional practice, continuing education training adapts itself to practical needs as it enlarges the professional knowledge.


Collaborative Research Models: A Review of Australian Initiatives

Sue McKemmish


In recent years the Australian recordkeeping community has been involved in a range of research and development projects. Much of the research undertaken has been collaborative, with academic and industry partners, researchers and practitioners, pooling their expertise and experience to address a research agenda which largely grew out of the professional challenges associated with managing electronic records in networked environments. The nurturing of collaborative research and development initiatives has been a key strategy of the recordkeeping community in its efforts to develop policies, standards, systems and tools for electronic recordkeeping. Increasingly, as is also evident in the international arena, this collaborative research is becoming multidisciplinary in nature. This can involve working with researchers from other disciplines on recordkeeping research projects, or the inclusion of recordkeeping research in broader research agendas. Australian examples of the latter include engagement with the metadata research and development community in researching metadata schemas, registries and tools in global networks, and with enterprise knowledge management and distributed systems technology researchers in developing the infrastructure needed to support the distributed enterprises of the future. This article reviews recent and emerging Australian initiatives in these areas.

Author Bio

Sue McKemmish is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Management and Systems at Monash University. With her Monash colleagues she has developed innovative, integrated, multi-disciplinary approaches to records management, archival and information management education at postgraduate and undergraduate levels within the framework provided by records continuum and information continuum theory. In 1998-9 she led the SPIRT research project that developed a framework for standardizing recordkeeping metadata, has been Research Director of the Records Continuum Group since 1997, and is currently Director of the new Monash Enterprise Information Research Group. Sue McKemmish was editor of Archives and Manuscripts in 1997-8 and is a Laureate of the Australian Society of Archivists. Before joining Monash in 1990, she worked for 15 years as an archivist with the National Archives of Australia and the Public Record Office of Victoria.


The Society of American Archivists and Graduate Education: Meeting at the Crossroads

Richard J. Cox


The author argues that something unanticipated has occurred, graduate archival education has expanded and matured and graduate educators have assumed leadership in the continued development of this aspect of the profession. These developments create new tensions about where graduate education is heading and the role of professional associations such as the Society of American Archivists. The author considers options for how educators ought to work on nurturing graduate archival education, believing that no matter what options are selected the future of graduate archival education rests primarily with what graduate educators deem it to be.

Author Bio

Richard J. Cox is an Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences. He holds a PhD in Library Science and an MA in History. Dr. Cox is the author of numerous articles, technical reports, and books, with two books on archival history and policy scheduled for publication in late 2000 by Greenwood Press. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in 1989.


The Imperative of Challenging Absolutes in Graduate Archival Education Programs: A Challenge for Educators and the Profession

Terry Cook


This article reflects on various themes discussed by authors of papers and the audience at the Archival Educators' Day and a related program session at the 1999 SAA in Pittsburgh. It posits a gulf between archivists in academia and the workplace that needs to be addressed, crossing various misunderstanding of discipline versus profession, theory versus practice, education versus training, "new" record-keeping, electronic-records models versus "traditional" cultural, heritage, and historical orientations for the profession. It asserts that both academics and practitioners may be overlooking the importance of educating students in conducting the in-depth contextual research required to be first-class working archivists.

Author Bio

Terry Cook is Visiting Professor in the Master's Programme in Archival Studies at the University of Manitoba, and an archival consultant. He has also taught at Michigan, Monash, and Maryland. Before that, he worked at the National Archives of Canada, specializing in appraisal. Past editor of Archivaria and of two Canadian historical series, he has published extensively on archival issues, on all six continents. He is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.

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