Session 12: Archives and Cultural Contexts

Moderator: Mpho Ngoepe (University of South Africa)
Recordkeeping in the CNMI: A Case for Consideration of Cultural and Political Contexts, along with Economic Urgency / Cecilia Salvatore (Dominican University)

In order for archivists and records managers to be responsive to the needs of Pacific Island communities, Evelyn Wareham pointed out that they must pay particular attention to the cultural and political contexts of Pacific Island societies. As a result of years of colonialism, these societies display a certain degree of distrust of materials recorded, organized, and preserved by those who are not indigenous to the islands. Furthermore, with a strong, oral tradition, they implement different ways of recording and documenting their culture and activities. Wareham suggested that archivists and records managers must be sensitive to these. In the modern economy, however, I posit that it is critical that these societies begin to adopt effective methods of recordkeeping and records management.

This paper describes preliminary research that was conducted to further understand recordkeeping practices and perspectives in the CNMI and to begin to initiate dialogue about the critical nature of effective recordkeeping in the modern economy. As a commonwealth of the United States (similar to Puerto Rico), the CNMI should adhere to general guidelines about recordkeeping and access to information that were developed in the United States. For instance, it should adhere to the Freedom of Information Act. In a formal assessment of the state of cultural heritage resources and recording of cultural memory in the CNMI, conducted by the author in 2010-2011, it was evident that it was much removed from that of the rest of the United States. This paper describes results from a survey of specific government entities in the CNMI, such as the Commonwealth Health Center, the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) Museum of History and Culture, the Department of Public Lands, and the NMI Archives. The survey included questions that were grouped into two categories. The first category of questions sought to identify perspectives on recordkeeping and the culture of recordkeeping in the government entities. The second category of questions expanded on the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (GARP) of the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) and asked survey participants for their perspectives on these principles. The second part of the research will help to develop methods of recordkeeping that will be sensitive to the cultural and political contexts of the CNMI.

Curriculum Development for Archives and Records Management in Thailand: the Challenge of an Emerging Profession / Waraporn Poolsatitiwat (University of Liverpool)

Thai higher education has faced many difficulties since the Asian economic crisis hit Thailand in 1997-1998. A particular problem has been the apparent inability of universities to prepare graduates for employment. Although the Thai National Education Act 1999 was implemented as a significant mechanism to help solve this problem, it can be argued that in most degree program including archives and records management program, the curriculum currently taught in universities in Thailand still needs to be developed to “meet the characteristics of the new global professional and the new knowledge economy” (Pimpa 2011, p.275). It is therefore necessary to propose a model for curriculum development suitable for preparing new professionals in an evolving area of professional practice like archives and records management. However, to be successful in this aim, the following factors have to be considered.

Firstly, the model has to comply with the higher education regulations implemented by either Ministry of Education or the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC) and specifically the Thailand Qualification Framework (TQF). Much research e.g. Blackmur (2004), Koller (2010), Allais (2007), Fernie and Pilcher (2009), Allais (2011), and Raffe (2013) suggested that the idea of national qualification framework did not work well with curriculum design in higher education and its failure have been apparent in most developing countries where it has been adapted.

Secondly, a curriculum has to adopt an effective idea regarding professional training. One of the most prominent models that may fit with training new emerging profession like archivists is that proposed by Reid, Dahlgren, Petocz, and Dahlgren (2011). This model focuses on professional knowledge, learning for work, professional identity, and professional pedagogies.

Thirdly, it has to consider the factor which contributes to success of an archival curriculum. Curriculum and training courses in the archival field need to be achieved a balance between theory and practice. Most archival educators e.g. Uhde (2006), Tibbo (2006), Nesmith (2007), and Turner (2008) conclude that the greatest difficulty in designing archival curricula is getting the right balance between what archivists should know (theory) and providing practical experience to work as a professional archivist.

After collecting data from literature and semi-structured interviews, three main factors have been found that may influence the development of archival curriculum in Thailand. First, the character and work competences of Thai archivists may be shaped by the five domains of learning outcomes, which are required by the TQF, as long as there is an effective tool to assess those learning outcomes. Second, the perception of Thai people regarding the identity of Thai archivist plays important role to the knowledge and skills they should have for being archivists and pedagogies should support them. Finally, disagreements between Thai academics and practicing Thai archivists regarding the balance of practical experience and theory required is the main obstacles to creating an effective professional model for training Thai archivists.

Development of Innovative Talents Cultivation Mode on Archival Education in China / Bing Zhang, Ning Zhang, and Qing Ma (Renmin University of China)

The Paper briefly reviews the history of archival education in China. According to the changes of the demand for professionals in the information society, with a case study of archival education in School of information resource management of Renmin University of China, the paper proposes to develop an innovative talents cultivation mode on archival education, which is an integration of teaching ideas, teaching processes and methods, teaching management system and mechanism, which reflects the growth pattern of innovative talents on professional archival education.