This module provides a basic introduction to the management and preservation of archives. Archives play an important, indeed a vital, role in society. They contribute to history but, as we shall see, they are essential for other reasons as well. Imagine what would happen if all the archives in the world were destroyed. How would individuals, organisations and societies function? Much of what we remember, and what contributes to our sense of who we are and what is important, depends on documents and other primary sources kept by archives. Businesses and other organisations depend on archives to make current decisions. Archives provide evidence of what our governments have done and serve to protect our rights as citizens.

This module examines the reasons why archives are important, why they are created, kept and used. It also looks at the role of the archivist, examining the core functions that archivists undertake, the skills that are required and the policies and procedures that they create and follow.

By the end of the module you should:

  • understand the key skills and tasks required to undertake basic management and preservation of archives
  • have a knowledge of the reasons why archives are kept and the theoretical discussions on how they should be kept
  • be able to place this knowledge in a broader context
  • develop and build skills which can be transferred to the workplace

Module Structure

The module is split into six units, which are described below.

  • An introduction to theory and practice
  • Collecting, accessioning and appraisal
  • Arrangement and description
  • Preservation
  • Access
  • Collections management 

Tasks and Assignments

Throughout the module you will be asked to complete a series of tasks. Some of these you will do on your own and some of them you will send to me (these are assessed). I will say clearly in the module when you need to send a task to me. These are also listed in the Task Timetable on the course menu. Please look at this now to see when your first task is due. These assessed tasks will account for 40% of your final mark. At the end of the module you will be expected to do a final assignment, please look at the Assignments section on the course menu for more details. There are several discussion board tasks in the module. These will not be marked and you should not write a lot for these. We are looking for informal discussion and do not want you to spend a lot of time worrying about wording when you post to the discussion board. If you do not participate in the discussions you will be marked down

Useful Information

You should aim to spend at least 15 hours a week on the module, or 100 hours over the 7 weeks that the module lasts.

This module equals to 10 SCQF credits (5 ECTS credits) on Level 3, SHE 3 (SCQF 9).

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