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.
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, 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.
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
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
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.
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.Ù 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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.